My 10 year old daughter moved to a new school this year. She has a great teacher and she claims to be much happier at her new school. She finally feels like she fits in and she loves all of the projects they do. The problem is, school is stressing her out. Another problem is that her school is stressing me out.
In retrospect, it is obvious to me that Amelia needed a change last year. If your child is reading a couple books a day during school hours, something is wrong. Kids need to be challenged. If there is no challenge, changes must be made. On the other hand, if a child has so many challenges at school that she doesn’t have time left for other activities, or if she has little time for being a 10 yr old, something might be wrong there too.
It is tricky to be the parent of someone who has the option of being challenged too much or too little, but no obvious third option. I’m not the teacher; I can’t adjust the homework load. I can’t make the curriculum just a bit easier for her. I can help her to streamline her life, I can try to help her see that she doesn’t have time to do everything demanded at school, retake her science test until she gets a perfect score, swim every afternoon, go to chess club once a week, go to Activity Days (a bi-weekly church group for girls), enter the Reflections contest (PTA arts program), and study for the spelling bee, etc.
The problem is it makes me sad to encourage her to scale back on the non-school activities that are also an important and enjoyable part of her life (and let me be honest: our life. I am mourning the loss of time to study spelling, because it was something I really enjoyed doing with my daughter). For example, dropping swimming would save the most time, but after her fight to make the swim team, I would hate to see her leave just when she is reaping the rewards of her hard work.
Because of the stress that her homework assignments put on our family, I am often tempted to encourage her to go back to her old school. It can’t be worth it! I say. But despite the stress she evidences and the anxiety I feel, how can I send her back when she says she is happier at her new school and wouldn’t go back for the world?