Beginning of School Status Report

This school year is like a new pair of shoes which I can tell are going to be excellent, but are still pinching and causing blisters because I haven’t yet finished the break-in period. I’ve internalized all the check-points: drop-offs, pick-ups, breakfast, dinner, homework hours. I haven’t missed any yet, but I’m still counting carefully to make sure that I don’t. The rhythm doesn’t flow yet. Did I just change from one simile into a different metaphor in the space of two sentences? Why yes I did. I’m to tired to fix it. Sorry.

One of my regular tasks this week, one which will become less onerous as we adapt, is regular checks into how Patch and Gleek are adapting to their new school. I ask leading questions about recess, kids in class, and happenings. When a name comes up, I try to remember it so that I can ask about that person again. All of this is prodding for trouble spots, pockets of suppressed emotion. So far I haven’t found any. Patch admits to missing his old school, but the specifics are mundane and he relates them in a very calm voice. He doesn’t yet seem to have any particular friends in his class, but we’re barely in the second week.

Gleek has many emotions, mostly expressed as anger. She’ll walk up to the car with scowling eyebrows and I casually ask questions until I can ferret out the reason. Thus far all her real worries have been based in fear that she won’t be able to keep up with the homework load. It is a reasonable fear, but one we have lots of power to address. Fortunately for Gleek, I have learn something from Kiki’s adventures in an academic program. During Kiki’s soujourn I was trying to figure out whether fifth grade was when I should start letting my kids keep track of their own homework. I knew homework management was a skill they would need. Hindsight says that 7th grade is much better for this. Locally 7th grade is very light on homework, making it ideal for kids to learn to manage their own work. It is such a relief for me to just organize everything instead of having to hover without touching. Gleek does all her work, but I tell her which work and when. I make sure that the work ends up in the back pack. This is perfect, because it gives me a sense of control and relieves Gleek’s stress because she has clear parameters for her responsibilities. It is also a sharp contrast with my older two kids, whose homework I rarely pay any attention to.

Link decided to opt out of a scout merit badge pow wow. I am glad. Just now I don’t want to do anything which will upset the balance we are trying to create. I’m trying to establish normal, not tackle new things. I still haven’t caught up on all the laundry from before our trip. There are still suitcases in our front room. A glance out my window shows me gardening tasks yet to be done. And then there are dozens of small organizing and cleaning projects around the house. Also I’ve got to figure out how to fit Family Home Evening, and kid chores back into the schedule. There is time for them, the necessary emotional energy has been lacking.

Over all, things are good. I can see that we’re headed toward calmer days.

2 thoughts on “Beginning of School Status Report”

  1. I wish my mom would have been that helpful when it came to homework. It might have helped me a lot. I wound up messing up school usually merely out of boredom. I didn’t see why I had to do all this work when I already knew the subject, especially basic math. I almost got held back because of that in 6th grade. My mother never really helped me or gave me much structure in that extent. To be quite honest, a lot of things never happened that could have and I hope to learn from that when I’m a father. How is it you came across doing this for your kids? I ask out of curiosity because it seems like great planning, and most planning has one basic starting point.

    1. The homework structures I provide are based on the ones that my mother provided for my siblings and me. I have several sibs who struggled with school and so my mother would sit and guard us to make sure the work got done. There is a tricky balance between providing structure which allows a child to grow and providing so much structure that the kids don’t have to grow. I’m more likely to err on the side of doing too much.

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