Michael, soon to be a freshman, son took a few moments out of his busy ( read, not really that busy) schedule to get his backpack in order. Our school system starts the day after Labor Day or September 8th.

I poured out of the store bags, all of the items that we had picked up for him for the year. Out came folders, spiral notebooks and pencils.

I watched for a moment as he took the haphazard pile of stuff and started to organize it. I then left to do something else and when I came back in he was done and asked me to look at it.

I noticed that he put things in his main binder in the way that he could easily find them and they way they worked for him. Maybe I would have not put the notebooks in the folders but it was his way. And it works for him.

Prior to doing this little project, we took the time to create a work space for Michael. One that would serve him well for nightly homework as well as a good place if (and let’s be honest…when) his school will go to remote learning. He and I had to talk about where we wanted to make this space.

He has a desk in his room but COVID learning taught us that that room is not really his best learning space. We also know from experience that being a one of the main floor rooms doesn’t work because of all the noises and distractions. So we decided on a space that offers a compromise so he is not alone but not distracted. We then brought the desk to that room and set it up.

My offerings from these events are:

-I think that knowing the way your child does things may not be your way or the way they learn may not be your way ( I am better in a quiet space) but that it is okay.

-And as much as we want to help our children learn and achieve it has to be done, my opinion here, with a nod to their opinion and choices. Maybe they do best right after school to do homework, maybe like mine, not until after dinner.

-Our way works for us.. theirs works for them. I can remember telling Emily, our oldest, then 13, just how to organize her room for the sake of getting organized and staying that way. So we did it MY way and I was so happy but it didn’t stay that way because I was really putting my way above any ideas she had. ( I am not proud of this moment but I will say for a short while that room looked great)

-I think that realizing the importance of listening to our children, typical or those with special needs, in the way they best communicate, is so important. It helps in creating a “team” approach to making some decisions together. Be them big or small. Decisions that can make life just that much smoother and easier.

The school year this year will be challenging. PERIOD so when things or issues come up, I want to know the thoughts and feelings of my children and I want them to know that their words and emotions matter. And that we can work through issues and situations together.

I wish everyone a peaceful week. Please wear a mask. I do for my mom and other’s who could get really ill.

Michele Gianetti