Most parents would agree that nothing is normal as a response given by children when asked, “What are you doing?” or “What did you do today?” or similar questions that kids may not be inclined to answer at the time. And many of the same parents would agree that they don’t like hearing that answer. It means either that the children in question were up to no good or something unpleasant happened that they don’t want to talk about. Personally nothing worries me as much as hearing nothing.
When my daughter started kindergarten I’d pick her up and ask how her day went and what she learned that day. Nothing. Most days, that was the response. I had to practically interrogate her in the car on the way home to find out anything. Every day after school once she began first grade was the same. Nothing.
I knew from progress reports, report cards and meetings with the teachers that she was learning things. I sat with her while she worked on homework, and saw that she was learning things. She just didn’t find it interesting enough to talk about or hated it. If she did tell me anything about school it was usually that she either had a green day or not, explaining her behavior, not what she learned. This further concerned me. Was this indicative of the future normal I had to look forward with my daughter?
She is an inquisitiveness, engaging child. I know because with me she questions everything we watch, read or see on our family outings. Sometimes I wish she’d spend more time observing to find her own answers as my brain feels on the brink of meltdown, but I’m still glad she wonders about things. She wants to know and understand, and once she has the answer she loves to explain it over and over again. So how can she spend time in a learning environment and have nothing to tell me about?
This year she is beginning second grade, and this year she is in a new school. She’s been in school for a grand total of 5 days not counting today, and already she has told me more about what she’s learned than the two years previous. Yes, it’s still early. Yes, this isn’t conclusive proof, but it is encouraging. The major difference is that previously she was in a standard public elementary school and now she’s in a Montessori magnet school.
I’m sure there are several parents out there rolling their eyes thinking, well, duh! I’ve done my research, and this was one of the reasons I had wanted my daughter in a Montessori school to begin with. In fact, we had been applying since before she started school because it was impractical for either of my husband or me to home school and maintain any quality standard of living. So now I’m hoping to have heard the last of nothing, or at least a severe reduction in its utterance.
*Photo: After two days in her new school my daughter was inspired to start writing a story on her own. This is page one of chapter one, which has three pages. She started on chapter two this week. She never wanted to do anything after school that involved writing before.