School wrapped up at the beginning of June for our family.
It was a long, intense year full of studying, quizzes, AR books and exams. In fact, for the last two weeks of the year, I had to give up blogging to become a full-time study partner.
I haven't spent a lot of time talking about this, but part of what makes it tough for the school year is the amount of time that both of our daughters study. I blame a lot of this on Common Core and the scramble of teachers trying to reach 'goals'. The teachers are so busy being assessed on teaching and keeping the very full class moving, that most every day, 2 hours of homework comes home. On a typical day, both girls will come home from school, eat a snack (or five!) and hit the books. During this past year, we had a 5th and a 7th grader. Imagining the amount of time that they had to study, how young they both still are, and you can imagine the amount of time that was full of stress in our home. I fear for the upcoming year because I remember the difficulty of 6th grade and who knows what 8th grade will bring us.
Now, counter the above with nights filled with blood sugar checks, days of CGM alarms, kids trying to balance school life while taking care of their type 1 diabetes - all by themselves, blood sugars from 39 to 459 mg/dl during the year, and the rest of the myriad of things that happen while living with chronic illness and you will know why I am so proud...
Both of my girls rounded out their year with the highest of academic honors. My oldest received straight A's in all of her classes and was given academic scholarship awards as well as honor roll awards. My youngest received straight A's and one B+, plus 4's (exceeds grade level) in her non-core classes. Beyond that, they both had teachers send home comments about outstanding work and consistent hard worker. Citizenship was also commended through their support of helping classmates.
All of this left them with the identity of being a 'smart kid'. Who knows how this will play out in the future but I like that they have pride in their achievements and in themselves.
I also love this; when their dad asked them how they fit in at school (semi-serious talk about cliques and growing pains), both girls said that they saw themselves as leaders.
Their defining moment was not t1d and had nothing to do with chronic illness but it had everything to do with their hard work.
I am still learning and certainly do not have the answers, but maybe this boost of self confidence at an age riddled with doubt, is why it is important to do well at school and to be validated for the effort. Because in order to do well and receive that validation, t1d has to be taken care of first.
Maybe this is something to consider for all of us embarking onto young adult life. I know there is no magic answer but I am optimistic that we continue to find ways that work to help the girls feel good about themselves and t1d. I would love to be the one family that can say, "and we never went to back to the hospital after diagnosis. "
To be continued as we forge ahead through the rest of the teen years..... but for now, time to have some summer fun!