I sent my first son off to school in the hope that he’d find water like a duck does. He seemed to enjoy himself and especially loved the bike ride to school.
It wasn’t until we fast forward a few years, I can see how much they have/not learnt, and how differently every individual is in their learning experience. Quinn didn’t miraculously start reading. Far from it. And it’s been quite a road to get his confidence and fluency up. And when your kid isn’t a reader, they basically don’t read by choice. So whilst his peers are eating Harry Potter and coincidentally flexing their reading muscles, my child is doing everything to avoid reading for ten measly minutes a night. So we basically do every second night at gun point. And you can imagine how happy our household is at these times.
I’ve blabbed at many school gates and sought comfort in other parent’s stories. And without any formal testing, we don’t even know if Quinn has some definable label. We can only presume and have got him explicit help that is making a difference. This is no small topic and a very personal, potentially triggering place to find yourself in as a parent. Do we worry too early or leave it too late? Should we ‘wait and see’ and let it ‘work itself out’ or get help early and make a difference but also potentially influence your child psychologically and emotionally in ways you can’t expect. Ah the decisions we face as parents. But positively Quinn is slowly improving with tutoring, remedial assistance and age, it’s a slow burn.
Nothing is straightforward in life so why do we assume learning to be. It’s very interesting to see how diverse we are in our learning styles and strengths. With the rather homogenised learning approach that mainstream schooling uses, it is no wonder some kids fall through the cracks or lose confidence. And that’s not a blanket criticism, it’s just that it suits and inspires some more than others.
On a positive note, I wanted to share Quinn’s creativity when asked to do a recent assignment on a rainforest animal. He didn’t show much engagement at first and recoiled at the idea of standing up there with palm cards he can’t easily read…not to mention sweaty palms. So he wrote a song and played it to his class whilst he jazzed along. I couldn’t help but share. (Be warned: proud mum alert). It does help when your dad is a music producer and backing vocals by your younger brother.
We all have different gifts and it’s about finding them. This was Quinn’s chance to shine in his arena.
Click here to listen to his song, Spider Monkey: