Monday, November 22, 2010

Peace of Mind

When I was in elementary school, I admit, I wasn't the most academic.  It wasn't from a lack of effort or parental involvement.  I remember trying in school and working hard, but I was always frustrated, usually confused and often cried because everyone else seemed to 'get it'.  I learned quickly how to stay under the radar, so no one knew I was clueless.  My poor parents spent money on endless supplemental materials to help, they also got me tutors, and forced me to do curriculum work during the summer.  There came a point in 5th grade when teachers finally tested me for special education classes.  Those tests backfired and baffled everyone, since I was testing 2 grade levels above.  People started to think I was lazy and not working to my potential.

It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized I have ADHD (without the H).  Back when I was a kid, they didn't talk or test kids for it, so I just went through all my schooling years, frustrated at myself for not doing better in school, and I am sure frustrating my parents.  This diagnoses has been the most significant discovery for me, and has completely changed me inside and out.  But, this post isn't about this, it's about my kids.

Over the past couple of weeks we've had Izzy's and Jacob's school conferences.  Going into the conferences, I knew in my heart they are good kids.  At school they are respectful, good listeners, and good friends to their classmates.  So I wasn't worried about that.  The part I did worry about, as a parent who struggled academically through school,  was their academic performance.  Were there signs yet that they too would struggle as I did?  It's the thing I've worried about since before they were born.  Brenton and I used to joke while pregnant with Jacob- We hoped the kids looked like me, and had Brenton's brain.  We joked about it, but secretly, I really did hope they had their dad's brain.  Brenton was a high achieving student, learning was and is still, easy for him.  I remember in college when we were dating, I would study for hours for a test we had, and he would look over his notes before the test and he would do far better than I would and for sure be the first one finished- it's so not fair!

But at each of the kids' conferences, I found myself holding my breath, and holding back tears when the teachers would praise their academic abilities.  As their mom, inside of me I know they are bright,  I've been working with them since they are 3, but now that they are in the "real world" of school, I wasn't fully confident that they didn't inherit my academic struggles. 
For now, I can breath easy, Jacob is 1 of only 4 kids in a challenge math group and Isabelle is excelling in reading and math for her grade.  All I can say is, thank you Jesus!  I know they are still young, and school will get harder, but the weight that was lifted off my shoulders at conferences to hear they excel academically in areas that I did not was HUGE!!

Part of me wishes I could do school over, even college,  knowing now that I have ADHD, and how it plays a significant role in how I learn.  I think school would be so much easier.  But I realize its more important now that notice the signs and signals in my students I teach and my own kids, so if a day does come that they need further evaluation, I can speak from knowledge and personal experience.

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