So, last week was parents evening at school. Typically this coincided with J being away on business so I had to ‘go it alone’ again, a short-list of questions in hand (as ‘baby-brain’ has never really left me) and a bag full of food to keep them quiet (yes, food is still the best pacifier, even at 10)! With three of them, this can turn into a full evening out but luckily for me, this time, my appointments were all within a 60 minute window- winning so far! Past parents evenings have involved speeding around the school to different classrooms, only to find that they are running late, waiting, missing the next appointment and then having to sprint across the school to the next one. This time, they took more of a ‘speed dating’ approach to the whole thing and held it it the main hall. With a large digital clock illuminating the projector screen, timekeeping was of the essence and everyone was sticking to it- still winning!
My first appointment was with K’s teacher (yr6). My main concern with her is the struggle we are still having with learning spellings, as her dyslexia means that she struggles to get them into her long-term memory. We discussed various options and the school have agreed that she can use a lap-top (if we can provide one) in school which would provide her with various tools to help. With typing being a more sensory way of writing, I’m hoping that once she has mastered touch-typing, this will help her to remember spellings too. I was however, shocked to hear that there are no concessions given to dyslexic children when taking the SATS examinations or in their assessments of ‘reaching standard’ at the end of year six. With spelling being a large part of the criteria now, K will struggle with this but the school have assured me that her secondary school will take other information provided by them, into account when streaming children. All other aspects of K’s leaning are good and I feel bad that the whole 10 minutes was spent talking about her one weakness. It’s a constant frustration but one that I feel we are finally getting on top of.
Lou’s teacher was next (yr3). Lou is the least of my worries, she’s sailed through school so far, exceeding expectation, being teachers pet and loving every minute- my little swat (just like her mother!)! Her teachers general goal for her is to ‘maintain her excellent attitude to learning’, I can ask no more! Of course there were a few things to work on and they’d like her to offer answers during class discussion times but other than that she’s a pleasure to teach! -Still winning.
Now for The Boy (yr1). I have to admit, being the third child and a summer born boy, my expectations for him were low. Having chatted with mum’s of similar aged boys, who were pulling their hair out during the early stages, but are now settled and working really well, I had just decided I wasn’t going to stress! So, he’d prefer to stick a pencil up his nose rather than write with it and wrestle under the art table with his mates, I’m lucky if I can get him to write his name in a birthday card at home, never mind any other sort of writing! He’s five, he’s a boy, what ‘ya gonna do? So, when his teacher began to tell me what wonderful adjectives (yes, adjectives!) he’s using in his writing and that his next target in maths is to be more consistent with his number bonds to 20, I was stunned into silence! She went on about how he’s using full stops and capital letters, that he can use his phonic knowledge to spell words correctly and does all this independently! He can do what, now? I had to stop her there, just to be sure that we were talking about the same child, she’s only had the class for six weeks, maybe she’d confused my Boy with another?? But no, apparently, the boy I take to school each day, morphs into the perfect student for approximately six hours before returning to his usual state, ready for collection! The only solid proof I have, that we were indeed talking about The Boy was a small concern over his pronunciation of the letter ‘R’ as an ‘L’ sound, when it is mid-word. Apparently, the school can provide speech therapy for this, during school time, through the NHS. Though we had noticed and begun to pick him up on this mispronunciation, we hadn’t considered a need for therapy and assumed that it would rectify itself. In summary, my laid-back approach to The Boy’s schooling has worked- the most unforeseen win of the afternoon!
Well, I’d say that’s a pretty big parenting win! I am so proud of them all and the little people they have become. I’m really not all about the ‘look at my children, aren’t they fantastic’, honestly! I just feel that for the majority of the time, I am their biggest critic, not in a negative or discouraging way but I was always looking for the next milestone with the girls, rather than just celebrating a current achievement. Putting too much emphasis on getting to the next stage rather than congratulating for getting here in the first place. The Boy’s review has proven that actually, they will do it in their own time, in their own way, when they are ready. Had I pushed him to do more than reading at home, he would have probably pushed back and maybe spoiled his (apparent at school) love of learning! The little monkey!!
Have you had your first parents evening of the new school year yet? Was it what you expected or were there surprises? What are your thoughts on reaching learning and developmental milestones? What’s been your most memorable parenting win so far?