Thursday, January 15, 2015

New experiences: learning to step into them, even a bit blindly #parenting #education

My daughter began a new accelerated learning program at school this week. She will complete her first grade year with a new teacher, different classroom, and totally unknown schedule on Mondays. She was accepted for this "gifted" program via a letter and some parental forms in the mail a few weeks ago. We were given no information about what to expect, just a school supply list and a date.

My first instinct was to email the teachers with twenty-five questions about where she will go, what she will do, the other students she will be with, what she will miss in her other class, how she will make up the work, what time she will eat lunch... you get the idea. I wanted to prepare her for absolutely everything.

See, my daughter is exceptionally bright, yet somewhat introverted with a reluctance towards change. It took her several weeks to become comfortable with the new group of classmates in the transition to first grade, and now the school was pulling her out and into a new situation all over again. She was nervous the night before and asked me many questions, most of which I could not answer at all.

I couldn't answer them because I decided a week prior that I would not ask the questions. I had an email barrage of questions halfway drafted when I thought, maybe there is a reason they didn't give us a detailed synopsis of the days to come? Perhaps, going into a situation blind is a valuable lesson that can be learned?

I decided that it was time to stop clearing every tiny pebble ahead of Amelia's path and just let her navigate the path on her own. Remember the advice that shaped my parenting style?

It is okay to send your child into the world with questions. We do not always need to know every detail of what is to come. Life itself is a mystery; we never quite know what is around the corner. My bright sweetheart did very well in the new class this week. She was happily surprised to see some familiar friends from last year, some of whom she has really missed in first grade so far. Reunited!

She did not know what to do with all of the requested school supplies, so she asked. She didn't know when they were going to have lunch, so she waited. She had a day full of figuring things out and she LOVED it. I am glad I let her step into the experience all on her own.

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