“So, what grade is she in?”

The levels of irony present in this post are really something!

I remember reading the Ramona books as a little girl and really connecting with:

Ramona had reached the age of demanding accuracy from everyone, even herself. All summer, whenever a grown-up asked what grade she was in, she felt as if she were fibbing when she answered, “third,” because she bad not actually started the third grade. Still, she could not say she was in the second grade since she had finished that grade last June. Grown-ups did not understand that summers were free from grades.

I remember feeling this way! What WAS the proper way to answer? Should one answer, “I just finished second”? Or “I will be entering third”? One of the schools I taught at used the phrase “rising” to describe the group moving from second to third – so, “I am a rising third grader.” These seem lovely, but I continue to learn about how regimented my thinking was as I try to address these same questions for my little one.

L is not “in” a grade. That’s the short answer, but it also sounds pretty grumpy (at least to my ears). People are just trying to categorize her in some way and they don’t know that this question represents more!

Let’s see. There are a variety of answers to this question, none of which actually answer them.

  1. She’s four, so she’s not in any grade. Technically she would be in pre-K/preschool. However, we’re not sending her to school, so… she’s not.
  2. She’s reading Magic Tree House books with fluency and comprehension. Grade level equivalent? 2.2. Now, her fluency and comprehension isn’t perfect, but I do think it’s at least between the 90-94% fluency level Fontas and Pinnell would use to put her at the instructional level. So, in reading, she’s doing second grade work?
  3. She has the fine motor skills of a four-year-old. So, even though she can spell and express complex ideas orally, her “writing” is at a pre-K level.
  4. Mathematically, she flies through the kindergarten level (Common Core aligned) levels of various apps (DreamBox, IXL, TodoMath) and is working at a mid-first-grade level.
  5. Scientifically, she’s working on understanding the concept of dark matter. Seriously. She understands dinosaurs and the Mesozoic Era as a whole at a level far deeper than I do. While she needs help making analogies between abstract concepts and more concrete examples, she understands and questions at quite a high level.

What grade is she in? She’s in pre-K through college-level physics. And she seems pretty darn happy about it. And that makes me happy, too.

Happy little reader

Happy little reader! Reference books are so, so fun. #ForReal