I am struggling with something I had barely thought about when my girls were babies and toddlers: Helping someone navigate the world of school and social interactions when they are completely different from me.
As a child I was quiet and fairly shy, but smart and eager to learn. I now have two daughters who each have some of these traits, but not in the combination I have inside me.
This is untested waters for me. Now that Emma, my eldest, is in grade 5 – and in an unstructured classroom – I’m finding out a lot about her. Like how she’s extremely disorganized (she gets that from both parents) but she can also be completely distracted and unfocused.
I, on the other hand, was always at the front of the class or group, answering questions, soaking in every piece of education I could. Especially in my elementary and high school years. I don’t really know what to do when my daughter is different than me!
What were you like as a student? Do your kids take after you at all?
I am really struggling with letting my girls do their school work their way, and not interfere unless I’m asked.
Elementary school was a breeze for me. In fact I barely remember doing the work at all. High school was also easy – there were a few subjects I remember feeling were “work” but overall I loved school, learning and getting good grades.
As a mom I’m trying really hard not to push my kids too hard, or discourage them by showing them “better” ways to do things. From what I can tell school works differently now than when I was there. (And as I said, I don’t remember elementary school well, but I do remember nothing was much of a struggle for me.)
I’m not tooting my own horn here, but rather expressing how hard it is to let my kids only do the bare minimum, if that’s all they want to do. I trust their grades will reflect their effort, and hopefully that will spur them to try harder!
Emma is Still Learning How to Learn
Emma has struggled with school work for a long time now. At grade 3 we noticed a significant increase in homework – and a corresponding increase in time constraints and stubborn attitudes!
Related: Mom Anxiety – Grade 3 Means More Work!
She’s worked hard with teachers and staff to learn how to learn in the way they want her to. She has an IEP and a personal iPad with programs and apps to help her stay on top of her work. And I think she’s finally understanding how to be functional in the classroom and with homework.
There are still days when she brings homework and does it, but only as much as she thinks she needs to do. One point per item or one sentence per paragraph, math without really showing work, or anything else that I would have written an entire page for! I work very hard to not be negative and make her do more. That is so tough for me!
I’m Learning how to Let her be Herself
In school I was always the kid other kids came to for help. I loved helping people, and honestly I loved the thought that I was smart. Now I realize that understanding algebra really doesn’t make me “smart” in the real world, but it was a nice feeling in high school!
Emma has a very strong memory, and she does love to learn. Her struggle is with output. She knows the material but can’t always express it in a written (or typed) format without more work than her peers. And because of that she struggles through tests and assignments.
The marks she gets do not always reflect her knowledge on a subject because she can’t get all her thoughts out in the time provided. (She does get extra time, but even then sometimes it’s not enough.)
I know she has to learn and grow at her own pace. She’s plenty stubborn and I’m trying not to push too hard or she’ll just shut down. It’s hard for me to see those C’s come home when I know she is at least a B student. (She could get A’s if she learns better time management, how to type correctly, and can manage a little more focus.)
Her life is hers. I will guide her as much as possible. Often pushing only makes her push back, and not in a good way. Stick with me over the years to see how Emma grows (and how I grow along with her) and do chime in if you have experience with a child who’s learning style is so different from your own. I’d love to connect!
I’ve been experiencing Mom Anxiety since I became a mom. Here are a few of my other posts exploring how I felt at different stages of my mom journey:
- It’s Okay Not To Love The Baby Stage
- Grade 3 Means More Work
- Mom Worries and How They Change Over Time
A bit about Rose
I guess I can’t write this big story about Emma without saying something about Rose!
Rose is more like in me in the learning department, but not at all like me in her exuberant lifestyle. She loves to learn, she loves her teachers, and she’s right at grade level for everything. (She’s in grade 2 now!)
Her personality is 100% different from mine: loud and boisterous almost all the time. She loves everyone and makes friends with zero effort.
Rose also feels everything deeply. She had a very teary meltdown on Christmas eve when Elfie Sparkle (our Elf on the Shelf) was leaving for the year. Full blown crying, sobbing, almost hysterics that even the idea that Santa was going to leave her gifts wouldn’t abate.
Despite her strong feelings, Rose also forgives quickly (thank goodness!) She’s a sweetheart and I find joy in her every day. I think she’ll cause me more Mom Anxiety when she’s a teenager and falling for peer pressure all over the place!
Tell me how similar or different are to your children. Do they share your personality, your learning style, or nothing? I think genetics and biology are so interesting!