Friday, September 19, 2014

Difficult Start to Fifth Grade

With me working part-time this year, I have been able to spend a lot more time being involved in our kids' school activities.  Grace has had a hard time adjusting to fifth grade.  Everything has come pretty easily to her in previous years, but not this year.  Not only has the workload increased, but this is the first year that students have nightly homework instead of a weekly packet.  She is learning how to be more responsible and thankfully, I have been able to help out by picking her up from school and making sure she has everything she needs to take home with her.  So far, it has been a nightly struggle with homework.  I keep reminding her that I have years of experience teaching fifth grade, so I definitely know what I am talking about.  But, just like what other parents have shared with me in previous years, it's always the "teacher's way" that is the best, regardless of what mom and dad know.  I am writing this so that maybe at the end of the year, we can look back to see where and how we started and what was needed in order for success to be achieved.  For now though, life in our household has been difficult and centered around helping Grace through this learning experience. 
In addition to having more time to help with Grace's schoolwork, I was able to go watch Grace play volleyball several times.  There are over 20 girls on the fifth grade team, so she doesn't get to play very much, but she is still loving it.
Grace is also continuing her piano lessons with Auntie Christa and she decided to also continue with violin.  Funny story to look back on some day:
Grace came home and shared with us that she was going to be in Beginning Orchestra again this year.  Jason and I were quite surprised to hear this, but even more so when she said, "You know what's funny?  My teacher didn't even remember me from last year!"  Jason and I couldn't believe our ears.  We emailed the teacher, and asked if she could give us suggestions on how to better support Grace's practice time.  After all, Grace had been very dedicated the year before, waking up before even I did to make sure she had time to practice.  The teacher didn't ever reply.  A few days later though, the teacher did have the students play for her individually.  They were given 2 songs from last year, and 2 new songs they'd have to read and play on the spot.  When I talked to Grace afterschool, she said, "I didn't make it into Intermediate Orchestra..." My mind started spinning but Grace quickly followed that up with, "I made it into Advanced Orchestra!"  So basically, she went from almost having to repeat an entire year of orchestra, to playing in the school's highest level of orchestra... To say that this annoys me is an understatement! How did the teacher not know of Grace's abilities after a whole year with her?  Who knows how many other kids have slipped through the cracks?! 
Anyways, all of this to say: Grace has a very full plate so far this year!

No comments: