“I have a 9 year old daughter whose first day of 3rd grade was today and it appears we have “the mean teacher”. I’m thinking of going to see the principal, the teacher, and maybe trying to get her moved into another class. But what can I do if that doesn’t work? Only 179 more days to go. Ugh.”
Sound familiar? It can be agonising trying to work out how to help our child through tough times with their teachers. In situations like this we need to be our children’s advocate. And we also need to keep our focus on building and repairing relationships – with the school and the teacher, and with our children. Around issues to do with school, there are things we can, and things we cannot control. And the place we have real power and influence is in our relationship with our children. Continue reading
An Old School Building by Madeleine Winter
If summer is drawing to a close (as it is in the Northern Hemisphere) you may be starting to think about the start of school. Or here in Australia, you might be preparing for your child to start school in the New Year. For some, it is a return to something known and understood. But for those of us beginning school for the first time, it’s a big deal. And I mean for the big people as well as the little ones.
Who’s Starting School?
Often, as we prepare our families for the start of school, our attention is on the children. Will they be upset when I have to leave? Will they make friends? Will they know what they need to know? Will they learn well?
However, I’d like to start with the focus on us parents. I have not met many parents whose children are starting school who feel entirely calm and relaxed about it. For many of us, school brings up a lot of feelings. After all, we spent a lot of years there. Some of it was good, but some of it was hard. Most of us have not had a chance to talk much about those experiences. And some of us would rather not. Continue reading
School has settled in and I am finding myself having conversations with other parents about homework. It is a huge issue for many children and their families.
The Problem: Sometimes, children come to homework happy to do it and keen to share what they are learning with us. However, many children regard homework as an unwelcome chore after a long day at school. If there is not unpleasantness and fighting about getting down to it, then once they start, it often seems to bring up big feelings.
And you? You are trying to get the dinner on, the baby bathed, and get your head around the maths problems your child is working on. You feel confused and unsure how to help, and before long, your child has exploded into yelling, tears and pencil throwing.
Get in touch with the teachers: If homework is a problem in your house, it is important to go and see your child’s teacher and see if there is something that can be done to help. Teachers generally welcome feedback on how it is going at home, and it may be that they can help find ways of doing the work which will make learning easier for your child. But in the end, you will probably find yourself having to deal with at least some homework coming home.
What is homework good for? There are many issues raised by homework which I won’t go into here except to say that few of the claims that are made for homework are well supported by research.*1 But I can tell you one thing homework is good for: upsets. Continue reading
The end of holidays and start of school can be a stressful time. We grown-ups might be looking forward to a bit less time spent parenting, but our children are likely to be having feelings about leaving us, and about starting something new. Go gently over the next few weeks! And good luck!
‘Who Is Starting School???” Parenting by Connection January 2015 Newsletter