Live, Yours Truly

School Daze

October 15, 2013

I thought a lot about how Piran would feel starting school. I was worried about how overwhelming it might be (not too bad actually) how tiring (oh. my. god). I worried that he might struggle to make friends, that he might be shy. Before he started he only knew two other children in a class of 38.

I didn’t spend much time thinking about how it would affect me. It certainly is a shock to the system. The amount of information that I am bombarded with – texts and letters and information on the website. Permission slips and money for this and that. How you organise school dinners. And in the middle of all this information I completely feel set adrift, that I know nothing at all about school. Piran is not forthcoming with information at all. The most I get out of him is what he did in PE (Diggle trail, beanbags and scooters). He will tell me if they had an assembly or not. That’s about it. I have volunteered to go along on a school Autumn Walk next week I hope that will help me get an insight into what happens once those doors are shut. I am so used to picking him up from nursery and hearing from them how his day was that the lack of feedback is so frustrating and hard. I keep trying to make myself believe that no news is good news.

I am feeling my way at the school gates too. My gut reaction is to stand in the corner, wait for Piran to come out and then bolt. I am doing my best to ignore that and make sure that I talk to at least one or two people at each drop off and pick up. I am slowly picking up the children’s names but no one introduces themselves really – we are all Piran’s mum and so and so’s mum.

Piran has had a few issues adjusting to such a lot of people and getting used to the fact that people can sometime be a bit more boisterous and in his face than he would like. He had a falling out with the little boy he used to go to nursery with, and we spent a couple weeks trying to broach the subject with him and get to the bottom of what happened. Many conversations and texts / chats between myself and the other boy’s mum and we have got to the bottom of it I think. There is a truce and they seem to be happy to play together again, although I think Piran does prefer it after school when the mums are around. I couldn’t believe less than 2 weeks after starting school I was having to give him advice and send him off for the day with no indication of what the outcome would be. Gentle questioning sometimes worked but really I am having to let go and just trust him to sort it out himself. He’s just 4, it feels far too soon for all that.

I am slowly adjusting to the routine of school. I suddenly understand what people mean when they say they are really glad the weekend is here, or that they cannot wait for half term. I myself am counting the days because it will be so nice not to have to bargain and cajole and repeat myself a million times trying to get them both sorted and out the door with a million coats and lunches and book bags and water bottles, scooters and helmets. I am literally a pack animal, they refuse to carry anything most of the time. I find that I get incredibly stressed when it comes to getting out of the door in time so I have changed our routine, getting Piran dressed and ready as early as possible. It helps. Kate can be a pain though and I really don’t want to spend every morning shouting at them all. That is a work in progress that is for sure.

I thank my lucky stars that I don’t have to work other than my sewing and self employed blog bits. I feel like I spend all my time just moving people around. If I had to work as well I think my head would explode. I am sure that I will hit my stride and then it will be Christmas and we will all get out of practice and have to start again. I am going to have to adjust my plans to take into account wet weather / cold weather clothes too aren’t I? At this rate I will just be putting him in his uniform at bedtime and letting him sleep in it ready for the morning.

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After school on PE day. Shorts and jumper on back to front. Bless him.

So, does anyone with older children have any pro tips for me? I would love to hear your experiences with your little ones starting school, or a heads up on what to expect next!

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14 Comments

  • Reply Jen aka The Mad House October 15, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    I have a few tips that should help you with Piran. The school gate mums are still a mystery with me.

    Firstly ask for an appointment with his teacher. Explain that you are not getting feedback from him and if you can have an overview of what they are covering this term. The boys school hands out an A3 flyer with topic details, maths and english expectations and ways to help. It was invaluable.

    In order to get the boys to talk we had a new round game we played at dinner time. We made our own music up and pretended we were reporters and we were going to report on our day. It was very corny and some days all I got was we have blah for dinner (I would always check on the school website for the menu, so I could help them).

    I also told them about my day in a reporter type way and guess what I now get to know pretty much everything they do at school. I already knew before parents evening tonight that Mini’s topic was Romans and in English they were making up a myth and that they were concentrating on their descriptive and linking words.

    Keep working on it, make it a habit. Ask probing questions, such as did you have a go at painting today? Did you make anything in the play dough area, can you tell me about the stories you have read today or what is the role play area set up as. This way you will get more out of him and perverse and it will all come together.

    • Reply Kelly October 22, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      Thanks Jen. I have come up with a couple things to get him to talk more which is nice. Today I went on a school walk with his class so I got to know everyone a bit more. I think it is just a shock after a nursery environment.

  • Reply Spencer October 16, 2013 at 9:43 am

    His lack of information about school is natural. You’ll find that you will start to ask the right questions soon to get information about what he has been doing. You bring back memories of when my first started at school. I remember that we did not get to know many of the parents until we held his first birthday party. You’ll find that you get the usual parents along to each others birthday parties.

    • Reply Kelly October 22, 2013 at 8:05 pm

      Thank you, and you were very right, we went to the first birthday party this weekend and it was an opportunity to chat to other parents without everyone rushing in and out of school.

  • Reply PhotoPuddle October 16, 2013 at 11:36 am

    My daughter doesn’t tell me anything about what she did that day… Until bed time. Then when she doesn’t want to go to sleep she tells me everything because she knows I will want to stay in her room and here about her day! She’s settled in so well though and I am so pleased it’s going so well for her. It’s like she’s been at school for years. In fact it’s me that’s has to get used to a new routine. And to get super organised remembering all the things I need to bring in every week. Harvest Festival, charity walks, book week events, non school uniform day, costumes etc, etc. it’s non stop!

    • Reply Kelly October 22, 2013 at 8:06 pm

      That is exactly what Piran has started doing. Also a couple of times he has come to me in the middle of the night and told me things that are obviously on his mind. There is just so many things to remember aren’t there? I am looking forward to half term.

  • Reply dottycookie October 17, 2013 at 8:01 am

    The most helpful thing for me was going in to school to help – if you can spare the time it really makes a huge difference both to the children and to you. I started with an hour a week going and playing maths games with the reception class, toddler in tow (which had the added benefit that when her turn came to start school, it was completely familiar to her) and over the last 8 years (gulp) have increased that so I help in every class at some point during the week, and at half of the lunchtimes. We do have a tiny village school though, so that isn’t typical.

    Oh, and the old chestnut about getting everything ready the night before, and getting the children to bed in plenty of time so they can get up in the morning is annoyingly true 🙂

    Good luck!

    • Reply Kelly October 22, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      I am doing my best with the getting ready the night before – problem is it is the getting them to eat and get dressed which is the hardest!

      I took your advice and helped out with their first school trip today and it really made me feel like I know what goes on a bit more. Thank you.

  • Reply D October 17, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    I agree that the lack of information is frustrating, and it has been that way for me for the last 6 yrs of schooling….”not much” is the response to what did you do today, so I too have started being more creative in how I ask, and ask specific things like “what did you do in math today?” “what was the best/worst thing of the day?” “what surprised you today?” or whatever I can muster.

    As for being “so and so’s mum” I would try being bold and introducing yourself, and in my case saying I would probably forget and ask a few times, but it was nice to have a proper name. I’m not as good at it as I should be but have felt much better when I have done it, or had others ask me mine. It’s nice not to be buried in parenthood so entirely that you lose your own name!

    • Reply Kelly October 22, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      The name thing is huge isn’t it? I am having trouble remembering all the kids names let alone the parents but I am picking them up one by one. I should make sure that I know the ones I speak to regularly before it gets too late to ask and becomes embarrassing!

      I now play a game with him where I tell him one thing I did – say ironing – and he laughs and says that is boring and he then tells me something fun he did today.

      Thank you for your comment.

  • Reply Ellie October 23, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I am going through similar stuff with my eldest now- the difference being this time it is secondary school!!
    You have got some good advice in the earlier comments. I find one of the best ways to get my kids talking about school is to ask “Did anyone in your class do anything crazy in school today?” or “Did anyone in your class do anything naughty in school today?”. Because kids love telling stories of crazy/naughty stuff, this usually gets mine talking!! It also gives you a chance to discuss/deal with any issues to come up.

    • Reply Kelly October 28, 2013 at 7:43 pm

      Ah ha, great idea. Mind you I asked and got a load of gobbledy gook back but that is just the age he is!

  • Reply Rosie October 2, 2014 at 10:40 am

    I know this post of yours is a year old, but I found it today and I am so glad I did. My daughter started school just a few weeks ago and I could have written exactly this about our experience so far. I hate the not knowing – like you the nursery feedback was wonderful but now I’m lucky if I get a brief nod from the teacher at the end of the day. I am so wobbly with it all. Please tell me it gets better! (Or that I will at least get used to it!)

    • Reply Kelly October 4, 2014 at 7:47 am

      Oh yes, yes, yes. It is so overwhelming at the start but it really does get so much easier. My mantra in the end was if there is anything wrong they will tell me, and on the occasions that I felt worried I just grabbed a teacher and asked. We had some weeks where he was so tired his behaviour was horrible – but when I asked the teacher she said he was perfectly fine in school and very well behaved. I found that I got more out of him when I asked specific questions, but usually it was just who he played with and who he sat with at lunch! Hope you feel more in the swing of things soon x

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