Mom Perspective: Top 9 4th grade lessons learned

May 2017 | by rebecca stewart

It’s the last day of school, I’ve put my girl on the school bus for the last time this 2016-’17 school year. So we’re here, that time of year when this mama pulls together a list of the lessons learned throughout the school year. As we close out this chapter on 4th grade, I’m slightly amused at the juxtaposition of first day of school mom versus last day of school mom. Admittedly, first day of school mom is a hot mess. I put on a brave face during drop off, but then it is all the tears. Last day of school mom is giddy. Leaping, dancing, singing. I am completely ignoring the fact that next year she is heading off to middle school – first day of school mom can worry about that. For now, let’s take a look back at these lessons learned in 4th grade…

Top 9 4th Grade Lessons Learned

9. We hit double digits this year. It was startling, that realization that we could potentially only have eight more years with her at home. Eight teeny, tiny, impossibly short years. It’s madness; I don’t know how else to describe it.

8. At the beginning of the school year it was all about Rubik’s Cubes (not sure if this was America’s Got Talent-related, or if that tricky puzzle was just due for a comeback), but there was a distinct shift by the end of the year, now THE thing that’s all the rage? Fidget Spinners. …P.S. I am trying, but I still don’t totally get “the dab.”

7. Early in the school year my sister-friend who was also a 4th grade teacher said something to me that was a total game-changer. I was stressing out about our turtle of a girl being speedy enough to meet the goals of the timed math fact challenges at school. (Working at home was MISERABLE). So, she basically said to me: Don’t worry about her speed at home when she’s studying her math facts. It’s more important that they get memorized, so it becomes second nature, so don’t make her sit on one forever trying to figure it out, give her the answer, move forward, then circle back. I can’t tell you how much pressure that took off. Game. Changer.

6. If I were to assign a hashtag to this 4th grade year, it would be #goals. Before the school year started and throughout, my girl outlined things she wanted to accomplish this year. From grades to pushing herself to conquer some of her shyness. This is definitely going to be an official thing moving forward.

5. I think we’ll call this lesson: I’m sorry, Mom. These t(w)een years, man…It’s so many different things. It’s incredible and crazy; it’s a rollercoaster. I have realized it is going to be crucial for me to work REALLY hard on how I react and respond to things. So many hormones.

4. Milestones. We spend a lot of time worrying about when and how our kids are hitting them. As I watched my girl zip around on her bike the other day, I realized, for the most part, I (still) just need to breathe, and trust. They won’t go to college with a binky or in a diaper, they will read the books, learn the math, ride the bike…

3. More than once this year, I could feel bouts of panic starting to rise as it felt like we are starting to really enter the high stakes rounds of parenting. There are so many conversations to have and a feeling that I don’t really know what I’m doing. I’m not sure where the lesson is here, except I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this, which leads me to…

2. There is no fair weather fan-ing in parenting. I knew this of course, but the point was really driven home yesterday as I sat in the stands, freezing in the wind at the 3rd/4th grade track and field day. We are their biggest fans – in every aspect of their lives. We see them through all the things; it doesn’t matter if there are so many big emotions because we are boringly predictable in our unconditional love and showing up for them in every way that matters. We will survive the rollercoaster ride that is the t(w)een years.

1. How lucky is it that this #1 spot is always able to go to my girl’s teacher? We have been ridiculously blessed with the teachers in our daughter’s life, and this year was no different. Ms. Griffith supported and believed in our girl at every turn. At conference time, she said something to us that stuck with me: It’s doesn’t matter how long it takes to get there, it’s that you get there in the end. Meaning, it’s okay if it takes a while for a lesson to sink in, or if there are missteps along the way, as long as you keep working hard, asking question; you are capable and you will get there. I was looking at her Diary of a 4th Grader: End of the Year Memory Book, and in response to “What is the absolute BEST thing about your school?” she answered, “Miss Griffith.” There you go.

Have the most spectacular and safe summer; see you in middle school!