On our way home from vacation yesterday, I was creating lists in my head about all of the things (both personally & professionally) that should be done. One of the biggest things on my mind is preparing my son for school.
July was amazing! There was a leisurely pace and days filled with enjoyable activities. My son loved the one on one attention and seemed to grow a bit taller each time he proudly shared a project. We did a bit of math and 30+ minutes of reading each day, but it still allowed for lots of time for interesting conversations and fun!
With a flip of the calendar it is August. My anxiety rises as I look at the new month (already filled with back to school responsibilities) and I already miss July. School will be here in no time and it seems irresponsible to let this freedom continue and then have it abruptly sucked away on August 30th.
Despite the fact that my son is highly gifted, school is exhausting! Finding his way through the social games & trying to adjust to the amount of sensory hitting him from everywhere, takes so much out of him! The academics don’t just bore him, he finds it meaningless. This is devastating to hear as a parent and is discouraging as an educator. My 7 yrs old boy already believes that school is not for him. In a way, he’s right.
He doesn’t understand the need to do something more than once.
He is confused by the idea of “review.”
He is annoyed when he is asked to do something one way when he sees an easier way to complete the task.
We are consistently told that he “doesn’t put effort into the lessons.” Which is really the problem, isn’t it? There wasn’t work that required effort.
Every couple of days, he asks me how many days until school. This question isn’t asked with enthusiasm and a smile. Instead, it is asked with a voice filled with dread. I tell him that it will be better this year…even though I’m not sure. I try to explain that school is his job. Then he asks me about adults that quit their jobs because they hate it and don’t want to spend long days doing something that they find meaningless. Sigh…he has a point! Discussions like this one reminds us that his school has one more chance to get it right. He should not be bored one more year.
A teacher that understands 2e kids and that doesn’t question if he is (or isn’t) gifted
Curriculum that seems to have purpose and interest
Support with social skills and using infractions as teaching moments instead of punishment
A staff that allows a fresh start
I get nervous (really nervous) at the thought of it all. Should I purchase workbooks and establish part of the day as “school practice” forcing him to sit still instead of moving? So I make a compromise with the practical side of me and the “wish it was more like” side of me. The majority of August days will still have a slower pace and choice; however, we will begin to solve some of the expected paper/pencil math sheets and do the “tell me about yourself” writing.
The reality is…that we all have to do things that we don’t particularly want to do. Parts of my job are hard and tedious, but still needed. Whether it is good or bad, I believe that most people have the same feelings about their daily grind. At what point, do we decide that it is too much? Do we look for a balance or a percentage of good vs terrible? When does a circumstance become offensive enough that we decide to change it?
I’m sure that these questions and concerns are not unique to my family or son. School needs to be educating not just containing. It has to spark interest and a love of learning instead of a jump-through-the-hoop-conformity-rules experience. So I ask you…how do you assure that your child’s school experience is meaningful? This interested Mama is seeking the answers! 🙂