A horrible disaster! No wait, a dramatic success!

by bledsoe on October 19, 2008

I suspect that most kids who enter "regular" school after having been homeschooled all their lives go through a certain amount of adjustment to a new social environment; weird new rules, weird new routines, weird new people.  The first, who started public school last year, had a few relatively minor adjustment incidents.  The Ice had one a few days ago.

A few weeks ago, Ice had an assignment in his science class in which he was supposed to build a model of an "earthquake house," a building which was designed to withstand an earthquake.  I never really understood the details of the assignment as Ice didn't seem to have an instruction sheet for it, but he seemed clear about what was required and he proceeded to build it.

It took a few hours of work over three or four nights, and Ice seemed reasonably pleased with the results, a multi-story structure made out of graham crackers, pretzel sticks, and Elmer's glue.  A few days before his school's first two-week break he took it to school to turn in, and that was the last I heard about it until a few days ago (the first day back from the break) at which point he came home and proceeded to build another earthquake house.

Eventually the whole story came out.  Apparently, on the day Ice took his original project to school, it got accidentally crushed by another student's bookbag.  He told his teacher what happened, though it's not clear exactly what her response was, and the Ice let the matter drop.  It apparently didn't occur to him that he might need to do the project over, or that he might at least need to find out from his teacher what exactly she wanted him to do about his crushed project.

So the first day back from break, the teacher had all the students "present" their constructions, and since the Ice didn't have one, his teacher told him that he'd get a zero on the assignment.  He began making another one when he got home, hoping to persuade his teacher to accept it in lieu of the crushed one.

My wife and I had a number of questions about the whole affair (why didn't he talk to his teacher about this two weeks ago when it happened, why didn't he tell us about what happened, etc.), but he was pretty upset about it, and we didn't really get any good answers.  I eventually had a talk with him about being responsible for his assignments, the importance of communicating with his teacher (and his parents), and the fact that the world wouldn't stop turning if he got a bad grade on one assignment.

So what happens the next day at school? He turns in his new project, tells the teacher what happened with the original project (several kids apparently confirmed to the teacher what had happened), and she gave him a grade of a hundred for the project.  Oh, also, he got his first report card that day: five A's, one B.

Horrible disaster or dramatic success?  With parenting, sometimes it's hard to tell.

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