"Mom, I just saw a commercial that said if you had a child behind in school they could go there and get help!"
"Do you think you're behind in school?"
"I don't know."
Now, Blondie is not far behind her peers in school. A few weeks ago she took a test on her reading story and made an 85 or so. I was pleased, and asked her how it was given to her. She told me that her teacher read it out loud to the whole class and they answered the questions (Blondie is in first grade). So I thought that was how all of her tests would be given.... my mistake. The next week she came home with a 66. GULP. So I asked her if it was read to her, and she said no, she did it by herself. So I went to the teacher and asked if it was the comprehension of the story that was the issue, or the reading of the test. She didn't know either, but agreed to read the next test to her.... now I kind of balked at that, because I am also a teacher and know how difficult that can be to do sometimes. So we came up with the idea that Blondie would read the test to the teacher and when she found a word she needed help with the teacher would tell her what it was. Blondie's next test was a 98, and then 100. I felt like this accomodation was appropriate because it made Blondie responsible for learning to read everything still, but gave her help with words like "gnarled" that couldn't be sounded out easily.
So when Blondie came in to tell me about the commercial we talked about why she needed more practice in things to remember, and how that didn't mean she wasn't smart. Once she knows something she knows it well, but sometimes it only takes one practice, and some things take 20 repetitions. It just really made me sad that she is starting to see herself as struggling. Her teacher and I actually see her as in the middle somewhere so I guess we're going to have to work on that self-concept a lot more.