The last few weeks, Jayce has been going to summer school. Actually, I wouldn't call it summer school--most people don't shell out $175 (with 50% discount) for their kid to go to summer school. It was a day camp type thing for kids that need a little more "challenge" in their school work. Jayce had to have written verification from his teacher that he was a TAG student and could handle the work.
His classes were his pick. He took 2 classes--a science class and a "Physics with K'NEX class". The second being his favorite. He learned how to build bridges, towers, cars and how changing even one tiny piece can affect the performance of your project. At least that's what he was supposed to learn.
Today was his last day and they had a "Parent Day" where we could go and collect his work and see all that he built. We had told Jayce at the beginning of the sessions that he would NOT be the smartest one in the class, unlike normal school. And we were right. You should have seen these projects these 3rd, 4th graders built! Amazing! You could see all the work that went into them and as we walked over to Jayce's stuff, we could hear the kids explaining to their parents why they built them the way they did and what they learned. Then we saw Jayce's stuff.
Now, we have never purposefully compared our kids to any other kids, in a negative way. But it was hard not to today. His things were sadly, lacking. When we asked if he followed along in class and did the assignments, he said he had but it was more fun to try and build a car, which was not part of the class and therefore we didn't get to see that.
I walked out of there disappointed in him, not that what he did was "bad" but that he didn't try to follow the teacher's suggestions. I KNOW he could have done what the other kids did, I KNOW he could have built an elaborate tower with swings and flashing lights. But was I disappointed because he missed out on a great opportunity to learn something or was I disappointed because from the outside, he looked different?
Our pastor said once to not tell your kids "I am disappointed in you" but tell them "You broke a rule" or "That's not allowed" etc. His reasoning is our children can't help how WE FEEL about them, they can only control what THEY DO. And that makes sense.
I came so close today to telling Jayce I was disappointed but I held my tongue.
Tonight, as I was talking to him at bed time, he said that maybe next year, he'll take that class again and maybe then he'll be smart enough to build like the other kids.
So, here I was disappointed that he didn't live up to MY expectations and he was beating himself up these last 3 wks, and convinced himself he couldn't do what those other kids were doing.
I was so glad I didn't go with my first reaction, seeing his projects in that classroom. I don't want to be the one to crush him and make him feel bad about himself. What kind of mom would I be.
He did say he had a ton of fun in this summer program and he wants to do it again next year. Which, at 9 yrs. old, isn't that the point?
Plus, now that I think about it--what if he had asked me to help him build one of those elaborate thingys? I would have been in deep trouble!! I don't think they make towers one big, long piece (like Jarrett and Jeven's towers, where they just stack blocks and then Godzilla them). Nope, don't think that would have impressed anyone.