Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Our First Half-Term at Big School

This article was first published on The Vegetarian Experience on 20th October 2011

Today marks the end of eldest's first half-term in reception. It has been a huge learning curve and lots of change for all of us as a family, moving from the baby stage into handing our child over to the education system for a large proportion of the week. So this is what I have learnt so far......
  1. Eldest loves school - she has been so sad that she has to have a week off. I wonder if this will still be the case in a few years! Her teacher says that she has settled in really well which is always good.
  2. The younger sibling desperately misses her playmate - I had been so concentrated on getting eldest to settle into school, It didn't even cross my mind that the younger sibling would find it harder than the eldest.
  3. I now have no idea what happens for most of my child's week. She tells me what she has for lunch, and everything else, she either can't remember or won't tell me. I just glean random information every now and then.
  4. Keep Everything for Craft Supplies- cereal boxes, milk bottles, toilet rolls, bottle tops, egg boxes. Everything has a use in reception.
  5. White T-shirt plus paint equals stained t-shirts - The Ariel "one wash" stain removing promise is a complete fallacy. White for school uniform is not a good idea. Anyone who has to wash the uniform would have picked a more sensible colour.
  6. I have no say in who eldest plays or mixes with. There will always be that child in the class who you are not keen for your child to be friends with and then lo and behold, they attach themselves to your child.
  7. There is a good chance that I may be bankrupted before the end of the school year. Money for this, money for that, we may have to sell the house to fund the 'optional' donations we are being asked for. However optional they are, you don't want to deprive your child by not paying.
  8. I am not, and never will be cut out for the school run. I remember my own school days, where my mother had to virtually drag me out of bed by throwing cold water over me every morning because I just could not wake up for school. As an adult, nothing has changed. I def wouldn't manage the school run without hubby around.
  9. Trying to integrate with the school yard Mums is just like being back at school with lots of different groups and cliques. Enough said.
  10. 9-3 is not enough time in the day to get anything done. I thought having a child at school would leave me with more free time. It turns out, it really doesn't. Six hours goes so quickly when you also have a small one to look after.
  11. My life is now twice as busy as it ever was before there is something school related on every week - Assembly, parents evening, literacy evening, dress up day, dress down day, cake sale, raffle, tombola, harvest, school fayre. I have run around for 6 weeks trying to keep up.
  12. The school has a great community - As it is a small school with only 45 kids in the whole school, everyone knows everyone else which is quite nice as eldest has also made friends with some lovely older kids.
  13. The PTA is a good way to get to know the other mums and get a sense of how the school runs. After promising myself that I wouldn't take on anything else in my already ridiculously busy life, I have somehow found myself on the PTA.
  14. Organisation is the key to getting out of the house on time in the morning. Iron school uniform in advance and get stuff ready the night before. I have a bucket in eldest's room with 5 socks, 5 lots of underwear and her school uniform in, so it is all in one place and she knows that she has to dress herself as soon as she wakes up. I have also put up hangers by the front door and given the kids a shoe box each so that they know where their stuff is when we are rushing out of the door.
  15. Its all a juggling act. School is another plate to juggle along with everything else. Yesterday my day consisted of this:
Get up, wash hair. Get kids sorted, find school bag & books, locate reading books, fight with kids over scarf & hat wearing, breakfast. Try to get kids out the door, school run, childcare drop off, tutorial all day, m&s, pick kids up, cook tea, clean house, eat tea whilst making cakes for school cake sale, kids bath, off to NCT branch meeting, come home ice & decorate cakes for school cake sale, clean kitchen.....COLLAPSE

So that's it. I hope that your kids enjoyed their first half term as much as mine did. We really enjoyed integrating into school life, but I know that I and the youngest shall enjoy having eldest to ourselves for the next week and we are already thinking of lots of fun things to do together.

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