A Reminder of The Journey and A Punch In The Gut
The end of the school year is approaching and I don’t know who is more excited about the two week break between school and summer camp, my son or I. We have not had a break from homework since August 2008. A key component to overcoming his learning challenges is not only to learn specific strategies for reading, writing and math but repetition, repetition, and more repetition.
He has made tremendous progress this year! I am so proud of him and his incredible hard work. We do about 1.5 hours of homework 5 nights a week. For second grade, this is a lot of work. If anything, our son is going to have an incredible work ethic. The words he can now read include anticipation, commissioned, audience and Constantinople!! Wow – he has done so well.
Recently, the summer reading list came out in our school’s weekly newsletter. I contacted our son’s teacher in order to get guidance on his independent reading level for the summer. Well let’s just say it is not where I expected it to be. Hence “the punch in the gut” in the title of this blog post. I felt so deflated. I just wanted to sit down and have a really good cry.
I reached out to his teacher and asked about his independent reading level and now I understand. Learning challenges like everything else in life is about layers. This year was a year of building the foundation. He has strategies for decoding words he doesn’t know. He has strategies for comprehending the material he is reading. He has strategies for writing and answering questions. He has strategies for paying attention and remaining engaged in the classroom. All of this HAS resulted in tremendous progress.
The next layer that has to be attacked, however, is comprehension. He is working so hard to decode and read and do, that his brain processing does not really have the room for full comprehension. As we practice his strategies more, then the strategies themselves will become second nature so that he can grow into comprehending the material he is working with.
So once again I have to remind myself that “my framework” is not what is relevant. Learning challenges, like everything else in life, is a journey that has to be broken down into manageable pieces.
He is working hard, he is making progress and he likes school. It is all good. So I was able to give myself a swift kick in the a—and remind myself of how proud I am of him. I also decided that I am going to get ice cream for every night of those two weeks where we have a break!!
So until next time …. Take care.