Tuesday, September 27, 2011

School: Year 5

K is now in third grade, M in second. And, my G-d, how they have grown. I joked yesterday that maybe the adoption agency gave us an upgrade.

Neither child argues when it's time for homework.
Both children can read independently (though M could use more practice aloud).
Both children wake up in time for school (M doesn't go back to sleep!).
Both children finish their morning chores so quickly that they have 20 minutes to play.
Both children are reasonable human beings at the end of the school day.
Neither child has yet broken his or her glasses.

I'm told that these years are the parenting "sweet spot" when one's children have the skills to be physically easy to care for but aren't yet caught up in the emotional difficulties of adolescence. I believe it. Peter and I are parenting now, I think, more to support their general growth than to teach them concepts like "this is how to behave in a family" and "we are a family forever."

"General growth"? What's that?

Academic: Making sure they understand that school is their job and they must take pride in it. They must do their best work with minimal adult help and take whatever consequences follow.

Para-academic: Helping them manage time (including letting them make bad choices), teaching them how to keep track of assignments and belongings (including letting some get lost or forgotten)

Physical: Keeping a strict and early bedtime, offering a variety of healthy food choices, providing lots of opportunity for physical activity, limiting screen time (TV & computer time), making sure they have at least some clothes they haven't outgrown since last week

Social: Making suggestions, when asked, about how to cope with difficult classmates, but not intervening; providing venues for social interaction outside school--some supervised, some not

Spiritual: Continuing to practice and discuss our religion, maintaining a presence at the synagogue, supporting religious schooling as much as secular

Emotional: Listening, cuddling, stopping whatever we're doing to make eye contact, giving spontaneous and heartfelt praise; meting out thoughtful discipline when needed

So far, it's a good year for M & K.

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