Parenting

How is your family adjusting to the new school-year routine?

Tracy recaps the first month of her family's busy new schedule.

Photo by Snaxboy via Flickr.

It was only a month ago we were clinging onto the final easygoing days of summer, gearing up for our last lovely long weekend. Backpacks and lunch bags and running shoes, shining in their newness, sat neatly by the door. But not needed. Not quite yet.

It feels like in the blink of an eye, September has swept by. Here, we have plunged into our new school-year routine with a few bumps, but mostly — thankfully — it has been smooth sailing. The biggest complication, really, has been my uncharacteristically busy month at work, but the kids have embraced their new schedules with enthusiasm.

Avery, who took a full month to get comfortable in her new daycare after starting in July, was switched to a new room at the start of the month because she turned four and was starting the JK program. I wondered if she’d have trouble adjusting all over again, but she loves her new teachers and the idea of being a “real JK.” Whew. They have started a Jolly Phonics program and even went on a bear hunt last week. The night before, Avery was a bit concerned. “There’s a bear at school and tomorrow we’re going to find him!” she whispered with wide, worried eyes. At the end of their hunt around the centre, she was amused (and relieved) to discover that the bear was stuffed.

Similarly, Anna has thrown herself into Grade One and seems thrilled with school, as well as the after-school program she goes to on my work days. She comes home each day telling me how great school was, pulling out her agenda and unpacking her lunch bag. Lunches have been surprisingly easy so far. Anna has developed a love for tuna in a pita with lettuce (the smell of tuna makes me want to vomit, but I love that she enjoys it, so I shall suffer through it), and is happy with her snack combos of crackers, fruit, carrots with dip, pretzels, yogurt, etc. I keep waiting for it to come to a screeching halt as she decides she hates all that food, but at least we got through Month One. And Pizza Fridays start this week, so we’re all excited about that.

I also wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of homework, but so far, it’s just been 15 minutes of reading each night and a few fun activities. She’s had to do surveys about her family’s likes and dislikes, read things aloud to us, and each Monday, she has Show and Tell, but she’s expected to prepare a one-minute “presentation” for her item. As someone who grew up shy to speak in front of others, I’m thrilled that Anna will be doing this each week. At the school’s open house, Anna’s teacher said she was very bright and a very hard worker, but tends to rush. We heard this before from her JK teacher, who told us she often had to ask Anna: “Did I ask you to do a fast job, or a good job?”

Yesterday, a woman posted a question on Twitter to ask when school drop-off would get easier with her new kindergartner. The hashtags were #heartbreak and #impatient. This is something I can relate to, and told her so. Anna often comes across as a very chatty, outgoing girl, but she is definitely an introvert and it shows up in social situations with her peers. This is probably another whole post altogether, but she still likes us to wait with her in the schoolyard until the bell rings. I know I need to wean her off, because when we’re there, she just wants to stand with us, and makes no effort to socialize with the other kids. Anna does struggle a little, socially, and I don’t want to hold her back. At the same time, will she just stand alone if we don’t stay with her? It’s probably time to find out.

Overall, I’m feeling great about the kids and their first month. Our activities are starting up gradually — both girls started hockey last weekend, swimming starts this week and Sparks for Anna next week — so I’m glad we’ve had most of this month to focus on school and easing into our new routine.

How has the first month of school gone at your house?

Tweet me: @T_Chappell

Photo by Snaxboy via Flickr.