The Boy Child started 5th grade yesterday. It was a day we’d been both dreading a bit. He is not as interested in academics as he is in the alternate universe of the Xbox. Last year it was a struggle during homework time, to get him to read, and to practice math facts. He always wanted to rush through things to get back to his virtual world. Consequently, he didn’t do especially well on tests at school, which was a cause for concern.
Even more concerning for me, however, was the fact that he said he was dumb or wouldn’t pass 4th grade. It broke my heart. Especially since I had no idea where that came from – certainly not me. No matter how many times I would praise him for good work or encourage him, it just didn’t click in his head. He put too much pressure on himself to allow himself to see that when he tried, he did better. I would remind him that no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes – we didn’t expect perfection – but nothing helped.
The night before school started, we were talking about this because I could tell he was nervous. I reminded him that he had done really well with his math facts this summer and that 5th grade was a fresh start. And I told him that last year his PE teacher had emailed me out of the blue, just to say how impressed she was that he took time to help the special needs kids in his class without being asked. I told him that you can learn to multiply and be a better speller, but you can’t learn to be a nice person. And I would much rather he be the kind of person a teacher takes the time to email me about, who is kind to people and pays attention to them. I think somehow that made a difference. He seemed to perk up, like a little of the pressure eased.
When he came home yesterday, he said “school was awesome!” I was a little worried when we dropped him off – the classes are multi-grade now, and not many of his friends were in his class. He thinks that’s a good thing – “less distractions”. He seems ready for anything and full of possibility.
Maybe this is his year to blossom academically. Whatever happens, I am already proud.