I went to see J do a group project demonstration at school this morning. It was wonderful. She and her group presented their parts of the Decorative Arts of Japan. J talked about how she made a kokeshi doll. She made it completely by herself with a toilet paper tube, tinfoil, papier mache, paint, yarn, and construction paper. She is so proud of her work. I noticed she was nervous and wouldn't look out at all the parents. I was nervous for her and got a little teary. Then all the kids stood around the perimeter of the classroom and sang and did movements to a Japanese song they learned. J and 3 other kids were in the middle as the focus of the dance. It was so great.
The principal even came in to gush about the wonderful kids in this program. The GT classes are her pride and joy and cause the school much recognition. The teacher really has a lot of pride in her students as well. She kept taking pictures and gave them all so much encouragement. The whole classroom is filled with work the kids do and pictures of them doing it.
J's teacher came over and told me how beautiful J is and how she looked like a butterfly doing the dance. This is nice and all, but tell me about how thing's are going academically! I have suddenly learned to be totally calm and non-pressuring about J's school performance. I leave everything up to her now. I help when needed, but the responsibility is hers. She is in charge of remembering to do homework and when she should study. She's responding to this well. I guess I may have been too "on her" to get stuff done. Now if she gets it done at midnight or 5 in the morning, that's fine with me. I am letting her be her.
Another thing I've noticed recently is how the teacher accomodates when J has a problem somewhere. When J was having trouble with writing, the teacher became her writing partner. J doesn't test well so all of sudden their reading test was a take-home test. J needs to move around a lot, so the teacher lets the kids all do standing up/moving around types of work and made J a Kindergarten monitor at lunchtime.
I realize I have both of my older kids in excellent schools and I should feel really lucky about that. My town is notorious for crappy schools. A lot of moms I talk to ask me where my kids go to school and when I tell them they look at me in awe. It's nice to feel like I did something right along the way somewhere. Of course, I also think I have the best, smartest, happiest, healthiest, and most beautiful kids in the world, though, who will always draw good things to themselves throughout their whole lives!