Mom's top 8 3rd grade lessons learned

May 2016 | by rebecca stewart

With that beautiful last day of school looming, it’s time again for this mama to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned this 3rd grade year (a tradition started back in kindergarten). This school year was a bit of a rollercoaster ride for our girl, and every time my mama bear worries threatened to overwhelm, my husband was right to remind me, “This could be good for her.” (Look at him! Seeing challenges as an opportunity for growth – and here I always thought I was the glass half full part of our equation). There was certainly not a shortage of lessons learned for mom this year, now let’s see if I can whittle it down to eight…

Top 8 3rd Grade Lessons Learned (for mom)

8. My baby is officially a big kid. This has been kind of a dawning realization, fully cemented in as I watched our girl run around with a bunch of “littles” at a graduation party recently…She’s all kinds of tall and in that crazy in-between zone where she's definitely not a little, not quite a big, except in these situations where she’s clearly the “big kid” to be looked up to. Whaaat?!

7. P.S. and FYI: Our children are always listening. On that note, 3rd graders, apparently, are not immune to discussing politics. For the love…My poor kid was in tears, genuinely terrified that our world would basically come to end should a certain candidate be elected. Good times.

6. Moving forward, I think an assignment notebook is going to be our thing. This whole, “I just forgot,” business only works if you’re Little Critter in a Mercer Mayer book.

5. Having to live through homework again (and all of those types of math that traumatized me as a kid) was an aspect of parenthood that I never really thought through…How did we ever make it through school without Google, I ask you?!

4. Speaking of homework…It doesn’t have to be all mom, all the time. Dad brings something completely different to the table. Like a basic understanding of math. Helpful. Plus being able to tag him in when the girl and I can’t get on the same page, not too shabby.

3. To trust my instincts. I know my kid – we know her – and whether it’s following through and digging deeper when something feels off with her or advocating for her, we’ve gotta trust our instincts.

2. Adaptability. This school year has been one long lesson in adaptability. Change is hard, but as my husband reminded me, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. We had our share of rough spots, but in the end, our girl eventually dug in and got it done.

1. I’ve always reserved the number one spot for my girl’s teacher. In fact, not too long into the school year, I made note of this:

Crying all the tears with her teacher. To have someone love your child and want to see her succeed, but to also support you as her parent supporting her…Amazing.

But this year has been unique (hence that lesson in adaptability), as her (truly phenomenal) teacher retired in December, which led us to a short-term sub to see us to winter break, followed by the long-term sub who would take the class through the remainder of the school year. I can only offer my kudos to each of these women who shared their heart and their gifts with this class. It’s not always been easy, I know, but it has indeed been an opportunity for growth, and hear me when I say, she's loved all of her teachers this year. Our girl discovered a love for science this year. She struggled, she worked, she was seen and heard and pushed – we all worked hard to help her, not just find, but really use her voice. She’s not ready for the year to end. Thank you, teachers, for all you do and all you’ve done.

It’s been something special watching our girl grow this year, she learned some serious life lessons, too; ones that I think only serve to help create the solid foundation for the person she’s going to be in this world. And so, we say, “See ya later 3rd grade! Bring it on 4th grade, we’re ready!”

Wishing you and yours a funtastical, safe summer!

In case you want to take a trip down memory lane with my lessons learned from K-2nd: