I’m a self-proclaimed nerd. This should be nothing new to those of you who know me…I was always much more likely to sit inside than head out for recess. I always loved studying and genuinely enjoyed going to class. Although I’m glad to be done with school, my inner nerd comes out every once in awhile.

I was in a training session for work the other day and we took a learning styles assessment. I love personal assessments, because they teach me to think about my own style in new ways. I don’t think I learned anything groundbreaking from this particular assessment, but there was a section about learning styles and parenting that I thought was interesting. Also, for other nerds out there, you can read more about learning styles and experiential learning here.

We all learn and make sense of the world in different ways. There are four learning styles (learning by doing, learning by experiencing, learning by reflecting, and learning by thinking). You can probably think of your preferred learning style just from the descriptions. When we parent, we will most often teach in the style that we prefer. But are we being sensitive to how our children would like to learn? Or should we try to strengthen weaker styles with our kids? Here is a brief description of the styles for kids:

Learning Styles

After reading through the styles, do you have any inclinations about your kids? Of course, the best approach with your kids is using a blend of styles. Interesting stuff, huh? Told you I was a nerd.

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So, I’m a bit overwhelmed.  I have one of those email addresses where they give you the option to “prioritize” certain incoming mail, mark other mail as less important and put stars next to even more mail.  It is meant to keep one organized, but it hasn’t worked out so well for me.  Right now I have almost 150 messages in my “priority” inbox.  I have hundreds in my starred category and literally (I’m not kidding) thousands in my regular mail.  I’m the type that needs lots of time to sit and focus on a task so that I can complete it well.  I’m not a good multi-tasker and I have a hard time getting things accomplished when I only have time to complete part of it.  So, that explains why I have probably 25,000 emails.  I may have time to read the email, but if I don’t have time to respond or follow up on the email right at that moment, then it gets marked as unread so that I know to come back to it.  Invariably, it will be forgotten.  Then if I do come back to it, yup, I get overwhelmed.

At issue as well is my house.  We have had our fair share of school projects that have come home with both kids from preschool.  Most of it I keep.  How could I not??  Now that Seth is in Kindergarten, he is coming home with even more.  This is the real stuff.  Real School.  I can’t possibly throw any of this stuff out.  So my question is . . .now what?  If I can’t keep my virtual world clutter free, how will I ever succeed with my real life one?  Suggestions?  Oh, and when during my hectic life do you propose I find the time to organize all the stuff?
We all know one, you know the mom that always knows best, whose child always does this and that at an advanced age and better than your own child. The Momitor. She hits you when you are down with a “well little Johnny can sing his ABCs and he is only 18 months. And did I tell you he started walking at 9 months?” Blah, blah, blah.

So are you one of these moms? Do you constantly put your kid up against your friend’s children? Can’t we all just relax and understand that each of us knows what is right for our own children?

As I sit here and write this I know I am a hypocrite. Over the weekend we ran into a child that was in the home-daycare with my son prior to him switching schools. I watched as the boys interacted and played ball but the Momitor in me noticed that this child, who was older than my son, was not talking. So here I am confessing to the fact that I had a Momitor moment! I mean hey, my son talks and most of the time it is English so surely that other child is delayed or isn’t engaged enough by his parents. Or maybe they are just laid back and they know their child best and how he communicates with them and I should just mind my own business.

I think all moms have a Momitor tendency. We compare growth chart stats, developmental milestones and the like, and at the end of the day we all want to know that our children are developing and growing the same as the rest of their peer group.

When I was in Middle School we had something called “Late Day”.  Late Day happened twice a week and it was a day when we could choose to stay after school for an hour for an elective.  The best part was that we were old enough to buy a snack like Rolos, Twizzlers and/or a can of soda from the Student Council to eat beforehand.  The electives were varied enough so that everyone who wanted to attend a class could do so.  At 4:30 pm we would either take the late bus home or get picked up by our parents.  Sounds fun, and it was.

What reminded me of Late Days was seeing the parents that have been steadily streaming through my school’s doors today.  You see, many of the kids that go to my school also go to the after school program located at my school.  For some of them, Late Day isn’t 4:30 pm, it is more like 6:00 pm.  For many of them, Late Day is every day.  Now I know that many parents work 9-5 jobs, so 6 is the earliest they can feasibly get to their kids, but I just wonder how that affects the whole dynamic of family time.  I know that when my kids were at their old preschool, I was able to get to them and get home by 4:45.  Earlier if I wanted to.  Now that they are further from my school and it takes more time to get there, get them, get them to agree to come to the car, and get home, we get home later.  Getting home later means that things get pushed later into the night.  Things like dinner, showers (my kids aren’t much into baths), pajamas, books (Maya made a pile higher than Mount Kilimanjaro last night) and bedtime get pushed later because the time they used to have for things like free play, coloring, and riding bicycles is slowly ebbing away.  They need this time to decompress from their day, and frankly so do I.  So I wonder . . . how do the kids that are just leaving school at 6pm deal with it all?  Do they get any family time before it is time to get up the next morning and start all over again?  I guess this is what they call “the daily grind” elementary style.

It happened.  My first discussion with a teacher about Darby being behind.  I never thought this day would come.  I mean, Mike and I are both smart people.  Well educated.  Always did well in school.  We wore assorted cords at graduation to prove it!  And now we’re having this conversation with a teacher.  Darby is behind.

Rolling over is for chumps!

The other kids in her class are all rolling over and she isn’t.  But she did!  Twice!  I saw!  She isn’t rolling over consistently like the other kids.  How could this be?  We wore CORDS at our graduations!  Our baby should be AHEAD of the others, not behind!  The teacher asked me to work on this with her.  Great.  Homework. I’m supposed to rock her from side to side to show her how to do it.  Maybe she knows how but doesn’t want to, OK?!  She just doesn’t feel like it!

Darby smiles more than the others AND she can hold the rattle longer.  Her teacher told me that.  Suck it, Other Kids.  Plus, she’s bigger… a lot bigger.  Don’t even TRY to tease her about her rolling over because she will come at you with her chubby thighs and big smile.  Mark my words.

I’ve never regretted being a working mom, until a month ago.  My daughter started at a Montessori school when she was only 8 weeks old. As hard as it was to hand her over to someone else at such a young age, I looked forward to having adult conversations and having at least 9 hours in the day where I didn’t have to worry about someone projectile vomiting all over me.  She attended this school until a month ago, when it was time for her to start kindergarten at a public school.

Over the past month she’s had to deal with a lot of change.  As much as I thought kindergarten would be an easy transition (she’s never had any problems transitioning at her previous school), we have seen behavior from her that we’ve never seen before.   We were even asked to move her from her after school program to somewhere else due to her making some bad decisions.  As we are scrambling as parents trying to figure out how to handle these new (hopefully temporary) traits of hers, we sat her down for a serious conversation to try and get her input on how she could improve in school.  She looked me in the eyes and said, “If you taught me.”

That’s when the guilt set in.

Here I am lucky enough that my child thinks the world of me, and she loves having me help her learn.  It wasn’t an emotional comment, where she was whining to try and get her way.  This was her being honest with me.  I realized I was having an adult conversation with her, and she was thinking logically.  At that moment I had my first indication that she was no longer my baby.  I have struggled the past couple of weeks trying to figure out how I can continue to work (for financial reasons) and also give my daughter the support that she’s asking for.  When did life get so hard?