Can we chill with the “rigor” already?

College and career ready. Rigor. Test Scores. Proficient. Above Grade Level. Honors.

As a 2017 mom, these words have been buzzing in my ear since my kid was in pre-k.

“He better be reading by kindergarten or he’ll be behind! Get him in pre-school! Get him in tutoring! Make sure he’s well-rounded with sports or music! Push! Push! Push! PUSH!”


At every transition, advice starts pouring in from well-meaning parents and teachers. It’s usually about how “hard” the next level of school/life will be, and that we better prep, prep, prep, prep!

You know what? At each transition, I’ve found it to be nowhere near as bad as it was made out to sound. Thankfully! But all the buzz words are stressful.

My oldest is undergoing one of those transitional periods now – elementary school to middle school. Currently, we are both being bombarded with messages of “homework is crazy hard! If you aren’t extremely organized, you will fail. You better pick an instrument in 6th grade like all the other kids! It is a music school, you know! We are known for our honors classes here, and they are a LOT of work!”

As a dyslexia mom, here’s what I want him to know: 

  • Change is hard, but it can also be amazing.
  • Yes, you’ll have more responsibilities, but also a bit more freedom.
  • If you mess up, it’s okay. Brush it off and try again. Ask for help.
  • You’ll have the chance to choose interests that you love – like a musical instrument, sports or art. You can even take Spanish, coding or a robotics club!
  • Many more kids will be using some form of computer so you won’t be singled out due to needing your assistive tech for dyslexia
  • Everyone will be feeling a bit stressed over the transition, so you won’t be alone. Lean on one another.
  • Teachers are there to help you. You won’t be expected to know it all on day one – or even week one.
  • You will more than likely *love* it, especially if you find your nitch.

I hope my message can get through all the noise …

Change can be scary, but that it’s also part of life. It’s nearly always okay. And sometimes even fun!

Let’s just chill a bit. And I’d be fine if we threw out that word “rigor.” Because the most important lesson kids can learn for future success is to not fear the unknown, to roll with the punches, and to get up after falling down. That’s true career readiness.

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