Parenting: Third Grade Blues

Munch is in the third grade and sometimes I feel like I’m struggling to make sure that my son is successful. Not just now but in the future. I’m trying to build a strong foundation with everything, especially math. Munch is a boy. Munch is lazy. Munch decides that he will answer what he feels like when he feels like it. Especially during assessments, quizzes or tests. If he’s not interested, he could care less.

Yep, this year has proven to be a difficult one. Multiple meetings with the teachers, emails and phone calls have all made me have to manage not just my employees but my son’s education and my son’s learning. Some days I think that I can’t do this. That I’m not cut out for this. That something has to give.

I experience the entire gamut of emotions from frustration to depression to joy at him doing something. It’s heartbreaking and hilarious. I just keep telling myself that I can’t give up. That I can’t stop pushing him, encouraging him and creating opportunities for growth. It’s exhausting.

Add to that Spring soccer, his birthday party and swim classes and you will see that I’m trying to keep him well rounded. The only saving grace is that I allow Munch to lead his scheduled activities. We do what he wants to do. He only wants to do soccer in the spring, guitar lessons and swim class. No more he says.

Okay.

However, third grade is tough. Although he’s made honor roll for the last two quarters and is on track to make honor roll this third quarter, it’s a continuous battle to make sure that he stays focused. Focus on school work. Focus on math. I’m constantly reminding him that every concept will build on the next. Reminding him that he knows it. His math grades have been adjusted because our district doesn’t allow children in grades 2-5 to fail math so he gets at least a 60.

Umm, I’m not sure how I feel about that. So, I spend extra time on math homework. Going over the multiplication table, giving extra work to build on what he’s learning in school. “Everything has a purpose Munch” is what I tell him. Sometimes he gets it. Other times he looks at me like I’m wasting his time.

Boys are hard is what I’m told. It doesn’t reassure me. I feel like I’m failing him. I asked him “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He said “A scientist.” I smiled. “Science and math go hand in hand Munch. You need to understand math and its concepts to fully understand and grasp math.”

It’s the third quarter – third grade blues I’m sure, but I can’t give up on him. I’m invested in his future. I’m investing in him. I signed him up for a STEM camp with NSBE this summer. It’s a 3 week camp. Not sure how we’ll get him to and from during the 8:30 am to 3:30 pm hours, but he likes STEM. It’s FREE so it needs to happen.

Sometimes it feels like we’ll never get through it. That my life until he graduates from high school and maybe when he goes to college is all about making sure he’s focused and doing what he’s supposed to do. When will he take the bulls by the horn and want to do it on his own?

He’s been asking to go to a regular school (non French Immersion school). He doesn’t want to continue in French. His grades are great. He just doesn’t want to learn French anymore. He wants to learn in English. Should I listen to him?

 

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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First Day of School

Today is Munch’s first day of school. He’s at a new school and I have to tell you that I was so nervous this morning. He was scheduled to ride the school bus for the first time ever. However, it didn’t show up. Apparently that is expected on the first day. Ugh! I drove him to school and had a harried morning where I tried to see if any movement has been made on the before and after care front. At this point no. So, it’s the school bus and schedule adjustments until we get him enrolled in Before and Aftercare.

I did get to meet his teacher and I liked the classroom layout. Nice desks and smart boards. The school is pretty huge. Lots of windows. The staff was very friendly and I truly felt that they were happy to see both the parents and children. That was awesome.

His dad is going to head to the school to confirm he gets on the right school bus and my mom will be there waiting for him to get off the bus. I’m praying that everything goes well. I was frazzled and stressed out this morning with the bus not showing up and trying to get the child care situation coordinated. When I left the school my car was having trouble accelerating and then I heard a loud sort of metallic noise. I drove into the gas station and asked the mechanic to please look at my car. Guess what it was? My parking brake was on. No light warned me though. I felt like an idiot. The mechanic didn’t laugh (even though I’m sure he wanted to). I need a drink.

I made sure to fix him a hot breakfast before he went to school and I packed his lunch complete with a first day note wishing him well.  My mom said that I packed him too much food that he will be an easy target for the lunch bullies. LOL. I just wanted to make sure that he had enough food for both lunch and snack.

Well, that’s my drama. Summer’s gone by fast and my Munch is now in the third grade. Here’s to a successful school year for both parents and children of returning students!

My Kid is Averge

That’s what I was thinking as I scrolled through my timeline on FaceBook last month.  So many of my friends had children that were exceptional. Awards for playing the cello, straight A’s, mastering martial arts and winning the Presidential Award just to name a few.

But, my Munch.

Well my Munch didn’t get any of those awards this year, heck for the last three years if we’re being honest. Does it matter to me? Nope.

Here’s why I’m okay with the fact that my kid is average:

  1. He lives in his own world. One where he still does a lot of self-play and discovers ways to ask interesting questions about things he sees on YouTube or Disney Jr. He’s inquisitive but has the ability to play well by himself. He asks questions all the time that he knows the answer too which is hilarious, but if he doesn’t know, we look it up. I like that.
  2. He’s finding his own rhythm. This school year has been one of emotional ups and downs for me as a parent. With knowing that my kid is feeling left out and being bullied to him trying to find his niche, I realized that I need to create more opportunities to just let him be. Being there when he wants and needs, but making sure not to hover.
  3. He doesn’t care if he moves to the next level or not. He didn’t test at all this school year for a new belt with Tae Kwan Do. He stayed the same level for a year. Was I disappointed? Yes, but I’ve come to realize that I probably need to change the game and do more things that he’s interested in. Figure out what he likes/doesn’t like and try to adjust. Heck, he’s repeating Level 3 swimming for the fifth time. Ugh! Thankfully there are only 6 levels in total, but I’m heeding the advice of Mr. C and giving it a break for now. He knows how to swim, so why am I stressing myself out?
  4. He likes to chill. Yes, it’s true. My son would rather sit at home and chill and draw Sonic characters for hours on end than go out and run errands, go to the playground or go to a friend’s house. He prefers to sit at home and chill. Yes, I still force him to go outside and learn things (we’re working on how to ride a bike this summer) but I have to respect the fact that he wants/craves downtime.
  5. He likes soccer and that’s good enough for me. Munch found out that he likes soccer and although he hates to run/workout he likes kicking the ball, meeting team mates and playing in the games. He’s an average player and I’m good with that.

I realized that I put a lot of pressure on myself to make sure that my child is somehow this black prodigy, but why? Why am I trying to create or force something that he’s not ready or willing to take on?

He just wants to exist. Yes, he’s average, but he’s exceptional in being average. He speaks French fluently, can draw artistically and can sing. He wants to learn to play the guitar and we’re going to buy some art supplies this weekend. I guess the key phrase is that “he wants” to do it. I guess in the end that’s all that matters because I want him to be great in his averageness.