If you save $3 on Monday and each day after, you save twice as much as you saved the day before, how much would you save by Friday? This is why I couldn’t wait for summer vacation each year.
I certainly don’t miss going to school although I love to reminisce about the days when my girls were in elementary school with their cute little outfits and matching shoes with ribbons in their hair. The days and nights of homework, studying for tests and feeling like a complete idiot convinced me – I’m not smarter than a fifth grader.
Both girls had their different sets of struggles in school – the oldest with math, telling time and pronouncing the letter “R.” As strange as it was listening to words like “car” which came out to be “caa” her cousin sounded exactly the same way. Eventually she grew out of it but then started stuttering. I'm sure it wasn't the proper way to make her stop but I told her if it was going to take longer than two minutes to get out one sentence, I wasn't going to listen. Luckily, she stopped, hopefully it didn’t scar her for life.
While the oldest embraced being pushed, the younger one rebelled. The oldest spent summer months doing workbooks and flash cards while the youngest tried her hardest to forget everything she learned the year prior.
The oldest would lock herself in the bathroom to study because we were too loud. I even contacted the counselors as I thought something was wrong with her. She graduated second in her class, and after eight years of college, she's now a veterinarian. I can't take any of the credit because I think my technique of drilling information wasn't the best method, but I didn't know what else to do.
Five years later when the second one started high school – afraid I had pushed the oldest too hard – I tried a different approach. I'm not sure where I was going with this new strategy – with her social skills overshadowing study skills – but we spent a great deal of time throwing assignments together at the last minute, and in drastic circumstances I'm guilty of even writing several of her papers. I always got the grade from the teacher, but not from myself. This method of “helping” definitely wasn't good or right. She graduated and successfully entered a prominent career path, no thanks to me.
Parenting during those school-aged years was frustrating, rewarding and sometimes scary, but always full of happy days which made wonderful memories. It's difficult to know what's best for our kids because each one has their unique set of needs and wants. The best we can do is to love them unconditionally, believe in who they are and allow them to become who they want to be.
Enjoy the summer months with your schooler – before you know it they’ve graduated, flew the coop and you’re an empty-nester wishing you still had homework.
Sandy Turner is a GateHouse Media columnist.