Thing One came home with a very poor spelling test. This was a bit of a surprise because she usually does well in spelling and in fact knew all the words everytime I quizzed her before the test.
"so, what do you think happened?"
"I don't know, Mommy. I was thinking about my pants and the snaps at the bottom. And maybe about my birthday and also..."
"So, you weren't focusing on your test."
"I know you knew the words."
"I did know the words. And anyway, I am one of the smartest kids in my class, you know."
"I do know that. Which is why you should be doing well on the test."
"But who cares! I know the words!"
And here is the thing. I understand exactly how she feels. Tired of "proving" what she knows when she and her teacher and her parents all know what she knows. Nothing gets this kid's goat like reading comprehension questions. She hates to retell a story. She knows she understood it; why does she have to prove to you that she understood it? Most weeks she is willing to play the game, but some weeks it seems, she just needs a break from being the smartest girl in the room. I had a little bit of this attitude in school too. I knew I would do well if I tried hard, and sometimes, just recognizing my potential was enough for me.
So, how do I help her with this, when it was my problem too? And do I really need to help her with it? My "underacheiving" 3.85 average got me a scholarship to a better-than-average liberal arts college. I have always been a good employee at all my various jobs. I am happy. My life is good. Would I have been happier if I had worked for the 4.0? Would my quality of life be improved? I can't say "yes" to either question.
And yet I feel like I should have higher expectations for her. And certainly, I don't want to give her permission to be a slacker. But I really don't feel like the best person to be lecturing her on this point.