Last weekend I went for the parent interview with baby’s class teacher. I dread these interviews. Perhaps dread isn’t the right word. I feel it is I who is judged at these interviews,( even though the idea behind these meetings is for the teacher to tell me how my child is doing in class and to ask if I have any concern) because my child’s output directly reflects on my input.
My idea of what my children ought to get from going to school is very different from everyone else and I do worry sometimes that I fail my children. I am supposed to check my children’s homework before they submit them for correction to ensure that the homework is complete and done correctly. I do not correct my children’s work because it is their job to do their work well, not mine. If they don’t know to do something, they can ask me and I will help them. I also do not tell my children to do their homework because it isn’t me who will get in to trouble for not doing the homework. I want my children to be responsible for their own life.
I do not go through their textbook and test their knowledge or teach them, however each evening while we are having our dinner, I do ask my children what they are learning at school and we talk about it.
Every evening after dinner my children read story books till they go to bed and not once I have seen them studying. I never felt the need to ask them to study either.And so it was with great trepidation I walked in to my daughter’s classroom to meet the teacher one to one.
The teacher briefly introduced what she will be teaching and what is expected from the children. She had already prepared a leaflet with instructions about homework and assignments and instead of giving the leaflet to me, she said ” you don’t need this, your daughter’s work is always perfect”
It felt so good to hear that because that perfect work my child hands in each week is her own work, done entirely by her.
Then the teacher told me that my 11 year old has been assessed and they found out that she reads at grade 12 level and the school will be providing language extension classes for her.
Before this post be construed as an egotistical post by a very happy mother, I shall say what I wanted to say when I wrote the title “getting there”.
The only reason my children read at a high level is because I read to them everyday since they were babies. I started to read for Yaya when she was 4 months old. At first it was just a few sentences each day. I don’t think she understood anything the first few months,but it gave both of us a routine.
As they grew older, sometimes, they asked me to read the same book over and over and I hated doing it. ( my son loved a train book that I read everyday for him for months and I tried so hard to get him to give me any other book, but he wouldn’t. He just wanted the train book) I also hated some of the story books my children loved, especially the magic school bus series. I never understood what they saw in those books.
When they were little, I used to skip few pages when I was tired and skipping pages didn’t work as they grew older for they used to keep an eagle eye as to where their mother’s eyes were and knew if I skipped a sentence. Yaya also knew the story I was reading for her siblings because I read it to her when she was little and if I skipped a line and even if the younger two didn’t notice, she would tell me, “mama, you missed that part” and I will end up reading it again.
I loved fairy tales and bought Celtic fairy tales for my kids and I remember wanting to burn that book because the stories were so long and at one stage, my children wanted me to read stories from only that book. Even if the story was 8 to 10 pages long, I still had to read three stories, one for each child. And then there were the readers the school send that my kids had to read and I had to sit with them to do that as well. Usually by the evening, after all the swimming and skating lessons, I was exhausted and this night time ritual was killing me.
But I persevered. My children still read a lot and the effect can be seen in their school work. All three of them get straight A’s for English. And even the assignments in other subjects are all written well and they do have a very good command of English. Reading to children helps them a lot.