His first of three report cards came home last week, and it was...yes...terrible. On a scale of 1 to 4 (1 = below grade level; 2 = approaching grade level; 3 = at grad level; 4 = above grade level), he got nothing but 1s and 2s. The teacher dutifully checked off the "at risk of retention" box where indicated. (Uh, thanks a lot, school. I wasn't actually planning to have that conversation with him quite yet. Was it really necessary to put it on a document you know the kids themselves look at, considering I've signed 763 pieces of paper indicating I've been informed about his 'risk'?) And the teacher's comments--while perfect in terms of what we need to prove need in an IEP--were not exactly what I would call encouraging.
It really has been a terrible year.
And so, on Tuesday, when we were walking toward school and N said to me, "What would happen if I got a 4 on my science test today, Mommy?" I laughed, not thinking, and said, "Oh, sweetie. I would throw you a party, is what I would do. With cake. A family party, with mint-chocolate-chip ice-cream cake."
I quickly realized that I was setting him up for a disappointment. For one thing, not only has he not gotten a single science grade above a 1 so far, but this was a test on a chapter about light in which (and before I go any further, let me say this: their current science curriculum is the worst science curriculum ever, regularly using terminology--often undefined--so far over even MY head that it's laughable) there was discussion of transverse versus compact waves. This what THIRD GRADERS are being asked to learn and digest.
So I changed tactics and told him that I'd be thrilled with whatever grade he brought home, so long as he tried his best. Because really, what do numbers mean, anyway? Some people just don't do well on tests, even if they know the material, you know what I mean? And he had studied so hard for this with Daddy; even if he didn't get a great grade, we knew he knew the material. So no need to worry about it, kiddo.
"Yeah, but if I get a 4, you'll throw me a party, right?"
Sigh. I'm an idiot.
And so, of course, he called me at work this afternoon, the results of the quiz in hand.
"Mama! Guess what?"
Not just a 4, mind you. One hundred freakin' percent.
This is going to be the sweetest ice-cream cake EVER.