3 things I want my kid to learn at school but worry he won't

I loved the academic part of school as a kid. My son doesn’t always. I am struggling with the gap: Is it our family’s fault for not providing the right structure? Is it a maturity thing? Is it the school’s problem? These are the questions that keep me up at night sometimes. Here’s my wish list for September, regardless:

1. It’s okay to be a boy
Before I had a school-aged child, I have to tell you that I would have called articles like this one over at TIME, School Has Become Too Hostile to Boys, fear-mongering. Now I’m not sure.

2. Hard work doesn’t have to be torture
I think our schools are reasonably good at giving kids the message that learning is fun (some of the time anyway), and that sometimes you have to sit down and do your homework. What we’re not always great at is connecting the two.

I totally get that it is hard for a teacher to be up on each child’s interests, but my son’s approach to work when he understands why he’s learning something, or how it connects to, say, grocery shopping, is much different than when he is handed a worksheet.

I also worry that homework is ruining our lives, but that’s another post.

3. Not everyone learns the same way…and that’s okay
My son learns best with his hands: Moving objects around, writing about things that are right in front of him, acting out stories with Lego people. School doesn’t always support that, even in areas like math where I think manipulable objects are great for almost all kids.

Of course I don’t share these concerns with my just-about-8-year-old. Instead I focus on the things we control, like the great life lessons we chose for our downloadable notes, below. And maybe that’s something I need to learn: Focus on the positive.

What do you hope your child learns at school this year?

Download the notes below (larger versions) right here!