Your Child is Under-Performing
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When my daughter started Kindergarten, it was a day of celebration in our family. I remember Kindergarten in pretty good detail. I spent my days learning the alphabet, numbers and playing. We had storytime and art. It wasn’t a grade you could ‘fail’.
But midway through my child’s kindergarten experience, COVID came storming into the picture leaving schools empty in its wake. I taught my daughter as best as I could from home. By September, she excitedly proceeded to first grade. I quickly learned that apparently, I had not been a good teacher.
Currently, I await a parent-teacher conference to discuss my child and how she is ‘underperforming’. It is hard for me to not feel angered by this; what do they expect? Children have been out of school for months and even now aren’t going full time. I am finding it hard to agree with the curriculum and the expectations put on a child that only just turned 6.
As I look through her schoolwork with pride, her teacher looks at it differently. I have an artistic and creative child that has incredible math skills. Her reading, on the other hand, is sub-par according to state standards.
This has been a difficult year for everyone, especially our children. They have missed months of instruction time replaced with worksheets that were sent home never to be graded. Kindergarten and first grade lay the foundation for the academic years to come. I get that. But with that in mind, we need to take into account what this pandemic has taken from us.
Not only has my child gotten behind in reading, but she has also gotten the idea that she isn’t smart. If you’re a parent, I’m sure you understand how painful that is to hear. She is smart enough to recognize that she has too many marks on her paper from the teacher; too many notes are sent home. My elegant, artistic, and clever girl worries she is ‘sub-par’.
I don’t agree with ‘participation awards’ and never allowing failure as children grow, but at age 6, a child should never feel like they aren’t smart enough. That thought can disrupt and stick with them throughout the years to come.
Not only is COVID-19 robbing us of our jobs, health, and lives, it’s robbing our children as well. I don’t know what the right answer is, but I do know I can’t allow these thoughts to stick in her 6-year-old mind. She is beautiful, creative and smart.
When I became a parent, this is far from what I envisioned for her school years. No parent expects to receive a letter that their child is below the state standard. If I hold her back a year, it will only solidify the thought that she isn’t doing well. If I allow her to continue, it could do the same thing.
If you find yourself relating to this article then as parents we are going to have to spend more time teaching than playing. Sadly, that’s what COVID has done for us. Our role in our children’s lives will have to change to the parent and teacher. We can no longer expect the school teacher to get our children where they need to be academically.
Let us hope and pray that next year will be better. Maybe next year we will have a vaccine. Maybe then we can go back to playing with our kids before they are too old to play. Just maybe.
In the meantime, remind your children how valuable, imaginative, and intelligent they are. Make sure they hear it from you every single day. They need to hear it, even if it doesn’t seem like they do. But above all else, tell them you love them and are impressed with them. Be proud of your children - state standards be damned.