<<That family won’t be as likely to pressure or invest their energy and hopes and dreams in how a child does in 3rd grade>>
My son Josh (8) was talking the other day about how one event changes the future, sort of sounding anxiously cheerful about how hard things we went through recently led to good things, and he talked about the future as two paths, and a change meaning the path is switched. We had been talking about his teacher telling him he needed to get "happy faces" every day, and I had made a deal that I'd divert money from our tax return toward saving for a VR system for every happy face he could get.
Then I said, the future isn't just two paths, though, it's lots and lots, less like paths, more like big fields and landscapes of possibilities, and he got cheerful again, picking that idea up, and the way minecraft worlds are infinite.
It's been good that even though going to school isn't a choice, he has choices about how he spends his time there. I don't have to partner with the school in punishing him at home, a rough time at school can end when he leaves.
They're sort of lame choices, in his mind, but I'm glad to have a lot of practice partnering with him, and am not just like, "I don't care what you do at school." I want to help him get along as painlessly as he can.
The work isn't important to me, he knows that, we've talked about why the kids have to learn to write and read in school, it's a practical thing for the teachers, and it won't matter in the long run when he learns those things, and whether or not it happens this year.
But I've also suggested he try seeing if time passes faster if he does the work the teacher gives him, and keep encouraging him to see the positives, like seeing new kids and having new, different things to do nearly everyday (he was missing friends we dont see often anymore, and bored a lot at home). Most of his time is still spent at home.
And my middle child, who my in laws have been most worried about, is getting along really well in his class. The teacher is cool, and told the parents to keep things like how to do math problems the way they learned how "a secret," as a way of encouraging parents to let the kids discover more of how numbers work without that yet. He also told parents not to worry if their kids can't read by the end of the year, they won't be "behind" and not all kids learn to read at the same time. That was nice.
Thanks for all the years of help and encouragement and good, thought-provoking discussion. The level of critical analysis in this discussion and always learning is more sophisticated, clear, and useful than the critical analysis in my graduate level literature classes. :) They've really helped me be a better parent and person.
On my hardest day back in spring, the lowest low point in my morale, I came out of feeling sad and sorry for myself and defeated, remembering suddenly Josh had wanted to bounce a ball down stairs (had been upset about where we live and its limits), and getting up, getting a ball, and taking Josh outside to a set of stairs. We played for awhile, both of us got to laughing hard. The next day we went to a playground with bleachers and played it again. He'd been upset we had no yard and no garden, we started a container garden. And each day, bit by bit, my days got better.
I'd had so much practice thinking about what I could do to meet my family's needs, that it's become a natural part of how my mind works now. Even at what felt like the bottom of a deep pit, I could think of it as a wishing well instead, and I was there picking up the coins and seeing what I could do about them as I worked my way back up.
Alex said this stuff is life changing. It really is.