It’s only his first report card afterall. Or is it?

Dreaming about 4's in kindergarten at a few weeks old...

Do you remember your first report card?

Do you still have it? Was it surprisingly accurate in terms of how close it resembled your last couple of report cards? I think I was given praise for my ability to make friends easily, and reminders around personal hygiene. I’m happy to report I took the reminders to heart, probably to keep all those friends I made easily…

Today a kindergarten report card does not offer commentary on social skills or cleanliness.

Reading, writing, science, social studies, math, physical education, art, music, and being a collaborative worker and a complex thinker are evaluated in numbers 1-4. A four means you could be teaching this class. A one means this is an area of real concern. Two is approaching where we want you to be, and a three says, uh huh you get school.

So as Sam’s teacher explained that this is a snapshot into his first three months of school and nothing more, my eyes scanned and my heart thumped. Why are there all these 2’s in writing and reading? How many 3’s? Where are the 4’s. Pfew no 1’s. Are they spending the one on one time he needs? I read to him, and he can identify all those site words. Just because you can’t read his letters doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what he is writing! How had my son so quickly disappeared into a thicket of numbers lost evermore into a system of assessments and evaluative methods that did not take into consideration…

Or was I the one who got lost?

Then I stopped being that mother, and remembered that I am this teacher too.

What his report did show is that he is learning beautifully in all areas, and loves school. It really ends there. But it also shows  that he is 5 and doesn’t know yet how to read. It shows that he has amazing background knowledge and all the preliteracy skills he needs.

Wait. There is a back?

In the area of physical education my son received three out of three FOURS.

Lights! Camera! Action! Immediately I am in the auditorium eleven years from now. I am the envy of every father and mother there. I am watching  him winning every MVP award with letters up and down the back of his jacket, and trophies by the armful. I was walking up to the podium to receive that rose the super mom gets from her super son. Soon I would be watching him bow his head for his gold medal, and jumping hurdles on the Wheaties box. It says here he is exceeding expectations and he is a damn genius physically. I want to get up on the table like Carol Burnett and point to the 4’s and say; “SEE WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.”

Looks like maybe I was the one who needed a report card. Something tells me under reasonable expectations for all involved I’d be looking at a 1.

What report card moments can you share–either yours or the kids that sent you to another place? Or brought you back to earth?


  1. I can relate – this sounds a lot like my son’s first report card this year (and my reaction!) It was a pride-check for me that my son struggles – especially with the handwriting, and I HATED seeing those low numbers. Even though he is bright and smart and excelling in so many ways.

    I will say . . . I am really glad our school DOES grade on social stuff, and my son did get all 4’s in that area (empathy, sharing, respect, etc). That is the one that is most important to me.

    • Love that he had all 4’s there too! They have a “collaborative worker” one that he also hit the 4 on! But it was oddly on it’s own there… Great to hear that you HATED those low numbers too. I had no idea what a transition this K thing was going to be for ME, let alone him. Hard on control freak Mamas! 🙂

      Still enjoying the pie pictures a few weeks back on your blog. Think Sam would like me to do that to MYSELF on his birthday…and it did look so fun at your house.

      Thanks for the check in Kristen!

  2. Oh do I ever remember report cards. The first marking period was always terrible. Jordan needed a few more months to recover from the freedom of summer EVERY year, and by the time that was covered he’d managed to foster a relationship with the other “spirited child” in his class…and so it went.

    Every year I felt less and less sure of myself until the school play or field day or the occasions when we’d bump into another parent who’d say, “You’ve raised such a fine boy-he plays so well with ____.” And, we’d smile at each other as _____twisted and twirled and tugged at her coat.

    I homeschooled for high school when I feared the far less diverse hallways of an Arizona high school (versus NYC) might be unkind or otherwise disadvantageous to my brown man-child, where he might be labeled something far more egregious than, “spirited”.

    These days, he’s still putting on a show…only as a fine arts major, and a recording artist! And…there are days that I still feel uncertain, but relieved that I’m not being graded!

    • OH you always say what I need to hear. Great to read your words about what the others mothers say/said. Yes, truly that is what I care about. And, he is learning, and maybe one day he’ll be putting on his own show his way, and I’ll be able to watch and enjoy instead of getting all pride twisted!

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