High Five, Sparky!

Sparky brought home his first official report card this week.

You may remember the second-, third-, and fourth-guessing we were doing when we decided to switch him into this new French immersion school for grade two. Were we going to kill his ease of social interaction? Would all his marks slip and his self-confidence plummet? Would he grow to hate school?

Ah ha ha. Guess who improved every single grade in every single subject? (Except gym, but as long as he’s running around and having fun and listening to instruction, I’m unconcerned about that.) His overall grade in French is a bit lower, but his marks in comprehension of written and oral texts and production of written work have actually gone up. It’s his communication/speaking that has dipped and brought the overall grade down with it, but that’s completely in keeping with being measured against a different set of criteria and expectations. While he’s technically just under a passing grade in French at the moment, I couldn’t be prouder of how well he’s doing when everything is taken into account, and it will only get better. Comprehension comes before ease of communication in any new language.

We had a parent-child-teacher meeting after school on Thursday, and his teacher is just as excited as we are. He told me not to be concerned about the low mark (I assured him that I wasn’t, because the higher than expected marks in the two other French areas were a good sign of his development) and that Sparky’s achievements were pretty impressive. And when we left, Sparky told his teacher that he was going to stay in this new school for grade three — “Right, Mama?” he said, turning to me with a sudden anxiety. “Oh, yes,” I said. “I think we can guarantee that.” That, plus the illustrated page for one of his projects on which he’d written ‘I love school’ and his ongoing positive attitude and excitement about going to school speaks volumes to me about the fit of programme with his nature and educational needs.

It’s always nice to be told that it’s a joy to have your child in a class, and that his expression, creativity, sense of humour, willingness to work hard, and general happiness are pleasurable to behold. His teacher pointed out a couple of art projects in which Sparky thought outside the box and came up with slightly unusual ways to achieve a goal, and said that his fine motor skills and sense of building in three dimensions were advanced for his age (no surprise there). Sparky showed me his “portfolio” (a binder of his work so far) and I could very clearly see the evolution in his comprehension, his understanding of French grammar, and the vast improvement in his printing. He’s started learning cursive, too, and his little practice lines of cursive letters are adorable. In English he’s writing one-page stories, and they clearly have beginnings, middles, ends, are exciting, clear, and leave no loose ends or introduce no new characters or plot strands out of nowhere.

Today is a nice sunny ped day, and we are just back from a celebratory trip to Starbucks. We bundled Owlet up in her new ski jacket with the owls on it (pictures eventually!), put her in the stroller, and walked over. I had promised him a hot chocolate with whipped cream and a cookie. And I got a creme brûlée latte, because I work hard supervising and guiding his homework with him, and I deserved a treat, too. Last time we did this Owlet was still only a faint hope, and Sparky could only finish half his cocoa. Today Sparky finished every last drop of his chocolate, and Owlet sat on one of the chairs and grabbed for everyone’s drinks. (I fed her whipped cream from my latte and Sparky gave her a couple of bites of his cookie. She let it be known that it was Not Enough and next time things had better be different, though we do this so rarely that next time she’ll probably be drinking her own cocoa.)

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