When your kids are in pre-school or long day care, you drop them off, kiss them goodbye and breathe a sigh of relief that they will be entertained for 8 hours straight whilst you work, get the washing done or finally pay the bills. You would like them to learn the ABC, do all the messy shit like painting and play doh and learn something or other about dinosaurs. Then you hope like hell they don’t become ‘that kid’ – you know, the one who is known by their first AND second name or the one who bites, kicks and punches. In my case I also hope that they don’t drop a random F bomb in the playground.
Once they hit ‘big school’ however, it’s an entirely different situation. The excitement of the first term in kindergarten is met with eager parents in playgrounds discussing how ‘easy’ the home readers are with all that repetition of “The chair is BLUE. The chair is RED. The chair is green. The chair is on Charlie’s head.” You wonder if they’re ever going to make progress with such basic and stupid books (there’s method to the repetitive madness, I assure you.) Then the worry sets in because as all mothers do, you talk to one another. Some kid has started kinder on a bloody level 16 reader and you can’t work out if you want to be a hater and pity the poor child who is not only reading better than your third grader but probably speaking Mandarin or if you want to suck that mother’s brain for tips on how she taught her child to sit still at the age of four long enough to know what a ‘book’ is.
Then, just as you’ve worked out your routine, settled into school and are proud of the fact that little Johnny no longer cries when you say goodbye at kiss’n’drop in the mornings, it’s time for half yearly reports!
Half yearly reports are far more traumatic for parents than kids. Kids really don’t give a damn about reports, unless, like mine, they’re incentivised if they come home with a report that gives me hope they will not end up in jail. Then they care. Bribery and corruption in this house ALL THE WAY. No so for all parents however, this is serious business and everyone goes quiet when reports are in. It’s not like the old days where the info was spread far and wide. Nope, everyone goes underground and silent. Don’t talk about the smart kids. Don’t shout from the rooftops that you have one of those 3 kids in the grade who got the rare “A” in maths. Just shut up and don’t tell anyone you have one of the smart ones. One thing that strikes me as strange these days is we’re happy to celebrate the sporting achievements of the kids who are genuinely great at sport but what about the kids who are smart, really really smart. Where is their chance to shine? (Disclaimer here is that whilst I love my cherubs, they are definitely not in the smart category – very very clever at being very very average all rounders).
Most of the time reports are sent home in school bags and many a parent doesn’t discover them till days after they’ve been sent home. By year 4, the kids are clever enough to be able to delicately open the envelope, take a peek and reseal it without showing the slightest evidence of tampering. From there and depending on the results, will depend on how fast the report is delivered to Mum and Dad.
Half yearly and yearly reports are serious business because it’s a reminder that your child still has half a year to go before the year is over and there is still time to improve. For parents it’s a stark reminder that in addition to work, washing, cleaning, lunches, sport, after school life improvement activities, upcoming school holidays and all the other crap we have to deal with, we still need to sit and do spelling, maths, comprehension and constantly keep an eye on behaviour at home to ensure it’s not mirrored at school. I’m currently in a state where I’m multiplying those thoughts by 3x kids at school. Can’t. Keep. Up.
Our lot were fairly clever this year, they gave us some pictures to define the grades, how they were given and what their equivalent driving expertise would be if they were a driver of a car. Yes it’s simple but we parents don’t really understand very well and therefore simplifying it for us so that we don’t go berserk at the teachers when little Jonny doesn’t get an A in art because his art teacher said he’s got ‘real potential’ (not that any teacher would say this in order to keep you paying for the weekly after hours classes).
So here’s the guide:
Naturally an A is what we’re pushing the kids to at least aim for. Truth is, not everyone is going to end up a Grand Prix racer but hey, aim high and you never know where you’ll end up. My problem is, I picked up my car from the smash repair place today after doing this to it;
HAVE YOUR HALF YEARLY REPORTS COME IN YET? DOES EVERYONE GO UNDERGROUND? HOW ARE YOUR OWN “DRIVING SKILLS?” AS BAD AS MINE?
ANY REWARDS AT YOUR HOUSE?