my quote of the moment: "if you can attain repose and calm, believe that you have seized happiness." ~julie-jeanne-eleonore de lespinasse

January 9, 2012

how much help is too much?

bumble is only in second grade, but he recently had to do a report on a famous american. now, he didn't have to write pages of a report, he just had to come up with 10 important facts and then do a speech about it with a visual aid. he's getting graded on facts, neatness, and being able to read loudly and clearly, among other things.

he was assigned thomas edison, which i think was a great person for him to have to study. thomas edison is all about genius being hard work and stick-to-it-iveness, which are all things that bumble really needs help with.

he has always struggled in school with various things. we held him back from starting kindergarten because he was lacking some of the social skills of other kids his age. now, he's slowly catching up socially, with much help from his guidance counsellor, but he still lacks some of the acedemic skills. he went through a special program in kindergarten to help with reading and phonics. now he works with a speech therapist and an occupational therapist (to help with his writing and fine motor skills) and a special reading teacher.

one thing all of people he works with have said, from his regular teachers to his "special helpers," is that he is a joy to work with. he always tries to hard, and he loves to learn new things. his difficulty has always been that he doesn't pick up new skills as quickly as other kids. school will always been something he has to work hard at, and i really hope that he doesn't lose his love of learning.

all of this brings me back to the report he had to do. the paper the teacher sent home explaining the  project specifically said that the kids were supposed to put the facts in their own words. they were supposed to complete it mostly by themselves, with minimal help from parents.

i have to admit, i did most of the research. i found and printed out a bunch of websites worth of facts, and then i read them over to bumble. if i hadn't, if i had made him read the information himself, he never would have finished. i did work with him to understand the information, and to pick out what he thought were the most important facts. then i made him write all of the facts out as sentences in his own words, though i had to help a lot with grammar and spelling and the direction of a 'b' versus a 'd'. for his visual aid, we made a poster of important inventions. as in, i drew everything in pencil and i let him trace it with a sharpie.

after all of that, i just made him practice over and over again. he got tired of reading over all of his facts constantly, but electricity and kinetoscope and phonograph are very difficult words for him to pronounce properly.

and now i sit here worrying how he did. i helped him as much as i thought i should, though i know i could have done more. i kept thinking how he lacks skills that his classmates possess, and he really needed the extra help. still, i think that maybe i helped him too much, that i should have made him try to do more himself, so when he does well, he really he gets a better sense of accomplishment.

i know, as he goes further in his scholastic career, i'll face these tough choices more often. and eventually i have an awful feeling that i'll have to explain to him why it's not a big deal when his younger brother passes him in abilities.

i love my bumble, just like i love all my children. but with him it's different. he's so sweet and innocent, i so want the best for him. i want him succeed and accomplish everything he sets out to do. but mostly i don't want him to be frustrated by failure or overwhelmed by neigh-sayers. i want to protect him but i want to watch him grow and thrive.

being a mommy is tough sometimes.


  1. Dont you worry about that Papabear is right there with ya

    1. i know, i'm very lucky to have such great hubby-support