In October I mentioned that LMG has been having some struggles in school, and we agreed to allow her school to test her for a learning disability(s). In December we met to discuss the result of those tests, and they all came back negative, which is a big relief. However, that does not change the fact that she really struggles in certain subject areas, particularly math. We will have to buckle down and continue to try to find ways that work best for her.
In a nutshell, she is young for her grade–one of the youngest in her class–and at her age months really DO matter a great deal developmentally.This is one of those times I wish we would have had a crystal ball and could have foreseen these struggles… perhaps we should have waited and let her start kindergarten when she turned six instead of five. But we didn’t know…
I know that she will be fine in the long run. Okay, let me rephrase that to be more honest: I believe, and I hope and pray, that she will be okay in the long run. But in my mind, part of being okay is for her to have a positive school experience… I want very much for her to like school. I hate that she has to struggle so much at the beginning of the school year just to barely keep up with what the other kids are able to do. It shakes her confidence. John and I can see it, and we are always looking for ways to build up her self esteem and to stave off discouragement. And to be perfectly honest, that all sounds nice, but it is not an easy thing to do, day in and day out, when it takes an hour (sometimes longer) just to do five or six math problems (Not to mention reading and spelling homework. Next year science and social studies will be added into the homework mix.).
I struggle to find that careful balance in the messages I send her about school. As a teacher I know how important these early years of school are, but as a mother I don’t think it’s wise to let academics be all-consuming either. On one hand, I want her to know how important school is so that she will take it seriously and put in a good effort. The past couple of weeks she has been very resistant to making a good effort, and that concerns me because that is what she has to do in order to get okay grades. Some kids don’t have to try all that hard to get very good grades. LMG is not one of them… at least not yet. On the other hand, I don’t want to send the message that school is so important that her struggles are a reflection upon her and how she should feel about herself.
It’s a complicated balance… and sometimes I think it’s better to balance it one day at a time. To set the tone according to what she needs that day rather than to repeat the same “right thing to say” about effort and school over and over. I just hope that I’m not wrong about my approach. I hope we’re doing the right things for her. I just want to do what’s best for her.
Anybody got a crystal ball I can borrow?