Report Card Time


Brit - Guenette photo

I’ve been thinking a lot about report cards and the whole assessment dimension of sending our kids and grandkids off to school. I came across these great quotes.

Friendship … it’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you haven’t learning anything. (Muhammad Ali)

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one learned in school. (Albert Einstein)

What makes a child gifted and talented may not always be good grades in school, but a different way of looking at the world and learning. (Chuck Grassley)

00773HSAS458 Britney Keeley005

Our beautiful granddaughter, Britney – just look at that Mona Lisa smile! – got her first kindergarten report card yesterday. Five-years-old and already in the assessment mill of school. Heavy sigh! All her kindergarten academics are strong but on the scale of C = consistent, O = occasionally and S = seldom, she is C for talking out in circle time and rushing through her fine motor skill work so she can get busy with the next activity.

As someone who has never taken educational assessment all that seriously, I was tempted to laugh. I remember my son’s surprised face when one year he came home from school and told me, in dramatic teen fashion, how his dad was going to kill him because of a failing grade in math. I shrugged and said, “Hardly. Your dad and I know how smart you are. It’s just a grade.”

To know Britney, is to know she is a force to contend with. Even as a baby, she was a hard child to move and I mean that literally as well as figuratively. She has a low centre of gravity. She would make a great protester. When the police drag her to the paddy wagon, she won’t make it easy. It’s who she is. She has all those second child characteristics – one of which is the constant feeling that she is missing out on something and must hurry along. No wonder she rushes through fine motor skill activities!

Brit doing math - Guenette photo

But I didn’t laugh. A child’s first kindergarten report card is a big deal – to the parents and the child. I listened to my daughter’s concern and the disappointment in her voice tugged at my heart. We all want our kids to be top of the class with all their C’s, O’s and S’s in the right spots.

The best thing a parent can do is put things in perspective and this continues between grown children and their parents. I listened, then said, “Reminds me of someone else’s report cards.” My daughter paused and then laughed. Yes, I meant her. We looked at her kindergarten report card a few years ago and one comment stood out. “Less chatter and more paying attention would certainly help her progress.”

Brit and Kristen

This parenting thing – never easy, for sure.

10 comments on “Report Card Time

  1. Oh my gosh, look at that face! That smile! A ++++. Grades in kindergarten are ridiculous. Period. And in the lower grades, how about grades for Compassion, Empathy, and Kindness? That would work for me!

  2. I’d say the chattering is serving Kristen well in life… and she’s still got the smarts. Think of all the time she wins at cards…. especially Hearts. As for Britney, the jury is out… though the powers that be better watch out (and mom and dad!). She is already a great protestor. And she has some great one-liners too.

  3. Behind the Story says:

    In some ways I’m with Einstein, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one learned in school.” On the other hand, as writers where would we be without the grammar, spelling, and taste in literature we picked up in school.

    Some of our daughters’ friends were given money for “A”s. My husband and I were pretty low key. All the girls got from us was a “good job, honey.”

    • It didn’t make us too popular with our kids, but we were in the school’s your job – great work camp. We never paid for good grades and on the flip side – we never made a big deal of a bad grade. It all works itself out. When I taught and had to grade upper-level undergrad papers, I sure had to agree with your point about the importance of getting a firm grounding in grammar, spelling and the mechanics of putting one’s thoughts on paper. My fingers are crossed that both my granddaughters clear that hurdle 🙂

  4. smilecalm says:

    this post passes
    with an I & F
    for insightful
    & fun 🙂

  5. diannegray says:

    Grading in kindergarten is quite absurd and can be discouraging for some children. Britney is absolutely adorable! What a gem. You must be so proud xxx

    • Most certainly proud of Britney – she has a heart of gold and she tells a story like a pro. She’ll start with, “Okay…” then she pauses and makes a few dramatic hand gestures. “It went like this, Gama … ” And she’ll come out with all the details. I love this about her.

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