Grade 4 is kicking my ass…

Do you ever feel like you are doing this parenting wrong? Either you are too strict or not strict enough on your kids, or your punishments seem bizarre? That is how I feel right at this moment. I feel that I am over reacting and being too strict, but I also feel like I am not.

This parenting thing is confusing. It’s like a cruel joke, just as you feel like you are kicking its ass it turns and laughs as you fall on your face.

I have been pondering about whether or not I should write about this and I know that some of you will feel that I am too strict but damn it I am at a loss.

When my child started school I made the decision that she will not have the same schooling career that I had. School sucked for me, I was always forgetting things and I was always in some sort of trouble and do you know who is to blame for it…my mother. Now before you freak hear me out. My mother did her best and made loads of mistakes with me, her first child, when I started school she did and remember everything for me, I lost my school clothes and she got me new ones. I forgot my lunch and she made a plan to get me some and so the list goes on and on. I learnt nothing from her doing things for me in the end as I got older learning those habits got harder.

When my child started school I did nothing for her, I helped her in Grade 1 by sitting with a list of what needs to be in her bag and she had to find the things and pack it. Grade 2 she had to pack her bag herself and I checked it. Grade 3 she still did it herself and I did spot checks every now and then. Now that she is in Grade 4 I feel that she has had 3 years of training and should do this on her own, I spot check once in a while.

The same applies to her school work; I followed the same trend with projects and homework, but being more involved. This year I told her that I will not be checking things for her, she needs to write it down and if she has a test, oral, etc she needs to tell me on the day that she receives the instruction and date (just a note she has been doing this since grade 1 and I have been so proud). I told her that I will help her with research, but she has to put whatever together herself, I will then check and help her make it perfect and then she can do the final project.

Grade 4 is hard and new and I totally get that. I also get that she is just 9 years old but she has always been this little grown up that remembers her school work. I figured she was ready to do what needs to be done. With homework I decided that term 1 she has to do it on her own and ask for help when needed but I did explain to her that all test, projects and orals needs to be reported to me and I will slot in study and practise times. We talked about how we will do things in the beginning of the year and she pretty much told me that she is now “grown” and can handle it all on her own.

This term did not start off well, first we had the Afrikaans oral that she forgot to tell me about, I had to find out on Facebook; I then gave her a day to go check that she forgot nothing else and report back. She told me she forgot nothing. Just for me to find out that she had a Xhosa oral she didn’t tell me about, and then she kept forgetting her Xhosa book at school and lied to me and said that her teacher has it. I then freaked and said I will phone the school and freak on the teacher just to have her change her story to “I forgot”.  I lost my mind, went one like a banshee. I did not punish her as it was a first offence but tell her that if it ever happens again that if she forgets and then lies about it, she is as good as punished.

Then tonight happened, the reason for the post… She finished her homework like a good girl and I checked her homework book only to see that she had 3 tests this week that she did not tell me about. I asked her about the tests and she told me she did study for them. I know for a fact this is not true, because everyday she spent the afternoons playing even after I asked her 100 questions.

I lost my mind yet again and that next day I spent the entire day thinking and getting advise and I came to the conclusion even if she thinks she is all grown and ready for the big bad world of Grade 4 on her own – I her mother does not agree. I informed her that evening that we will be going back to the old way of doing her school work etc.

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Now my question to you fellow bloggers and readers…

How do you manage school with your children? Do you do everything for them or do you sit back and watch the cookie crumble? I want that happy balance of helping but also allowing independence of making mistakes and learning from them.

Parenting is hard, it kicks my ass most days.

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4 thoughts on “Grade 4 is kicking my ass…

  1. Ai, grade 4 is hard on parents and children. In fact, 99% of parents last year talked about how they had to go back and help again as if in grade 1. I also had to – A although an academic achiever does also at times drop things – so I insisted on knowing about every little test and assignment. For instance she is a great reader so did not think to inform me about a prepared reading assignment and did not practice – and got her lowest score ever. So now the rule is she write every little thing on our family calendar, I check that she has handled or learned it herself and we go on.

    I guess in summation in grade 4 I actually helped her to study etc, now in grade 5 I just check.So by grade 6 hopefully I will not need to check everything but just some things and so on to independence. However with other things I am way more strict – for instance C lost the pants of his Judo suit. He is now paying them off by not getting pocket money. If they loose or forget say sports equipment they have to deal with it on their own. But academics I will help = less and less as time goes on.

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  2. Fjord is in Gr 4, it’s a massive jump from Gr 3. He is however only 8 as he started school a year early. I don’t expect him to remember everything, I get annoyed when he forgets but have to remind myself that really he’s still a little boy.

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  3. My son is in first grade and I hate his homework. He has such trouble concentrating both in school and at home with his homework. It always ends in a fight. And me feeling like the worst mom ever.

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  4. I know it’s not possible for all parents to do, but this is one of the main reasons I decided to homeschool my kids – no pressure, just learning at your own pace and ejoying it! And most importantly – play! Studies are finding how important play is and kids just don’t have time to do it anymore…not properly. All the best with your little one, don’t be too hard on her mommy, it’s hard enough as it is. 🙂

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