With Kindergarten registration around the corner for many parents, are you having doubts? Do you question if holding them back a year is the right decision? Read through my thoughts on the topic with my Ask Amanda column with www.mommybites.com!
Ask Amanda is now in its second round of questions!
Take a look at our latest installment by clicking here!
I am thrilled to announce that TheMommaFiles and Mommybites are now featuring an “Ask Amanda” column. Each month I will answer questions from parents eager to know about the latest educational ideas & activities. Take a look at our first question and answer post by clicking here.
Check out my latest article on Mommybites entitled Thinking Outside the “Ice” Box. It is filled with lots of fun filled activities for these cold, winter months that are upon us! Click here for the full article.
Jack’s new phrase is “Give me a break”. I should probably take some of the blame since once, in a joking manner, I told him to say this to his dad. Who would have thought that he would continue to use it (in context I might add) numerous times since.
Though most, if not all, of his new found sassiness is adorable the underlying message is not sassy in the least. Jack is fortunate that in his old age of 3, the extent of academic pressure placed on him consists of singing the alphabet in school and playing computer games to entertain as well as educate.
I spend my days in a far less sassy, entertaining world. I teach in an elementary school. A place where children’s art used to decorate the hallways is now filled with essays and college posters. This is not to say that preparing young ones to go to college is a bad thing and that writing long essays will damage them but where is the school that used to be slightly more carefree and playful?
The picture I paint is not to imply that students are miserable and schools resemble a prison, it is just an image of the growing demands placed not only on the teachers but on their little clients more importantly. Common Core entered fast and furious and so have the responsibilities of educators. The list of “necessities” is a mile long and the expectations of student growth is unrealistic. If adults are even having trouble coping, how do we think the minds and hearts of 7 year old children are dealing?
I am fortunate to have an out of the classroom position. The terms “fortunate” and “out of the classroom position” go hand in hand in teaching. If you are not a teacher, ask one, they will know what I mean. I teach a pull out gifted and talented program to 3rd -4th graders and push-in to 2nd grade classrooms to work with a small group of high ability learners.
I see my 2nd graders for 45 minutes a week and my 3rd-4th students for 1.5 hours a week. In that short time, among the smiles, laughter and jokes (of which they are plenty), I am equally flooded with looks of overwhelming stress, pressure and demands; demands set by themselves, set by pressured teachers and pressured parents.
When your child comes home, give them a break. I beg of you. Yes, there is a pile of homework that is far more than you or I ever received as a child or larger than I gave to my students years ago but is it more important to let them decompress or explode? Do as much of the homework as possible and then let it alone. I know the fear of teachers being upset or giving an incomplete grade is there but they are human. They understand. They are given homework of their own, believe me. I may get hate responses from teachers but I guarantee, in the back of their minds and in the quiet of their own homes, they agree. Schooling and education in general is at a new level that is producing college graduates yes, but burnt out and overwhelmed ones at that.
With winter break upon us, use the time wisely. Take your children to a museum or a play or a concert. Let them sleep a little later. Let them read the same book over and over. Let them relax. Give them time to recharge before the second half of the year and remember why a love of learning is way more important than any grade, test or assessment. Give peace a chance.
This Thanksgiving, other than being grateful for the obvious husband, son, family, friends, I am only grateful for one thing. Myself. With all of my quirky ways, sometimes stoic personality and often direct approach to life, I would not change a thing.
Last year around this time, my life was what you might call chaotic. Lots of drama, lots of tears (most behind closed doors – remember that stoic description), lots of disappointments and not a lot of happiness. It may sound worse when I write it but the point is that I was not in a place where I felt satisfied with my life. A good friend listened and simply said, it will be different in a year, I promise.
I always remember that conversation and now that we are approaching that one year mark, I can gladly tell her she was right. It was anything but an easy year to live through and I doubted her promise over and over but I not only got through it, I am happier and more confident than ever.
The schools I work in are covered in hand made children’s work, stating thanks for family, friends, toys and candy. While it is endearing and heartfelt, the best lesson to teach our children is to be thankful for who they are. We want them to celebrate talents, strengths and accomplishments regularly but on the one day to actually state the thanks out loud, it is never to ourselves. Is this a narcisitic thought? Maybe. But is it the truth? Absolutely.
Have your children not only thank those around him or her but give a special thanks to being who THEY are. Make “I am thankful that I am …” cards and bring them to your holiday celebration. Encourage everyone to do the same and instead of going around the table doling out compliments to everyone and everything else, have guests give themselves a pat on the back. You will be surprised how much children learn from observing. Having a parent, relative or friend speak highly of themselves is the best way to teach a child how to be proud, confident and self assured without being pompous, arrogant or egotistical.
Nothing has to be too deep, just simple and honest. “I am thankful that I am good at sharing”, “I am thankful that I got a great grade on my science quiz”, “I am thankful that I get to feed my cat every day”.
On this day of turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, give yourself and your little ones a large helping of self gratitude. It will make everything else taste extra sweet. Happy Thanksgiving!
Check out my latest article on Mommybites.com – it is the Hot Topic! Click here to read!
TheMommaFiles was mentioned in an article from NYMetroParents article - click here to read!
See who was the Hot Topic of the Week on www.Mommybites.com!
I will never forget her. Sprinting down the street to get to my tutoring client on time, it happened. She stopped me. “I know you never have time to talk to me, but I wanted to let you know my daughter won’t be able to do her homework because she has a dance recital tonight.” Out of breath and watching the bus leave without me, I said, “Sure, no problem.” What I was thinking was, “Couldn’t this information have been communicated through a note or during dismissal 10 minutes ago?”
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I never want to relive childhood, it was traumatizing. Seeing it through Jack’s eyes is close enough for me. However, after a long day of work, commuting and being a mother, sometimes I yearn for that trauma.
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