I don’t know what it is. Jackson just struggles with reading and spelling.
His confidence is shaky, he’s afraid to disappoint himself (or us) and he doesn’t want to fail. The struggle is a real, physical thing for him. It changes his body language and his facial expressions.
The last two spelling lists he’s gotten 3 out of 10 right, and 4 out of 10 right. He’s been embarrassed to show me. It could be he’s a boy and he’s six; it could be that he has hearing aids and this is part of the reality of that. But there is NO WAY that I’m letting some short list of words take away the love for learning we’ve been building up for almost 7 years. He’s a smart kid and something is hindering him. There’s a missing connection somewhere.
So when that list came home on Monday, we were ready. Together, Jackson and I have been putting an extraordinary amount of time into homework and his vocabulary list. He has written them out, over and over; I have written them out, over and over, both on paper and a dry erase board. We have spelled them in the car. We’ve made up stories. We’ve studied more on this that I did on most of my tests in high school!
The list looks like my cookbook on the Texas Sheet Cake page. Well-worn.
Last night, we put in almost two hours. He went to bed only getting 50% right. Man, I could tell he was disappointed. I was disappointed. So I switched gears. I told him that it’s really about doing his best. He knows he’s put in so much time and hard work! He knows the words, but to take it slow and remember our silly stories about putting ‘e’ at the end of words and how the letter ‘h’ likes to hang out with everyone this week. We prayed about it sitting on his airplane blanket, surrounded by his stuffed animals.
He woke up this morning, took a shower and then wanted to go over them again. So we did. We refreshed his memory on the white board and spelled words out loud on the car ride to school. I gave him the biggest pep talk about how “he’s got this” and “he knows them so well” and how proud I am of him.
Driving home from drop off, I just remembered. I didn’t feed him breakfast.
And there’s the lesson. When Jackson comes home from school and he’s missed one or two, or all of them, it’s going to be ok. Because we all make mistakes. We can put in the time, work harder than ever, pray about it and it still may not turn about how we want it to. But that’s okay. It’s part of the process. I am not perfect and if that spelling test isn’t either…it’s going to be okay. Because even Mommy’s make mistakes.
I’m so proud of him for showing up anyway.