Is your child falling off the "Curriculum Ship?"

The Curriculum Ship leaves the dock in early September and keeps going forward until middle to late June, arriving at port somewhere on the other side of the ocean. This is not a ship that slows down, even if some of its passengers are tumbling into the ocean.

No, the ship must forge ahead.

Cara, age 9, is barely treading water while she is watching the ship leave her behind. Upset by what is happening in school, Cara’s mom said, "This week they are reading science stories about photosynthesis. Photosynthesis!!!! She can’t read or pronounce the word! She has no idea what’s going on. The teacher handed back Cara’s worksheet packet all marked up as wrong."

Looking at the sheets, I could feel that little bit of my blood pressure rising. Along with words like "photosynthesis" there were many other words on the page that Cara could not read on her own.

"She can’t handle these," I told the mom, "many of these words are far beyond her ability."

"I know," she said. "These took her two hours to complete last night, and she still got an F on the page, along with one of those unhappy faces at the top of the page. Can you imagine?"

"It’s the Curriculum Ship," I tell her. "The message is swim harder if you want to keep up with the ship. No support."

Tough waters, indeed.

Do whatever you can to keep your child afloat, even if he/she is being tugged along in a life preserver. The Curriculum Ship doesn’t bother to consider what passengers have fallen off and need rescuing. It must get to the other side. That is its mission.