What I learned from my child's first year of school

May 19, 2016

My oldest baby has competed his first year in school, actual school. Kindergarten is done. Because of our move we had to pull him a couple weeks early, but that didn't seem to be too big of a deal. The last couple weeks are more play than anything. I can still remember the first day of school for Ace. I was a thousand times more nervous than he was. I had so many thoughts and emotions running through my head. You see Ace is quite the shy child when out of my grasp. This is how it has always been since his first year of pre-k. He is the ever so kind, respectful, and great listener to his teacher. I don't get that version of him at home, but I am happy that those are the actions he displays at school. Truth is, he is wound a little tight while he is there. Ace is anxious at school. He is anxious about unknown situations. He is cautious, he analyzes the people and things around him and assesses his level of comfort, then he moves in for the kill. I admire this about him. 

But sending him off to school for a full day away from me was hard. I was afraid that he may not feel comfortable with his teachers to ask for help, or go to them when there is a problem. Would he be too shy to ask someone to play? What about other kids, will they be mean? How will he handle being excluded on the playground? Packing lunches, what if I give him something he can't open, will he ask for help? I mean so many questions run through your mind, stupid or not, you just want to protect your baby. This is the first time, at least for me, that I would not be there every step of the way. That he may or may not be influenced by others. That his feelings might get hurt. 

All of these fears could come true, and then he could really love it. 

In the beginning it was an everyday battle to get him to go. He would say things like "but mom I am away from you for so long" or "when I look for you, you're not there". This broke my heart. But it is all a learning process and I had to learn to let go too. Talking with some of the other moms gave me assurance that they were feeling and going through many of the same things. 

So, what did I learn from kindergarten this year?

-Kindergarten is a lot of work for the parents. I am talking projects, homework, snacks, party supplies, volunteering, and just the general staying on top of things. Free dress days, crazy hair days, days off school, forgotten lunches, spending lots of time at the lost and found for a pair of gloves that never seem to stay on. I am not complaining about the work that comes home, it is all part of having kids, you just kind of go.....okay, am I making this damn Valentine's Day box or are you? You need how many cookies baked by Friday? And I'm sorry can you please give me the list of allergies for the snacks one more time? 

-Your child will learn things from other kids that will make you go....huh? Once you do your morning send off, that's it. Get back to your car and hope for the best. Most of the things Ace comes home and tells me are hilarious. The drama starts young. You kind of have to reiterate that just because someone else says something doesn't mean you can say it. There is a lot of just be kind and respectful, dinner conversations. 

-The school is going to teach your child one way, and they may not exactly learn that way. Be your child's advocate!! I seriously cannot stress this enough. We all don't learn the same way, we are all wired differently, maybe something needs to be explained a different way in order for it to click. I respect and admire teachers, and kindergarten teachers get a special place in my heart. It is hard enough homeschooling Pierce for a couple hours a day, times that by 20 and no thank you. So I can understand that they are teaching the way that fits the schools curriculum and standards. But kids are not a standardized test. And if your name happens to be Ace you have to dive a little deeper for him to be like okay, that makes sense. You can't just tell him 2+2=4 he wants to know why, and how, and who came up with it. So speak up for your child, tell his or her teacher that at home we are doing this, or he or she really seems to respond to visuals. Kindergarten is jam packed with information, and it moves quickly. All of a sudden your child is spelling words by sounding them out, he is reading, he is writing....a lot, he is test taking, and when he gets overwhelmed so will you. So slow down. 

-Kindergarten is all about learning. For your child and you. I learned so much about Ace this last year. How he learns, what he is really interested in (math, which is quite shocking). He is so open about things, and I hope and pray our relationship stays that way as he gets older. I learned so much about myself. Mainly that I have the propensity to go to prison if someone hurts my child. All those mama bear instincts come charging out the second you find out someone was mean to your kid, or a teacher yelled at them, or your child cried at school. I learned that I always need to take a step back and really play off of Ace's emotions. He is the one that has to go to school everyday. And I just always want to be a support system for him, and all my kids when they are in school.

-Lunches!!! Lunches are the bane of my existence. Lunch making is a daunting task, and now I understand why my parents paid for us to get hot lunch three times a week growing up. The lunch making is ridiculous. I highly suggest to moms who's children are starting kindergarten next year to Pinterest, Google, whatever else you can search to find fun lunch ideas. Trust me your child does not want a sandwich everyday for the next nine months. Ace is a pretty adventurous eater, so I had fun mixing it up for him. But, sometimes he would come home and tell me he hated his lunch and I wanted to just throw the lunch box in the air and say I give up, eat grass!!

I think the only other thing I can say about kindergarten is, buy a really big fridge! Or make a wall for your child's art work. Because they come home with A LOT! And Ace always wants to keep everything. Some stuff I of course kept, but I would try and rotate out the old with the new and just hope he didn't ask me where his Thanksgiving hat was, or why his Christmas tree was taken down. I also kept his first and last math test. Just little things I will want to show him later.

All in all, I cannot believe I have a first grader! It all goes by so fast. So enjoy the kindergarten days when your child makes a mad dash to you after school to give you a hug. You know, before they are too cool to kiss their mom in front of their friends.


5 comments:

  1. Oh my god reading this. Girl. I'm feeling so much of this. Excellent advice and I'm sure you may need to talk me off a ledge or a hundred next year. 😢

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  2. He is such a rad kid, I love this post!

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  3. This is a fabulous post! Each child will be different.

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  4. Thanks for the tips. My oldest starts kindergarten in the Fall and I'm a nervous wreck.

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