While the world was a-glow last evening (see above photo), my boy was in the house making a last-ditch effort for extra credit in Language Arts.  Today being the last day of school, this was about as “last-ditch” as the effort could get.

He did a report on China and although we know his oral presentation was an A, and we assume his written work will get a good grade as well, we haven’t seen the actual grade yet.  So the opportunity to earn a little extra credit by making a recipe from the country you wrote about offered J a bit of extra assurance of success on the project as a whole.  Consequently, last night much effort went into making his favorite Chinese food – Crab RangoonAll by himself I might add.  And it turned out pretty darn well too.

The opportunity for extra credit is an interesting one for us.  Especially since there was little or no opportunity for extra credit at his old school so the concept is pretty new to us.

Now at the new school extra credit is a matter of course for all students – you elect to do it or not, but the opportunities are built-in for all.  For J, this is a good and reassuring thing because he does sometimes need an opportunity to accommodate a slip-up (or two or ten).

I think the old school would say this just encourages kids to not give their best effort on the actual assignment. 

Hmmm, maybe in theory I guess.  But you know what old school?  I have two responses to that:  First, I think extra credit is actually a demonstration of grace and an acknowledgement that we don’t all get it right on the first tryAnd an extension of hope for my boy who really does want to do well, but struggles to have it all together yet.  And aren’t we supposed to offer grace and encouragement, especially to those who are young and learning?  I think that might be Biblical.

Second, sometimes you give your best effort and still wish you had an opportunity to improve things a bit – in other words, best effort does not equal perfection for most folks.  Extra credit allows for imperfection and allows one to demonstrate a willing heart to engage in the work even if the work turns out to have some flaws.

Thank God we have a place where it is safe to be less than perfect on the first try, and they value the heart of a child who wants to try.

Categories: Daily life, Faith, J | 8 Comments

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  1. Beth Ann

    I love your viewpoint Susan Beth! And sometimes we need to give the grace of another try to ourselves too. Lovely post.

  2. Good for your son for going for the extra credit – I wish the kids had more opportunities to do that in high school (locally) because everyone could use extra grade insurance .

  3. Love the pretty landscape. Stand by your boy and help him, encourage him, have faith in him, tell him you believe in him, and push him to do “his” best. When he is grown you will be so glad you did. As a mom of 2 grown sons I know that not everyone learns the same. One of mine learned easily and independently. The other one had to be led, or pushed, or pulled all the way….. at times I literally had to sit beside him or make him do his algebra on a dry erase board as I watched (we homeschooled) but they both turned out fine and only scored a couple points different on their act test.

  4. Ah . . . extra credit . . . How I remember those days! Not that long ago, really . . . I have a child who, at a very young age, figured out the formula for getting A’s . . . He always did extra credit. He has a 3.83 GPA in college and will probably graduate Magna Cum Laude. I have another child who, at a very young age, figured out the minimum he needed to do to get by . . . I worried over this last child a lot . . . He never did extra credit. He now has a 3.5 GPA in college and is doing just fine. I think extra credit is great . . . as long as the child doesn’t feel pressured to do it.

  5. Totally wish they would do extra credit for our kids here. I love that he jumped in 😉 and made yummy food! In fact I wish my college professors would let me get extra credit for making food 🙂

  6. I love that the extra credit is something “creative” like cooking. I hope he enjoyed the process!

  7. Extra credit that involves food will always win in my book! 🙂 Love the photos of him in the kitchen, they will be fun to look back on a few years down the road.

  8. Celine

    What a great way to earn extra credit!

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