Boo: (upset) I got a 64% one of my worksheets today.
Me: That’s okay….it means you’re normal.
Boo: But Daddy will be mad.
Me: No he won’t……..anyways sometimes it’s good to set the bar a little lower….then imagine how excited he’ll be when you get 65% and above!


(later) Mr. LBB: Can we at least set the bar at 74%?


It’s all about managing expectations right?  I think it’s about managing Boo’s expectations too.  Her teacher said Boo cried over that 64%.  I rolled my eyes at how dramatic it seemed.

I showed her one of my report cards from when I was younger. I told her that the F was because I didn’t study for that Latin exam.  I told her the C’s were because I didn’t like writing papers.  I told her the A’s were in art and math because those were my favorite classes.  I told her that a few of those B+’s weren’t really deserved because I had to beg for extra credit from one of my teachers to get them.  I told her that she has the ability to do much better than I did.


I want her to know that it’s up to her.  I want her to know that she’s going to fail at things. I want her to know that it’s not the end of the world when she does. I want her to know that she has to work for it.  I want her to know that she has to be accountable. I want her to know that they are her achievements, not mine.

Yes, she’s only 5 years old. But I’ve got to start somewhere right?

I’m not trying to raise a little valedictorian here…..unless that’s what she wants to be. When she balks at doing her homework at night my reply is usually “That’s fine….but you get to tell your teacher tomorrow. I’m not going to spend anymore energy trying to force you to do it.”  That works every time.

Of course, Mr. LBB and I get all enthusiastic about everything she’s learning so she’ll get fired up.  She has to learn the states this year…….which means I have to re-learn them.  At least I know the 4 corners (sorry middle U.S. peeps), right?!  I got a C in geography…..boring.  But Boo loves maps….so here come the map projects…..


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  1. Nichole says

    Teach her the animaniacs song for the states and their capitals. It’s addictive (and can be annoying) but every niece, nephew, and kid I have has learned it that way and the kids love it, remember it, and my 21 yr old niece still sings it to me when she wants to joke around. Google it. I think Boo would love it.

  2. Jawan says

    YAY! I love another mom who doesn’t make a big deal about Cs (or As, for that matter). My son is just like Sienna when it comes to school work! However, the only thing that makes me question my response at times to his academic Fs is that I’ll someday be like Gaylord’s parents and have a wall full of 7th place trophies.

  3. Darci says

    My daughter is in the 3rd grade. She doesn’t have tests and her homework is not graded. Her report cards don’t have grades, they rate the expectations as ’emerging skills’ or ‘established skills’. Her school is considered progressive rather than traditional. She doesn’t have spelling tests, math flash cards or study the states. I’m not sure if this is the right way to go or not…….also, no homework in preK or kindergarten and she didn’t get any homework this year until the 4th week of school

    • Jen says

      this is how my kid’s new school is. I am still not sure how I feel… we went from a school that started grades in 1st grade (with the 92% scale… and +/-) to a 1,2,3 scale… and little to no homework. They are a blue ribbon school though so something must be working…

    • says

      I really like that Battebakka. I am going to work on that for myself. Yesterday, I took time to design my “to-do” notebook. Realizing that I was being to hard on myself and always adding more to it, rather than appreciating my accomplishments. Now is called my Opportunities and Accomplishments book. :)

  4. says

    I don’t know if you ever listen to dr. Laura on the radio… I love her/am totally scared of her. But anyway I usually agree with her. And this one mom called in borderline in tears cause her son keeps making Cs and Ds in science. Then she went on to say that in every other subject he makes all As… And he does his science homework and tries to study the periodic table… Should they ground him? Punish him? Get a Tudor? And dr Laura was basically like do you like every subject lady? People aren’t good at everything, he’s never going to be good at science, who cares? He’s trying hard and he will always make Cs. so what!

    I love what you told Boo, I taught elementary school for a few years and I think it’s a great answer! As long as they try hard it is what it is and they should be proud

  5. Marci says

    So keeping and learning that song for when we have to go THERE. I rocked geography back in the day but there’s no way I could do it anymore! Just one gripe about the cute little guy, South Dakota’s capital is not a lil French dude, it’s pronounced like pier….it’s about an hour from my house :) I’m so remembering your tactics with homework as well, EVERYTHING is a fight with my oldest, it’s exhausting! Thank you!

  6. Karen says

    We learned the states through the “50 Nifty United States” song. I think I was in 3rd or 4th grade though! I think the song is on Youtube. The states are in abc order. How fun.

    I wish I could be a little more lax. Unfortunately, I made my kindergartener redo his homework yesterday because it was sloppy… just made him start all over. I don’t get upset with him, but try to teach him that rushing through things and being sloppy because you’re bored will only hurt you in the end.

    My mom never cared about my grades (she was busy raising 3 children on her own), but personally, I would work to keep my grades at A or B. I got a C in band once and cried. We had a fire at our home and lost everything, including my instrument. I eventually got it back, but since I couldn’t actually participate in band my teacher gave me a C. Who does that?! I mean, I sucked at band anyway, but I couldn’t even get a pity B? 😉 Oh well. Builds character.

  7. Isabella says

    As a high school student, I find this to be golden.
    Thank you for sharing, I really love hearing Boo-isms.

  8. Woody says

    I just found your blog yesterday (love it!) — and NEVER post comments on blog — but I am curious about your report card you posted. I also grew up in Charlotte and had report cards that looked JUST like yours – is it possible we went to the same high school? Charlotte Latin? If so, small world!

      • Woody says

        I thought that looked familiar! Class of ’93 – my maiden name was Chapman. I am trying to remember who was in your class – was that Kendall Booe’s class? I just had my old yearbook out laughing at hairstyles from middle school with my husband – I’ll have to go back and pull it out again.

  9. says

    This is exactly how I hope to be as a parent! If kids feel the pressure to be perfect at everything, they won’t have the motivation, or energy, to figure out what it is that I really enjoy. At least, that’s how I felt :)

  10. says

    The absolute best parenting advice I’ve ever heard is what the inventor of Spanx, Sara Blakely, said her dad did.

    ” Fail Big – Sara’s beloved father followed Wayne Dyer’s guidance in teaching his children the power of failing big. Each day, her father would ask – “So, what did you fail at today.” And if there were no failures, Dad would be disappointed. Focusing on failing big allowed Sara to understand that failure is not an outcome, but involves a lack of trying — not stretching yourself far enough out of your comfort zone and attempting to be more than you were the day before. Failing big was a good thing.”


    the whole article is here:http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2012/05/23/10-lessons-i-learned-from-sara-blakely-that-you-wont-hear-in-business-school/

  11. Ellie says

    Wow, I can’t believe Kindergarten gives homework in the U.S. That in my opinion is ridiculous! They are still supposed to be honing their social skills at the age of 5. Canada has one of the best education systems and this has never happened here to my knowledge. And yes all you peeps in the U.S., we Canadians had to learn to name all your states in Social class. CAN YOU name all the Provinces in Canada?

  12. christie says

    Oh! Have you heard of the book, “The Scrambled States of America” by Laura Keller? There is also a game by the same name. They taught my kids all the states in a very fun way. Maybe Boo would enjoy learning the states with these little helps.