Friday is the right time for…
Making good on a promise to my daughter.
At the end of the last marking period, my daughter came home with some troubling marks. She’s in second grade, so “marks” is subjective. They are metrics regarding her citizenship, engagement, conformance to the rules, etc. But they were not great. She isn’t a bad child, far from it actually. And although she is my daughter and I am biased in her favor, I did not and do not believe that her apparent lack of adherence to the social contract of the classroom was from her being a bad child or even a bad student. To me? They spoke of someone who was really bored while at school. And, IMHO, they looked to me like someone who wasn’t properly motivated.
When I was in school, I remember being bored to tears. I used to read encyclopedias for fun while at home. Much of the stuff they put in front of me in elementary was just that, elementary. (Also, encyclopedia, pre-internet, these were tomes of knowledge that were set up like wikipedia but you had to buy them and they were heavy :D).
I see my daughter dealing with the same thing. She’s really smart. And she’s really bored of waiting for the school to teach her more things. And as a result, she’s acting out, not listening, doing her own thing and otherwise being a pain in the ass for her poor teacher. That won’t do.
I took her aside at the end of the last marking period with her report card in hand. I went through it line by line and talked to her about what each mark meant, and how many of them were below the standard that her mom and I had set for her. I told her they needed to improve. I gave her a reason to improve her.
I made her a deal, a contract, for her improvement. If she would make it through the next marking period with improvement of any kind in any part, we would go out together on a “Daddy-daughter” date to a place of my choosing. If she was able to improve every section of her report card by Today, January 20, 2012, we would go to a place of her choosing. By God if she hasn’t had a single problem in school since. The report cards are due out next week. I’m very eager to see what the real numbers are. But in truth I know they’ve all improved.
In the mean time, I’ve started engaging her in subjects that far outstrip what she’s learning in second grade. I do this for a lot of reasons, and none so important as a child’s potential should not be limited by their perceived age but how they act and what they really can handle. At night, I’ve been staying up and crafting her ciphers and math puzzles. I’ve been slowly introducing her to algebra through logic problems. I even broke out some geometry just to pique her interest. Her math scores at school have improved dramatically from the graded quizzes I’ve seen come home.
I’m looking forward to our little “Daddy-daughter” outing. She mentioned something about wanting to go to the local natatorium for some swimming.
Anywhere you want to go kiddo.