It is perplexing how a child can get a D as a final grade in a subject that he likes, get an A on the midterm exam, an A+ on the final exam, understand the material completely, and have these words written by his teacher :
"A pleasure to have in class"
"He was extremely inquisitive and well-spoken; a rare combination for freshmen nowadays. I enjoyed having him in class and look forward to working with him in the future."
I know why, but do you?
He enjoyed the subject matter and the teacher but chose not to spend time doing homework and other busywork. And I guess this is what happens. And I am very calm, surprisingly enough.
All along we decided, when he chose to go to high school this year, (the first school experience ever!), that he would be responsible for his own learning. That he would make the decision whether to do homework, study, etc without any nagging or reminders from me, unless of course he asked me to. But, of course, he never asked. :]
I have had nine months to talk to myself and reassure myself that grades do not matter (even though deep down I know they don't), but I knew the real test would come when I opened that report card. And I was calm as could be, even when I looked at the D.
I know he understands the material. I know grades are not a measure of what he knows...or of what he has learned.
In fact, He was often annoyed that the kids in his classes had no understanding of the subject matter. They could pass the tests but had no understanding for discussions- one of his pet peeves of kids at school. But we know from our own school days that kids learn the game early on, just memorize for the tests .
Does it bother him that he got a D? No.
Did he even care about his report card? No.
He knows it is not a true measure of his learning and of himself.
This is a part of going to high school and still remaining an unschooler.
He will share his experience at the Northeast Unschooling Conference this summer with me as I talk about a mom's journey of supporting my son's choice to go to school while he remains an unschooler.