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Third Grade, Who Knew?

by Jennifer S. Rowe | September 17th, 2014 | Elementary, School

file791271781089Well, parents, here we are again, another summer behind us and the new school year, right here, right now! Wow, time really does fly by, and if you have elementary age kids, there can be a number of things to juggle at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year.

I happen to have a wonderful and energetic eight-year-old in the first few weeks of the third grade and to be honest, we got off to a fairly rough start! Right around a week before classes started, I began to notice my son’s attitude change, and not for the better! He was more prone to sadness and anger, which I thought was his way of dealing with the end of summer, but after quite a bit of probing, I discovered he was really nervous about starting school for some very valid reasons. Of course, kids will miss sleeping in, staying up later than they usually would during the school year, and all the fun activities that go with summer, but his reasons were more about fitting in, meeting new people, and the academic challenges that progress as they do.

I was a little surprised (ok, a lot surprised!) by this because he is in third grade! I will say that when I was his age, and maybe because I grew up in a different time, there was not as much peer pressure at that age as there is now. Children have to deal with a whole lot more than I ever did growing up and I try very hard to keep that in mind. Expectations are so much higher even at this level than they have ever been, and my son’s school is now an IB Elementary School (International Baccalaureate), but no pressure there, right?

I will also say that it is very important to be involved in your children’s academic careers from the very beginning to ensure that they are set up to succeed and not fail. There seems to be a pervasive attitude that everything in the schools is up to the teachers, and the parents should not play any role, because after all it’s just third grade, right? You will set the tone for how your child learns, studies and accomplishes goals, period. Spending time with them doing their homework, as simple as it may seem to you, makes all the difference in their attitudes, study habits, and yes, their social skills as well. You as a parent can make it fun and show them that it can be exciting to learn new concepts and ideas.

I understand that carving this time out can be difficult, especially if you work outside the home; do it anyway! Build that bond that will benefit you and your child for many years and homework assignments to come! I want to close by telling you that once my son went to his back to school night, met his new teacher, and saw some familiar faces in his new class, he quickly decided, things would be ok!

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