Oh the parenting, education woes are beginning. So many decisions. Are we making the right ones? What is best? How do we meet the homework/learning demands for each child? What about family time? That’s important to, right? Which school? When to start kindergarten? And then what about plain ole’ kid time? Each deserves time to just be them, a kid.
Our oldest, almost 7, loves school. Every part of it. His favorite subject, math, is usually his main love at school. Followed closely by PE, Art, and Computers. Until entering 1st grade, writing was his passion. He would spend evenings in his room writing imaginative stories about life, toys, or a tangle of both. That journal went everywhere! Now in first grade, he has a baggie book each night, spelling words to review, and his math home links. Some nights, the more successful ones, we accomplish all. Others, baggie book is it. With our educational background, we want our children to do their best, love learning, and nurture who they are inside. Our struggle is finding that happy balance.
Recently our morning was filled with tears. My son’s, mine, we were all upset. It was the day of a spelling test and as of that morning he had 10 of 15 words nailed down. The others, hit or miss. While reviewing over cornflakes, he states, “I know 10, that’s good”. Yes, it is good, we responded but we want you to do your best. Never have we expressed perfection. As Morrie Schwartz said in Tuesdays with Morrie, “What’s wrong with being number 2?” Nothing is wrong with number 2, as long as you did your best and not give up or walk away with a “that’s good enough” attitude. He spent the remainder of before school time frustrated, we spent it upset. How do we best juggle our lives to give him more review time?
My dear husband and I educate high school students everyday, full time. After school is family time or at least we try. On a normal, non-event night, we get just 3 hours to feed, bathe, play, read, and enjoy. That is 3 children vying for 3 hours, with 2 parents, at least 1/2 an hour of 1st grade homework, preschool work, toddler play, dog walking, family dinner time, bedtime snack/bath, and just plain life. Sprinkled in this tie dye, is Latvian homework and learning. Most nights I juggle the scarves, but most hang precariously in the air before crashing back down.
I love education and know what an important role it plays in future endeavors. However, creative, imaginative play is equally vital. M builds puppets and stages, writes plays, pours over History books, or creates Lego masterpieces not found in books. At 4, E is our interpretive dancer or role play queen. During our typical work week, time for being a kid is hard to find. That breaks my heart.
Please do not get me wrong, I deeply respect our education system and want our children to be the best “——-” that they can be. Education is so much more than reading, writing and arithmetic! Self-discipline for homework is equally important. And no, I am not advocating homeschooling. That is a can of worms and a debate not for this time. One that I am not ready to address. Simply, I am trying to carve out kid time and squeeze in little family moments.
I am struggling with finding a balance, a happy median. Suggestions? What works for your family?