Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Delicate Balancing Act - Parent and Teacher, part two

As a parent we are faced with many challenges as our children grow. The first days they come home we have to figure out their many cues and what different cries mean. We have to figure out how change a diaper without getting peed on (especially if you have a boy or two) and how to burp a child without getting spit-up on. We have to figure out how we balance being a parent, a spouse, housework and for most of us, working a job too! We spend time wondering if we are doing it right, wrong or like most of us, somewhere in-between. Then that magical day comes and we send our first child off to kindergarten and a whole new balancing act begins.

My husband and I had this joyous experience a few months ago when our oldest who will forever be "our baby" boarded the bus that would take her off to kindergarten. I had written in a previous post about my trepidation about doing so and for the most part, that trepidation was unfounded. Her teacher is awesome, she has made friends and genuinely loves going to school.

So while my original reasons for worry were most unfounded, I have found things to worry about that never occurred to me! First, my daughter is smart. Not Sheldon Cooper smart, but smart enough to be reading at an almost second grade level in Kindergarten. This has resulted in her doing first grade ELA in Kindergarten at a time when most of her classmates are still on sight words. This led to issues the first few weeks because she couldn't understand why she was in a reading group with only one other girl while everyone else had reading groups of 5 - 7 students. She felt singled out and got sad. After we explained that she was being challenged and was doing well, she calmed down and felt better about it.

Until they started doing math that being the daughter of a math teacher and an engineer with teachers and engineers as grandparents she is inundated with math in one form or another on a pretty consistent basis. She and her brother will "help" me check papers, "assist" me creating activities, "build" with daddy and so on. As a result, she is also advanced in math. This lead to a great deal of frustration on her part because everything was so easy for her. And her frustration lead to her acting out in class in the form of "helping" her friends do their work which really translates into giving them the answers. Cue another discussion about the difference between helping someone and doing it for them.

On the flipside, while my daughter is advanced on an academic scale she is exactly where she needs to be on a maturity scale. She has difficulty keeping her hands to herself, gets cases of the giggles, forgets to use her inside voice and is the most adorable, wonderful little girl that I love more than any other. She is strong-willed and while that will serve her well someday, it does earn her strikes in school for wanting to do things her own way. She is a unique little girl with a well developed imagination who will be a handful as a teenager. I still haven't figured out how to teach her to temper her impulse to act on the things that cross her mind. I know as a teacher that this can lead to big(ger) problems the older she gets. But, she is five and that ability comes with time. So in the meantime, I'll keep doing the delicate balancing act and hope that it serves all of us well! How do you handle the balancing act?

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