Sunday Reads: schooling, education, & helping kids succeed

This Sunday, I’m doing things a little differently than I have recently. Parenting Magazine – with whom I wrote The Happiest Mom: 10 Secrets To Enjoying Motherhood – addressed a very important topic for the last week: education.  As a part of the blogathon, Parenting asked members of its Mom Congress and other mom bloggers to write a letter to their children, telling them how they will help make their education the best it can be. I’ve written my letter to my two oldest boys, and following it I will link to a few other bloggers’ letters. I hope you’ll check them out!

Dear Jacob and Isaac:

The other day I joked to a friend that I grew up in the days before parental involvement. That’s an exaggeration, of course, but your grandparents definitely had a “hands-off” approach when it came to my school work, especially by the time I was your age. I’m guessing they figured I was old enough to handle it on my own.

But I wasn’t. I had trouble organizing my thoughts, my time and my supplies, and my grades floundered in middle and high school. I passed, and kept my GPA just-barely enough to get into the state university, but I always knew I could have done so much better. I began to wonder if deep down, I was really just lazy or too scattered to ever stick to anything.

I simply didn’t realize at the time how much my high-school career would affect my future: not just the college I was able to get into and scholarship prospects, but more importantly how I felt about myself. Under the cloud of a less-than-stellar high-school experience, it took me years to realize that I was capable, ambitious, and worthy of great things.

I was determined to do things differently with you guys, but the truth is, it doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m about the opposite of a helicopter parent in most ways. And I’m not much of a joiner, either – PTA meetings make me itchy. But the older you boys get, the more I see how much you need my help as you navigate these important years of school – not just being available when you do your homework, but providing steady, calm encouragement, ideas for organizing your thoughts, your time, and your supplies, and involvement with the school as well.

So if you notice me becoming slightly more watchful over your schoolwork as you get older and move into the high-school years, it’s not because I doubt you. It’s because I know, from experience, how very important it is that you do your best, whatever that is (and believe me, I can tell when you are and when you aren’t.) It’s not because I care what you want to do for a living when you get older, or what college you go to, or even if you choose not to go to college at all – but because I always want you to feel like you made those decisions from a place of strength and confidence and pride.

Sorry if I annoy you sometimes, boys. But it’s just too important to leave to chance. And now I have to finish this letter and close the computer – it’s homework time.

Love,
Mom

Links to some other Mom Congress Blogathon posts:

What was your school experience like? Are you trying to be more involved than your parents were, less involved, or are you following their example? I’d love to hear how you plan to make your child’s educational experience the best it can be.

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