Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Scribble scrabble - oh joy! Or is it?

Good morning! Last night I was treated to a pretty special event. Now, I probably should have expected to see something spectacular but, you have to understand, I have pretty high standards. You see, last night was an open house at Sydney's school and our opportunity to see how much she has progressed over the year. Yes, I know, this is where you go to school and ooh and ah over all of the scribble scrabble that your child has accomplished over the last year. Of course we would go. We could have been doing a hundred other things that were more fun but, none the less, we decided to go. Don't get me wrong. I am all about seeing my daughter's work and oohing and ahhing over what she does. I get to do this everyday - so, going to do this in public and looking at other children's work was really not on my list as being something really exciting. As far as I was concerned, this was just another one of the things that you do because you are a parent. I certainly wasn't looking forward to it. I guess this is the reason I was so surprised.

You see, we did this last semester. We got to go and look at all of the things that she and the other children had done. With the way that Sydney's school grades progress this is about the only way that we could compare her to the other kids. This is important to us because, while it is all fine and dandy to see a chart of all of the tasks that she can accomplish, it really does not give us a clear picture of what she should be doing and how she compares to others her age. Don't get me wrong. I am not in it for the competition. I simply know that the likelihood of some long term neurological side effects from Sydney's treatment are probably pretty likely. I need to know when she is not doing things that others her age can do. I need to know when she is lagging behind. Finally, she misses a ton of school for doctors visits and scans and I need to know what to work on to help her keep pace. Without a scale or a chart to compare her to the standard I really have no idea of where she stands. That is the most frustrating thing I find about the new grading trends.

So, how is she doing! Well, well, well, you would not expect me to do all of this build up if I was not going to brag a bit. My daughter is stellar. She has totally surpassed my expectations for this year. You see, I was just hoping to catch up - to stay up with the pack. I was hoping not to see an exception at the bottom of the curve and had prepared myself for the possibility. What I was not expecting was to see her work to stand out as a model of what can and should be done. Now, I don't want to stand here and say my kiddo is the best or the greatest (although she is) but to rather show you her improvement and to show how far she has come. In the beginning there were many things that she was doing below the level of the other kids in her class. Yes, at the beginning of the year we were still catching up. She was not at the bottom of the class but she certainly was not at the top and there was a huge gap. She was lagging in many, many areas. For example, her handwriting was almost completely illegible and all of the other kiddos seemed to have better letter formation. However, as of last night, that had completely changed. I looked at every child's handwriting and was completely shocked to see how much better Sydney's handwriting was. Hers was picture perfect. I mean literally. She could write the books on correct letter formation. It was brilliant. I don't mean to compare but it was now miles ahead of any other in her class -not even close. I found this trend to be consistent with much of what she did. There is clearly a pattern in her work of going from the worst to one of the best. Most importantly, I did not discover any of those areas that I was to be concerned about. She is making tremendous progress. I have to take back all of the things I said about not wanting to see all of the scribble scrabble. It was the best and most fun thing we could have done with our evening.

Purpose just keeps pushing forward.

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