Daily Archives: February 25, 2015

Oh, Sparky…

While doing groceries this morning, I got a voicemail from Sparky’s school. He had called to say that he’d forgotten his lunch at home.

Except he hadn’t. There was nothing left on the floor of the entryway when we went out the door. And he had the lunchbox in his hand when I dropped him off at school.

When I got home, I double-checked the fridge, the entryway, and the back seat of the car. Nothing. So I threw together another lunch and took it to school, along with a note that said yes, he had remembered his lunch; he’d had it with him when he got to school, so it was probably in the schoolyard somewhere.

I certainly hope he finds his lunchbox, because I bought him a new drink bottle-thing yesterday, and it was not cheap. (Well, it was, actually; that particular single bottle was on clearance, but it was the last one, and the only reason I’d bought it was because it was marked down, because new the prices are stupidly high.) Also, I’m not a fan of the idea of having to buy a new lunchbox two-thirds of the way through the year, or replacing all the terrific nearly-new containers in it.

Apart from his lunchbox mysteriously vanishing between the schoolyard gate and his classroom, things are mostly okay. He got his second-term report card a couple of weeks ago and it was quite decent in most areas except math, and his French had dropped a bit. He got a plaque at a recent assembly, an award for being a risk-taker — which, if you know him, is both puzzling and great. He doesn’t trust himself to try new things or go out on a limb very often, so if a teacher recognized that particular value in him, then that means they’re doing a great job making him feel safe and able to be more daring in various areas of his life. (Risk-taking isn’t something out of the blue; it’s one of the values stressed in the International Baccalaureate programme’s philosophy. The IB programme embodies ten values: it aims to develop learners who are inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, and reflective. These ten values are underlined and revisited again and again in various modules and units, as well as activities, educational approaches, and teaching styles. It’s awesome; basically, they’re educating upright citizens of the world, the educational environment suits Sparky very well, and I am all for it.)

He has run into a roadblock with long division, with which I completely and utterly sympathize, since I did in grade four, too. (Mine stemmed from a sudden switch into doing math in French, and the French way of doing long division is different, which created a lot of stress and confusion at home when my dad tried to coach me through my math homework.) He is not a fan of having to do extra work to understand how something is done, so a few bonus long division problems every couple of days on top of drilling a multiplication table or two nightly is moaned and whined about regularly. There is much dragging of feet when I remind him to study his French vocabulary, too. Basically, anything that was not directly assigned by a teacher that needs to be handed in or checked in class is seen as the Worst Thing Ever, because we’re obviously manufacturing extra work as some kind of punishment or just to make his life miserable. Sorry, kid; what’s actually happening is we’re teaching you how to study and how to break tasks down into smaller components so you learn them thoroughly instead of just zipping through them and barely passing a test. He tends to rush through things and not question the answer he arrives at, something I’ve been trying to teach him to do when he finishes a problem. If you’re dividing 348 by 4, for example, the answer cannot be bigger than 348, and if you use simple logic, it can’t be bigger than half or a third of it, either; if it is, it means you went off track during your process and either multiplied two things together incorrectly or multiplied the wrong two things (something that happens with great frequency in his division). He loves to learn; he does not love to work. (As an aside… we were so right to switch schools. He probably wouldn’t have hit this until high school if he’d stayed in the other one.)

He’s on March Break next week. There’s at least a hot chocolate date, a bookstore trip, and hopefully a movie planned. But he’s not going to be happy when I remind him to keep up with his math practice.