When the half-year report cards came out in February--yes, Hannah is only notified of her grades twice during a 10-1/2-month school year!--John and I were shocked to see that Hannah had officially been labeled as being in danger of failing the year. Most of her grades were ok in a but-we-know-she-could-have-done-better way, but she was failing two classes that are key to determining if she passes the year.
At that point, we talked to her teachers and discovered that it wasn't just the fact that she wasn't putting in enough study time that was likely to doom her to repeating the year or even to changing schools, but that her attitude to school was so bad that it had become a block for her. This led to several come-to-Jesus type talks with her and her enrollment 3 days a week at a tutoring center. I have also been working with her on those 2 subjects to make sure she is getting in enough repetition to make it all stick.
I am thrilled to say that it seems to be working. She has a much better attitude to studying, homework, and tutoring than I foresaw, and her homeroom teacher has verified that it is carrying over into the classroom. (Perhaps not in math, but I've met her math teacher and can't say that I blame her.)
Best of all, Hannah herself is able to see the results of all this hard work: she has gotten a B on each of the last 5 Latin vocabulary quizzes (a B+ even on the last one!), and an A on her English vocabulary quiz. Here she is with the proof of her diligence, in the place of honor (which is also the only place in our apartment where magnets will stick):
I'll admit that I'm not above giving her the occasional treat--so far, just a set of Star Wars patches--but I make sure not to give them to her after she brings home a good grade; that should be a reward in and of itself. Instead, I gave them to her on a day when she had worked really hard and had not complained about all the work I had given her. That's the behavior I am trying to encourage.
Last week, Hannah's physics class took the rockets they had built down to the fields by the river and had a contest to see which group's rocket would fly the highest. Regional media sent a camera man, and a picture of Hannah's group "tinkering" (at the camera man's suggestion) with their rocket made it into the paper. (Unfortunately, the scan came out very grainy, and I couldn't find the article online, so no picture here.) Hannah pointed out that there was a quote in the article from a boy in a different class (or a different school?) predicting that his group's rocket would go much further than the girls'. Haha, boy, the joke's on you, because Hannah's group--3 girls and a boy--got second place! Here's Hannah with her rocket and a few goodies she received as part of her prize:
She just got home and was telling me about her hands-on chemistry experiment in class today, and not once did she sound or say something sarcastic. Once she finishes her lunch, we'll be hitting the books. There's a lot to get caught up on between now and the last 3 tests in the 2 classes she's failing, but I am feeling a lot more sanguine about it now than I was a mere 6 weeks ago.