This is Pocahontas.
She was responsible for giving a presentation at school yesterday complete with historically accurate costume, props and information.
She was awesome!
She was dedicated.
I'll bet there were no other second grade Indians up past ten o'clock on Thursday night practicing their presentations in full costume.
We worked on it all week but still did not have enough time to polish it until Thursday night.
We had to drive all over town collecting an Indian dress, a deer hide and a basket. We had to gather nuts, berries, corn, potatoes and squash because Pocahontas helped the colonists in Jamestown from starving by giving them food. We had to wrap baby Thomas in the deerskin to keep him warm. We had to create a treasure chest to hold the gifts the settlers gave to Pocahontas in return for her kindness...copper bowls, spoons, even a crown.
Then we had to learn what an outline is and why it's useful in public speaking. We had to practice standing still, tall and confident. We had to learn what projecting our voice was and how to use your voice to generate excitement in others. We had to talk about eye contact and how important it is. We had to discuss which friends we could make eye contact with and which ones would make us giggle and lower our grade!
It was fun.
It was hard.
It was stressful.
It was tiring.
It was successful.
I realized we go overboard in all things.
Even a second grade Indian project.
I mean really, they should have had a little longer to prepare this thing.
She's been exhausted lately. Coming home headachey, feverish and totally drained.
I honestly had no idea that this could be related to the "mosquito bites" on her face and in her hair that just wouldn't go away and itched like the dickens.
So when she got home from school yesterday I got in the sunlight and examined all the places on her face. They've all healed now. Sure enough, they bear absolutely no resemblance to the mosquito bite scars on her legs. They're pock marks.
We're just realizing that we've got the chicken pox.
She's been at school infecting one and all. I feel terrible.
Pocahontas with chicken pox.
I think Pocahontas died from a disease...maybe it was chicken pox.
That should certainly have earned her extra credit!
Like I said, overboard.
She's been going to the nurse's office every day at school to rest. This is the child that cannot miss school for any reason. She has to have perfect attendance and get the best award at all costs.
The homework this year is making our lives a little more strenuous and focused.
I seriously don't know how we'll handle next year.
I mean, homework these days involves everyone in the house.
This week it was working, searching, shopping for authentic ancient artifacts.
Every week it is studying for spelling tests, reading tests, vocabulary tests, math tests.
Alyssa has a minimum of three tests each week.
In first grade.
She has a Spanish spelling test, Spanish vocabulary test and an English spelling test. In addition she has extended vocabulary tests in both languages every six weeks.
She usually aces two and bombs one.
We usually study two lots and lots and we accidentally overlook one.
This week was no exception.
Evidence that three is too many.
Incidentally, last week for the first time she aced all three tests.
Maybe we've reached a benchmark in public school.
I've had to revisit my beliefs on grades, report cards and honor rolls.
I was a good student.
The model student.
The teacher's pet.
That was me.
About a month ago, Alyssa learned her Spanish words. She knew them. She was confident and ready for the test.
She brought it home.
She had misspelled every word due to learning the wrong consonant blend.
Either Andrew or I read it wrong or the teacher wrote it wrong.
We still don't know. It may have something to do with the fact that the words were in a language we don't speak at all. Who knows...
Alyssa was crying.
Scared we would be upset, disappointed with her.
I asked her, "What is the correct spelling of these words?"
She told me.
The words that poured forth from my mouth were, "A grade is only a number. You mastered the content. You learned the lesson. You are successful."
Now we talk to our children frequently about things such as...
Are you learning at school?
Is this paper better than the last one?
What will you do differently next time?
Did you do your best?
Have you been honest, diligent, hard working, respectful and obedient in doing your school work?
Were you responsible?
You get the idea.
As long as we're progressing, learning, getting better and our character is developing appropriately...
The pressure is off...
A grade is only a number.
When your kids start school, you feel like you start school.
On report card day, you get a little nervous, antsy to see your grade!
Spelling test failures are our failures.
Pocahontas successes are our successes.
I can't wait to see my grades today.
I will remember that a grade is only a number.
By the way, they did great.
Straight hundreds with extra credit on some.
My children are brilliant!