Sometime back, I decided that the only way YaYa would learn to balance the well-rounded schedule which colleges now appear to be requiring is to let him struggle. I must admit, it’s been difficult – for both of us. With an academic workload that already pushes his learning style to the limit, the addition of extracurricular activities seemed (on one hand) like cruel and unusual punishment. I signed him up anyway.
In this past school year, YaYa has struggled with the increased workload typical of 6th grade. Coming in 2 weeks late, after vacationing in the south of France, he had to play catch up in school and football. For all of the backlogged work, I hardly heard him complain. Then again, I wouldn’t let him whine — not after a trip to France.
YaYa managed to pull his grades up to an acceptable-by-my-standards level by the time trimester ended. At this point, it was evident that the year would not be an easy one, regardless of whether he participated in sports. At this point, he was begging me to let him play on the school basketball team. I caved but warned him that if any of his grades fell below a C that I would pull him immediately. And then it happened. And I did not pull him. Instead, I set up meetings with the teachers to determine what could be done. We started using ebooks so that he could have immediate access to the dictionary feature, take notes and highlight key areas right in the book. YaYa also spent extra time in after-school tutoring and with the teachers. He completed extra math work to replace those with low scores and skipped a few practices in order to do so. And still, his grades teetered up and down the required grade level.
Then came baseball and with all the practices and games, the saying “baseball is life” came alive in my head. I struggled once more with the question of pulling him or using his want to participate to my advantage. Obviously, you know my decision already. YaYa continued getting extra help when his practice schedule allowed. He often stayed up late or woke up early to finish his school work. But the quality of his work suffered causing him to re-do many assignments (as able) to no avail.
In the past few weeks, both he and I have hovered over the online grade book watching as the fruits of his labor are documented. A percentage point here, another two there but still not enough to rejoice. Now that all of the opportunity for change is behind us, I search for the correct response when his final report card is in-hand. Normally, Tom and I would celebrate the successful passing of the school year with a special dinner and a whole lot of raving about the kids achievements. While I am proud of him for “persevering in the face of disappointment” (importance noted in my last post), I don’t want to send a message that anything below a solid C is okay.
I’ve got a day to figure it out. It’s not really a question of whether or not to celebrate; it’s more a question of how.