If We Aren’t Learning, We Aren’t Growing

May is my favorite month.  Our first son was born this month, school is close to ending and the beginning of summer is in grasp.  While we are still uncertain of what the actual summer holds, it will also mark the end or imminent end (Lord willing) of distance learning and the 2019-2020 school year.  

WHEW!  We made it through!  (Some of us just barely, but the goal was to just finish!)

Summer is my absolute favorite time of year: no alarm clocks, little to no schedules, vacations, quality time with our boys, long days, new Netflix series for us to watch, and memories abound.  I can never get enough of fresh peaches, ice cream stands, and children out and about. It’s a time to refresh and renew.

Every year, at this time, we always engage with our boys and reflect on all that happened: the victories, the failures, the takeaways, the growth, the memories of our past year in school, goals, etc.

While this certainly has been the most unconventional year, I am going to share some of my takeaways from these past 2 months of distance learning and sheltering-in-place.  I always say to our boys (I know I’m a broken record!), if we aren’t growing, we aren’t learning.

Here are just a few things I’ve noticed during Distance Learning and 24/7 being at home with the fam:

  • Our boys eat a ton, whether they are hungry or not…teens eat everything that comes in a bag or box.  It’s what they do!  And, they are blissfully happy not to have any type of meal schedules.  It seems we are all on different schedules!  
  • While I know our boys are polar opposites, it really has been on full display in our home…figuring out workspaces, the best time for them to learn and let me tell ya, what works for one, simply, emphatically does NOT work for the other.  It’s opened my eyes even more to this and how critical it is to parent and support each child as they are…NOT what their sibling “does”.
  • Our son, who has ADHD has really learned, by default, how to plan out his day and what reminders he needs.  And yes, it wasn’t without multiple tries, work not being turned in on time, and falling behind, BUT he figured it out (with a little accountability, expectation, and boundaries from me)….he figured out his best daily practice to manage his time.
  • Because of the flexible work environment, our son who has ADHD has managed his need to move, fidget, take short breaks, go on walks (lots of them!), and do what he needs to allow him to re-focus.  THIS IS WHY THIS ENVIRONMENT HAS SET UP SO WELL FOR HIM: he is not constricted to a classroom setting.  His work gets done and he manages what his body needs to focus.  He is self-managing like it’s no one’s business!
  • Lord willing, we will not be in this “place” again (although I have my doubts). It has been an amazing learning and growth curve for BOTH our boys.  How can you not take advantage of planning out your day every day – there is so much control they have now that they won’t have during normal school life!

It would have been a huge disservice to our sons if I had my hands in every second of their day and controlled their time!  Instead, they learned, they failed, they grew and became responsible for their academic life.  They know the consequences if they falter and don’t keep up.

  • Most of the time, I’ve learned our boys REALLY need to talk things out to get motivated. REALLY.  Yes, they may be complaining, but who doesn’t?  Even I complain about some of their work!  Don’t we all need someone to vent to and to release all the thoughts around something?  So, I don’t, in the least bit, think it’s something I’ve done when they are venting…they just need to let it go!  Yes, there’s a lot more venting going on…and it’s OK!
  • I love having them home. Yes, even in the midst of smaller quarters where we may be on top of each other and we have to figure things out, I, personally, am happy they are not going back to school.  ( No judging here!!!)  We have gotten into such a routine where everyone is productive and has great balance, I think it would turn their world’s upside down right now to be on a school schedule.  (I get homeschooling now and it’s so tempting!)
  • We have ALL learned to be flexible and be more considerate of what everyone needs…and we all have done our best to see each other succeed and be productive.  Flexibility is not a strong suit for some.  We have learned to make it an everyday occurrence in our home.
  • This has been an amazing time for our family, despite all the tears, frustration, and figuring it all out over the past 6 weeks.  We may never have this much time with our children in this way again.  In a very large way, going back to normal will make me sad as we haven’t had this kind of family time in 8 years.  

I pray despite all the uncertainty, you have been able to be present, show grace, take advantage of this time and soaked it all in: the good and the bad. 

Let go of some control.  Let go of perfectionism.  Let go of worry. 

It’s a time for our children to figure some things out on their own…to grow, learn, become resilient and have fun in the process.  It’s also our time to watch our child fail and flourish – isn’t this what life is all about?  If we aren’t learning, we aren’t growing.

With Much GrADDitude (and the end of 2019-2020 school year),

Kelly

P.S. Have you joined me over in my new Facebook Group – Succeed with ADHD?  I created it to provide you with the answers you’re looking for about ADHD!  CLICK HERE TO JOIN!