Monday, May 27, 2013

Smarty Pants

This lady. What a surprise I have in her.

A little background: At our school, the kids all take a grade-level end of the year math test. If they score higher than 80% on that test, they take the next grade up end of the year math test, if they get more than 80% on that, then they take the next one. And so on.

Last week both the kids came home saying they passed their math tests and got to take the next one up (Mr. T 2nd grade and Miss E 3rd). It's a total no-pressure situation, the kids are told to put smiley faces on the ones they don't know and the expectations are low. I mean, it's a math test for kids who have taken an entire year of math that they haven't yet. Math is also one of those things you can't fake. If you haven't been taught how to do fractions or what type of triangles are what then there's really not way you can just figure it out on your own. I kind of figured it was a nice pat on the back for each of them that they even got to take the higher test and left it at that.

Miss E came home a few days later and told me she took the 4th grade math test that day. She's in 2nd. OK, I thought, that's strange but whatever. We aren't really interested in skipping her ahead. But then I got the e-mail that she had got over 80% on her 3rd grade test and they were placing her in 4th grade math next year and did I have any questions?

Ummm....yes? Oh boy. I'm in a bit of a pickle about this. I don't want her to skip ahead for a few reasons - a lot of reasons actually. Reasons like, I'm not sure she really knows the materials and isn't just a good test taker. I think 3rd grade is a huge increase in homework and I don't want to add extra pressure. I don't know where she goes in 5th grade for math (the last year of elementary) - does she bus to the middle school because I'm not really sure I want that either.  For all these reasons and more I didn't tell Miss E about her placement and tried to schedule a meeting with the teacher.

But then. Oh but then. She came home today all pink cheeked and proud and said that all the kids in 1/2 knew that she got to take the 4th grade test and were asking her about it and her math teacher told the class that she passed and if it was OK with her parents she got to skip 3rd grade math and go into 4th grade. And my kid who can be anxious and shy was so dang proud of herself and the attention and of being a little mini-celebrity for a day that I just didn't have it in my heart to tell her the reservations I was having.

I will meet with the teacher and we will probably go along with the school. This summer I will set aside time to make sure she really knows what she needs to know and we will go from here. I've been saying it every single year of her life: this is the kid that I am always trying to keep up with. She is the very best kind of first kid to have - someone who stretches me and challenges me and really makes me think and pay attention. Every step of her life I picture her up ahead, looking back at me and calling"try to keep up mommy, try to keep up".

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