Giving in to Groundhog Day

Carla is the Founder and Director of Learning MATTERS Ltd. Carla has been a successful school Principal, Mathematics Advisor and Classroom teacher.
Carla McNeil

One week back into the school year and I am FREAKING out. Oh yes, Groundhog (not Waitangi) day has hit me hard this week. I am there where you are, you may be, or have been if you are a parent of a child with a learning difference. Sleepless nights, feeling anxious and worrying about so many aspects of my son’s school year. How did this creep up on me like this? How have I let myself feel like this? Ahhh. I thought I had all my ducks in a row and had not only prepared him but myself (just as important by the way) for this year.

2018 is a biggie for us — NCEA level 1. We are here, “shit just got real” and I think it is this that has hit me so hard. I feel like I am on a very fast countdown to the end of his school years and that I have to ensure that he has all the skills (social, academic and emotional) intact before leaving school. Whoa, no pressure.

Ok so here’s the thing…. this is where I talk to myself as if I were coaching one of you through this. I have created this little checklist for myself to determine where my sore points are, and to assist me in determining my next steps.

Do I feel connected to school? YES
Have I had sufficient communication to ensure I can support him? NO
Have I organised for the continuation of his external support and will the timing of this work with school and sports? NO
Are we working towards a realistic homework plan including how these expectations will be communicated? NO
Have I shared my angst with my husband? YES

I HAVE IT …..My actions have now become clear

  1. I need to reconnect to school I am feeling a little on the outer. I thought I had this, but, obviously not. Ok, yes, maybe I am a control freak. Well, actually, not so much. I just know being informed and having understanding helps me to sleep at night.
  2. Sports practice nights have thrown a spanner in the works for his explicit support sessions in MSL and maths. So we had a chat last night and have come up with a possible solution for this.

The external support sessions and relationship with the school have the greatest benefits for us all. Ensuring we are all on the same page and that we are providing a mix of explicit teaching and content-based school curriculum is what works so well. This assists us to ensure we have achieved our intent as parents, provided the best support possible and also relieves the pressure of the time trap I eluded to earlier.

As parents, we are and will always be our child’s biggest and most informed advocate. It is bloody difficult. These tips from the UNDERSTOOD.org link below are simple yet effective. I hope you have been able to gain some clarity and connection at the start of this school year.

Carla is the Founder and Director of Learning MATTERS Ltd. Carla has been a successful school Principal, Mathematics Advisor and Classroom teacher.

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