Three ways to supervise your school going child

Our children spend the major part of their day in school under the supervision and guidance of educators. The general assumption we tend to make, is that they are being taught – but how, by whom and what are they being taught- is a question that few can answer honestly.

Being a teaching mom has some advantages and warrants my opinion on a personal and professional level. This is what I try to do on a daily basis with my children because of what I learned over the years. I have seen a vast array of parents from the overly involved to the least concerned. This is by no means an indictment on any parent, because we all have valid reasons for doing what we are doing or not!

The three things I do with my children on a daily basis.
1. Ask about their schoolday.
This is generally an opportunity to encourage communication and get valuable information. It gives them a chance to be heard. Classrooms can get very noisy and busy, and teachers don’t always have the time to give individual attention to each child. The possibility of playing by truant also gets dealt before rearing its head. You get insight into your child’s perception of what constitutes as the ‘best day of school’ other than the ‘last day of school’.

2. Unpack their school bags
Remove everything from their bags. Eliminate the element of surprise by being one step ahead. The purpose is to be vigilant about 3 things – unauthorised items; unreported homework assignments/official notifications and/or anything that raises the red flag. This is the surest method for being on the ball in terms of whether your kid is getting up to mischief or even  playing parents and teachers,up against each other.

3. Assist with homework.
This is a task often left to the child/tutor/aftercare teachers. Parental supervision or just regular checks keeps you  in the loop with regards to possible problem areas – difficulty with a subject; a strained relationship between the teacher and your child; a learning barrier; and any other challenge you pick up from your child’s understanding of the subject. Write letters to the teacher regarding your concerns and establish a parent-teacher relationship.

These three things could be the ones saving parents from unwanted trouble involving their children and their school time. It can all be done in 30+ minutes thrice a week –  but save you a lot of time in losing working hours to attend one-on-one meetings with teachers to discuss issues involving your child.

No parent is perfect, but a little effort can go a long way!

     

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Unapologetic Mom

Love is a powerful emotion, it is such that you will do things beyond your own expectations. This I learn daily whilst raising my three children. 
When your child is born; bonding and showering them with love , is the most fulfilling and indescribable act through which love is shown by a mother. It is the most amazing and rewarding stage of mothering. As our young ones grow, so does the demands of motherhood and the more offspring you have, the greater the demand. Having more than one child does not mean you are neglecting any of your children, you merely get to share your fabulosity with more people!
The past year I had to shift my parenting gears big time! My eldest is a pre-teen, at 12. My middle child, a 9 year old boy; and the youngest at 6 is learning to become independent. My mothering skills are being tested to the brim and so is my ability to stand up for my kids. One thing I realise daily, whilst interacting with moms of all spheres, is that there is nothing unique about my challenges- it might be something new to me; but not unheard of! The best I can do, is to share how I deal with them.
Whether you are a SAHM, working mom, single mom or whichever category you want to place yourself under; you are capable of doing much for and with your children. Forget about what everyone else is doing, trust that you are doing your best. If you believe you can do better, than do so. Set your own standard whilst learning from what everyone else are doing.
Love for my kids made me choose to do a few things, that made life more manageable and enjoyable.
Try this:
* Teach them the power of prayer
* Help them understand that they are responsible for one another and themselves
* Give chores
* Let them prepare meals
* Explain the value of money
* Participate in their school organisations (they spend most of their day in school, so you might as well be aware of what happens in school)
* Allow them to have pets
One thing my children know without any doubt, is that I will confront any person who dares to infringe on their right to being. That is a total non-negotiable area and which I refuse to ever be apologetic about! We have an African saying, ‘ You strike a woman, you strike a rock!’ You better believe it! 
As a mother you do not have to apologise for expecting your children’s humanity and rights to be recognised, bearing in mind that they in turn, should not disregard those of another. Basic rights include the much debated issue of education, each person have a different opinion as to what constitutes a good education. 
Education is still an unattainable right for many across the globe, and where it is available the standard remains questionable; but that does not mean you have to accept it. No institution is above the law and in free countries, it becomes your obligation to query the status quo and if possible set wheels in motion for change or create cognisance about important matters.
Common problems experienced in schools: – Bullying
– Special Needs Education
– Gifted learners
– Attitudes , Skills and Values of educators
– Facilities
– School discipline
Where do you stand as a mother? 
  • Do you protect your child by hovering on the perimeter or do you muster all your courage and join parent bodies that orchestrate change?
  •  Do you leave change to politicians and civic leaders? 

No, mothers get up and start involving themselves in what affects their most precious and fragile gift. We cannot allow the box officers (people who box us by their standards) to keep us from making a difference.

Mothers need to stand up, regardless of how frightened, inadequate or ill-equipped you might feel. That could be the best way you show your children that you love them, by standing up for more children than only your own.

The roar of a mum is as bad as her bite!
We can do significant things, in small ways.

Motherhood: Three months at a time

The past 3 months has been a grace project par excellence!

I had to painfully adjust to having three children in the public school system whilst holding up a full-time teaching position, baking, blogging, bargain -hunting,making nutritious lunch packs, running a household and looking fabulously unfazed by it all.

In reality :
* I slept after midnight most nights
* I felt like quitting my job
* Had at least one crisis per week
* Misplaced my car keys more often than I found them
* Managed to be on time for work as regular as a leap year!
* Cried like a baby!
* Finished my overburdened kids homework in my best childlike handwriting
* Remembered to wash the school uniform after falling asleep, on more than one occasion
* Used my oil heater as a dryer
* Woke up twice a night to prepare dough for homemade lunch
* Rushed from work because the kids forgot their house keys in my car
* Had car drama
* Considered managing my life with anti-depressants.

It is nearly end of March and all I can say is, the countless prayers; lamented and whispered saw me through this crazy time.

God is good, especially when it seems that our load is greater than our blessings.
  

Mom hates school

I am a teacher by profession so school should not be a painful experience for me or I should have at least built up some immunity to everything teachers endure in schools. My training never prepared me for the part of being a parent with a child in school.

My eldest, 12 years, is experiencing learning barriers which are generally associated with premature birth. As a result she’s had all kinds of therapy and was at one stage on medication. I declined going the medicine route after she reacted badly to it, by breaking out in hives and spending more time on scratching herself than trying to concentrate. Her coping mechanism; I later learned is to scratch herself from her scalp to her exposed arms. This I realised only after discussing her challenges with her first grade teacher.

First grade was a disaster as her teacher left four months into the year. The replacement took over and I guess she didn’t have the passion nor experience to deal with challenged learners. This continued right through to grade 3, which she had to repeat , because she had built up a significant backlog and had difficulty coping with the workload.

When she entered grade 4, I was more anxious about her than I had been when she was a 780grammer. She had to cope with adapting to different teachers and teaching styles, as well as moving from class to class. To crown it all the Math teacher took ill and a substitute(not trained) took care of them and upon his return, he was promoted and moved schools.

Amid all of this was an 11 year old struggling to cope and adapt to all the changes and an anxious mother to boot. The quickest solution was extra tuition which helped in a minuscule way.

Whilst she was struggling I went through the worst kind of school hell I had ever experienced. I didn’t know how to help my own child despite my training. My efforts were fruitless. I knew that she was capable of achieving but the pressure and anxiety which beset her whenever she’s in doubt; robbed her of all confidence.

It’s a new year, new grade and a new group of teachers with their own demands and expectations; but it’s still my baby who has to endure the pain of getting an education.

One thing I know for sure is that there is nothing ordinary about my girl. Neither her birth nor her life will be a boring story, but rather that of an overcomer!