School report cards

My kids brought home their report cards last week. This is a confusing situation for a parent. How we feel about our children’s grades, tends to be wrapped up in our own school experiences and improved expectations for our offspring.

Education reporting seems to be evolving all the time. All classes used to receive letter grades, now that distinction is reserved for the intermediate levels. Apparently a note about “meeting” or “exceeding” expectations is all that is required for young children.

But what does any of it, really tell us about how a child is faring in the school system?

My son is enjoying a most amazing Grade 6 experience this year. The combination of his learning style and the class dynamics are shaping up to elevate, not only his grades, but his whole outlook on school.

However, most children at our local public elementary are getting pretty much the same education as students from generations ago. In a time when technology can play such a vital role in how students learn and how educators teach, it is kind of sad that the system remains pretty much the same.

The bright spot is availability. The days are over, (if they ever existed), when you send a child out the door for grade one and don’t expect to be involved in their education until they are launched from grade twelve graduation. Today, the question is more likely to be, how involved should parents be in helping their children meet their educational goals? Schools are badly under funded, extra curricular activity choices, (at the school) are few and far between. Parents can fill in the gaps of core learning and extra activities, almost to a point of over scheduling.

We have always taken the approach that less is more. From a selfish perspective, who has the time? But also, who are we to interfere with professional educators? Turns out, parents know their children best – full stop.

So years ago, we waded into the murky waters of the public education system. It is not easy to be stymied when seeking solutions to help your child. It is shocking to learn that, while educators expect children to constantly be learning new things, they are quite reluctant to do the same. On the upside, it turns out to have been a learning opportunity for all of us. Finally we feel that all the work we have done together as a family and with the help of everyone at the school, progress is being made.

My kids came home from school and opened their report cards. They reviewed their progress since first term and gave us a summary of their status. They set goals for the final grades they plan to achieve. That is all I can ask for, really. Ultimately, these are the kinds of skills that will make them successful in the world, regardless of the grade achieved in elementary school.

One thought on “School report cards

  1. My daughter is in preschool, so all we get are updates on developmental skills. And I realize that I fully expect her to excel at school. I’m just wondering how I’ll react if she doesn’t.

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