What if you fly?

“And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”
― Erin Hanson

Preparing to sign the parent/student override form which would keep our daughter in the Honors Geometry class on her schedule, and that her middle school teacher strongly recommended, I couldn’t help but feel I was signing a document that effectively said – “if she doesn’t do well, you can’t blame us.”

(Actually what it says is “Past performance in the subject area is the best predictor of future success. Teachers are aware of each student’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the content and demands of the courses and levels within the department. While we wish for your student’s success in this course, history suggests that students who enroll after overrides are at higher academic risk and that their experiences can be less than positive.”)

Leading up to this signature, we’ve had some tough moments.

Moments of self-doubt for our daughter who had not done as well as she expected on the school’s placement test. And, during this major transition was unsure about many things except, as she told me, her classes.

Moments for her middle school teacher who rallied at the last minute, just as he was starting the school year, to write her a recommendation and give her some direction on what skills she may need to work on.

Moments when I, as a parent with passable math skills, found myself agreeing when it was suggested that there was “nothing wrong with repeating Algebra 1 and getting an easy A.”

I blame it on the jet lag because then I remembered – that is not how we roll.

We don’t tell our children that they shouldn’t do something because they might fail. Or because it might be hard.

We don’t set our children up for failure – but we don’t protect them from it either. We do our research. We evaluate all the available data. We listen. We are honest with them about what we know and what we don’t. We make them think about the consequences of their choices. And then we make a final decision.

In this case – to trust her when she says she’s ready for the challenge. To trust her teacher when he says making her repeat would do her a disservice.

Even as I sign the document I don’t know she is going to excel. I’m sure there will be moments that will be “less than positive.” Moments when she regrets not taking the easy route. She may even fail.

Or she will fly.

5 thoughts on “What if you fly?

  1. She’ll learn so much about herself through this challenge no matter what her grade ends up being! I think this is just th e right thing to do, try and learn that’s all we can ask of them and ourselves at the end of the day.

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  2. She’ll learn so much about herself through this challenge no matter what her grade ends up being! I think this is just the right thing to do, try and learn that’s all we can ask of them and ourselves at the end of the day.

    Like

  3. I was that kid. I was afraid to take the advanced track because I might do bad. No one pushed me to otherwise but halfway through the marking period I was acing everything but soooo bored. Luckily my school let me switch and I was able to have so many opportunities. It wasn’t easy but worth it.

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  4. Honestly, geometry is so completely different from algebra. If she struggled with algebra, there’s a good chance she’ll fly through geometry. (The opposite is also true.) Besides which, I think it makes more sense to run with it and if necessary, get some extra tutoring if needed. I’ve seen high schools be all over the board about the honors classes and pushing ahead, and I think some administrators lean one way and some the other. Between Khan Academy and all the other online resources and tutoring help available if she needs it, she’ll be fine.

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