Parent-teacher night at my son’s school was par for the course: everyone loves him. He’s a great student in class, engaged, respectful, and smart. He contributes a lot to classroom discussions. He does well on tests, and his in-class essays tend to be first rate.
But. His homework is sloppy and incomplete. Longer-term projects read as though he had rushed through them the night before. This has to affect his grades. He’s capable of such great work — can’t we get him to focus?
The thing is, he really is focusing — just not so much on homework. He rarely sits around watching TV. When he’s home, he’s practicing guitar, alone or with friends. He’s in a competitive soccer league that practices twice a week and plays once or twice a week. They practice on public grounds, and often adults from other countries — most often South Africa — ask to scrimmage with them, and they end up talking about cultural and political differences.
A few weeks ago, he got the news that he had been selected for a music exchange program. This spring, he and some other musicians from his school will travel to England, where they will stay with young musicians and give a concert series together. Then the English kids will come here and do the same.
My husband and I sat on him about the homework issue, of course. He really can do better. But we didn’t push too hard. He’s getting a different kind of education, one which is also of value.