Tuesday, October 6, 2009

When Benchmark Meets The Bench Player

Several times during the school year, my sons have a battery of tests that seem to last a week. The big one is the CRCTs and we sweat those out for a while. Other tests include COGAT, ITBS, and a lot of other acronyms I’ve either forgotten of mixed up.

This week, my older son has Benchmark tests. Benchmark tests to review what kids have learned so far this particular school year. It doesn’t have a big effect on your grade. However, like losing baseball games in April, it will still count you at the end of the season. For the benchmark, it’s as if the teachers are being judged to see how well they are doing.

Because school and tests take center stage among all kid activities, we sometimes find ourselves making decisions on our kids’ evenings. With benchmarks requiring nightly study in all subjects., we told my oldest that he would have to miss his Monday night at Boy Scouts. Scouts is a wonderful endeavor and my son enjoys it. It teaches kids such skills as how to work together as a team to accomplish goals. Still, Scouts is something of an individual endeavor. If my son isn’t ready for his tests, he can’t go to Scouts.

It’s the same way with sports. We’ve had scenarios where one of our kids has had a big test is the day after a practice. On that day (and days before), we’ve made them study hard. We check their comprehension before practice. If they know it, they can go. If they don’t, then they can’t.

Games are a different matter. If you keep a kid away from game, you bring up the possibility that the game could be a forfeit. Kids get sick. Nothing you can do, but there aren’t a lot of extra kids on each team. My older son’s team has one extra player. If two kids are missing, they only have eight kids. They can play with that many, but you’re trying to cover an outfield with two kids. Not easy.

So what should we do? School is still the most important thing. Commitment is also important. So, we pray we make the right decision. We pray that our son studies early and often.

And like the fans of the Boston Braves during the last 40s when Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain took the mound, we pray for rain.


Jody Hedlund said...

Wow! Seems a little early in the year to be doing a comprehension test! But I suppose if they do one in the fall then another at the end of the school year they can gauge how much the kids have learned? But you're right. We have to teach our kids to prioritize. And long term for most kids their education is more important than sports or dance class or whatever. Giving them a long term perspective is invaluable because so often they get caught up in the here-and-now and don't think about how it will affect their future.

Walt M said...

Yes, it's early. However, since kids start school in August, they've apparently been through one-quarter of the year.

Getting kids to prioritize is a challenge. We do our best, as parents only can.