“Mom. Dad. Guess what I got on my math test.”
My 12-year old son’s attempt to hold back a smile gave away the answer, but we still asked the question. “What’d you get?”
“One hundred percent.”
“Great,” my wife and I both said.
We were proud of him. However, my pride also contained relief. This test had been a little different from other ones in that my son hadn’t asked my help in studying for it. My son has always been an “A” student in math. It’s his best subject. However, as he has progressed in grades, his homework has gotten harder, requiring him to study more hours. My wife often helps with projects and preparing study sheets. I handle Math, Science, and History tutoring.
But what made this math test different? When we asked him last week about what tests he had this week, he mentioned the math test. He has 2-3 tests/quizzes per week and we both work with him. However, when we asked if he needed to study (and study help), he surprised us. “No, I’m ready for it.”
“Are you sure? The test is in two days.”
“No, I’m good.”
We repeated the same queries the night before the test. He said he didn’t need it. He was ready.
And so we did something which is at times, very hard for us. We took him at his word that he was ready.
It wasn’t the first time he’s claimed to be ready for an exam on his own. Sometimes, he does well. Other times, he makes silly mistakes. But why is this hard for us? For those of you that may not know, my older son has speech and language difficulties. It’s hard for him to express himself, to follow a conversation, and to follow social cues. (The last trait my wife attributes to me.) This ability to process information is one of the reasons we study with him hours every day. It takes him that much extra time to learn. He may pick up only a little in class. We teach him the rest at home.
For him to say he was ready without us was his confidence that through class, and by studying on his own, he was ready. And this is a big step. It gives my wife and I pause, but we want to believe he can do it on his own. And when he brings home a 100%, my wife and I celebrate with him. And my son had confidence, knowing he had progressed in learning to do things on his own.
Yesterday, he had a science test. I don’t remember studying groundwater and saturation zones as a kid and I doubt I’ll remember it much after this week is over. But we did spend three nights on it, getting my son ready for the test. And I’m sure I’ll do it again soon. But maybe soon, he’ll learn to be okay on this subject as well.