School hasn't always been easy, and I'm not talking about my experience as a student. As a mom, I admit that school hasn't always been easy.
As a recovering perfectionist and lover of learning, I've had to learn some very difficult lessons about my children's education. As my eldest gears up to begin 5th grade and my youngest takes the leap into kindergarten, I owe it to myself as well as my children to resolve to make this year the best school year yet.
Step back: It wasn't until Boy Wonder reached 3rd grade that I realized I'd failed him in a very profound way. I'd sat right by his side every single night of kindergarten through 2nd grade, helping and guiding him at the slightest academic frustration. Once he reached 3rd grade and was expected to follow directions and learn independently, he was not prepared for the challenge. No longer will I jump at the slightest struggle, but rather, assist my kids only after I've seen them put in the personal effort required to come to some sort of a solution.
It's not about the grades: While every parent would love nothing more than their child to receive high marks, grades alone are not indicators of intelligence. All we can ever expect from our children is their personal best, no matter the grade outcome.
The power of positivity: I'm famous for letting my own insecurities about math get in the way of my support. The day my son told me, "Mom, I'm just not good at math - like you," I knew I'd said too much. He had no reason to know how badly I sucked at math other than the fact that I told him - repeatedly. No matter my personal history with math, I will approach the subject positivity and with a can-do attitude.
Keep my opinions to myself: It's unreasonable for parents to expect a love connection with every teacher. Regardless of the teacher, or the teacher's methods, I will shield my child from my personal opinions and address any personal concerns with the teacher directly.
It is my sincere hope that the tears and frustrations my eldest and I have shared over his first five years of elementary school were not in vain. May the difficult lessons, which have now evolved into back to school resolutions, help remind me of the value of a practical approach to education.
Education is more than homework assignments and state tests; it's about trying and failing, learning and growing, questioning and problem-solving. If we can give our kids the opportunity to learn the life lessons behind the academics, I'd say they learned an awful lot.
Do you have any back to school resolutions?
Mommyfriend goes by Lori Garcia in real life and is a Shine Parenting Guru. She writes at www.mommyfriend.com where she's busy finding perfection in imperfection daily. When she's not watching infomercials she's a blogger for Babble's Stollerderby, Babble's Kid Scoop, and one of the sexy founders of Project Marriage.