I've been a teacher for longer than I've been a mother. I'm sure it's because of this that I had certain views about how I was going to raise my children and 'help' them with their learning. I was a high achiever at school but struggled socially. I wanted my children to be able to succeed in all areas of school (well, maybe not PE, there are no strong sporting genes on either side of our families!).
So when Imogen was born and we realised that she would need extra, we lept in and gave her that extra. From 2 weeks of age we were learning how much extra that was going to be. It paid off though. Imogen met all her milestones on par with her peers and is still achieving in most areas on par.
It did however make me reconsider how much I was going to push my kids to learn. I was always told as a child that my brother and I could read, write, add, subtract, multiply and divide all before we went to school. Apparently we went through pasta as counters at a rate of knots. I knew that placing this expectation on my own children was not going to work. It no longer sat well with my parenting ideals.
So for Stella I knew I wasn't going to push her to read or write. The same is certainly the same for our youngest, Adele. The funniest thing has occured though. Stella is now completing maths well beyond her age group. Adele is reading better than kids 12-18 months older than her. The reason why?
We put so much effort into Imogen that she is the one who values reading and writing. She has a wonderful work ethic, a thirst for knowledge. She is often teaching her younger sisters. Imogen has certainly taught me, to be a better mother and a better teacher. We have all been taught to be grateful for the little things, each small achievement. Going slow in Holland can be a very rewarding thing.
Our two youngest girls are exceeding BECAUSE of Imogen. As parents we are driven to be better BECAUSE of Imogen. As teachers we are more compassionate BECAUSE of Imogen.
How dull would our life have been without her?