The annual School Is Starting post

Yesterday I donated to Portapure, a group that makes family-sized water purifiers for Haitian families. Donating to this campaign is a really concrete way to help stop cholera in Haiti and give families affordable water. Every little bit helps: http://igg.me/p/be-a-water-hero-purelives-empowering-haitians-to-save-their-own-lives/x/4291744

It’s that time of year again: Time to breathe deeply as kids go back to school. I know that I tend to get a little anxious because of some of the school experiences I’ve had and my older son has had. It’s hard not to bring your own worries into a new school year, especially if your child is like you and runs the risk of having the same issues you may have had in school.

It is completely ok to feel your own feelings, to verbalize your fears, and to talk about your worries about what happened to you and what you fear could happen to your kid. It is also ok to be annoyed or trepidatious or even downright resentful of all the running around and logistical busywork of the beginning of school (School supply lists! A thousand forms in triplicate! Requests for your home phone number when you haven’t had a house phone in five years!).

But it’s also also ok to be happy about a new year and eager for what great things are going to happen for your kid, with a caring teacher or good friends or things they’re excited to learn. 

So: When does school start for you? How are you feeling about it? How are your kids feeling about it? Are you ready? 

I’ll start: We still have 27 days left. I’m feeling good about it, and my kids are happy to still have almost a month left, and I’m as ready as I need to be now. This is the first year in a long time that I haven’t been worried about what’s going to happen to my older son in school, and it’s remarkably relaxing not to wake up with that cold ball of fear in my stomach. 

Now you. 

0 thoughts on “The annual School Is Starting post”

  1. School starts on Monday for us. Kindergarten and 5th grade. Both girls are excited about it. I’m excited about it – I think they’ll both do well and enjoy it. I’m a little something about having to pack up the girls’ cubbies at daycare. We’ve had at least one girl there at any given time since I started back with WOHM in 2004. It’s too big to think about so I’ve been thinking about it in little pieces and mostly focusing on the exciting, adventure part of it.

  2. DS6 starts on the 26th. He’s had a mixed summer-loved academic camp, hated regular day camp, and his best friend moved away. We are double paying for camp this week because we found a dinosaur camp option that was too good to pass up but it was too late to cancel day camp. It’s totally worth it-he loves it and is exhausted at the end of the day (win!). As for 1st grade, since I don’t know much about any of the teachers beyond their webpages, and won’t know who his teacher will be for a few more weeks, my concerns are that he won’t get a teacher who really engages him. He’s easygoing and well behaved and helpful, and tends to fade into the background easily in favor of more high maintenance kids. He did fine in K last year, but he could have been more challenged. We were able to write letters describing the kind of teacher we want for him (but not request anyone) so we’ll see what happens. I think it’s a good school, but I am not sure he couldn’t be more challenged/engaged elsewhere-just not sure where that would be-private? charter? On a very petty note-one of the first grade teachers looks like a supermodel and I’m not sure I could take her seriously (or feel really inadequate when meeting with her) even though I’m sure she’s a good teacher.

  3. My eldest is starting middle school on September 3rd. I effing HATED middle school. HATED. I was always near the top of the class, I was given crap for knowing things, I was isolated when people discovered I believed in evolution (I grew up in a very Catholic town), I was threatened by some girls for beatings for reasons I never knew and my over large front teeth got me the nickname Bucky.

    On one hand, I am a little relieved because our town only has 1 elementary feeding the middle school. She won’t meet too many kids that she doesn’t already know. She has her quirks, she has her enemies and she has her friends.

    On the other hand, she had discovered shaving legs, attitude, and a serious level of self-doubt from hanging with 6-8 graders this summer at camp.

    My younger one is going into 4th grade and I always worry about her. Where her sister has been tagged as gifted, little one has a higher IQ, but a processing disorder that the school refuses to address. She always has friendly people around her, but she takes little bull and has trouble making close friendships. Her ice schedule has been filling up and she is happiest skating, so I think this will bring her some happiness.

    Of COURSE the Jewish High Holy Days are early this year, so school starts on Tuesday and they will both miss classes on the Thursday. Sigh.

    I guess I am not ready..

  4. School starts September 5th for my twin boys. I will admit to being both excited about school so that we can get back to routines and nervous as one of my boys has an ASD diagnosis. They will be going into Senior Kindergarten (where we live kindergarten is two years: Junior Kindergarten when you are four and Senior Kindergarten when you are five). Last year during Junior Kindergarten C. attended a regular program at our local school while his twin F. attend a special education program at a school for children with disabilities. This year F. will integrate into the regular program at our school. I am nervous that F. will be able to keep up and not get lost in the new class, last year his class had 9 students with a teacher and two EAs and this year the class will be 16 students with a teacher and maybe a half time EA (if we are lucky). Plus there is the addition of having the twins attend the same class with the potential silliness that twins can get up to. Fingers crossed for a good year.

  5. Argh, SquareSpace isn’t playing nicely with Google when I try to log in, and my post was lost. My son starts kindergarden on Aug 20. We are very excited, and he is sort of excited. The transition will be eased by the fact that his bf is starting there too, and that it’s a small school and he already knows a handful of other kids there. I’m a bit curious/anxious about how he’s going to handle the school work, because he’s a Very Busy Boy With No Time For Larnin’. The much bigger worry is that hubby may get a new job requiring us to move and I’m not happy about moving our son mid-year to a whole new state that is totally unfamiliar to us in every way. Don’t want to move at all, actually, but…

  6. My son starts K this fall at our local public elementary. I’m a little nervous about it. DS is academically ready but had a rough-ish time at his first "school" experience this year: junior kindergarten at a private school. Tons of structure and lots of rules are not really his cup of tea. And we are putting him in a spanish immersion program to boot. So his teacher will be speaking him in a language he does not understand. I think that’s going to be hard on him at first. On the other hand, it’s a good challenge. He already knows how to read and write, so perhaps this will be something for him to focus on mastering.

  7. DD starts first grade at a new Montessori school in a month. It costs more than her current school… And we moved to the ‘burbs 5 years ago for their public schools, only to learn that things change in 5 years (average class size currently 35?!), so we are now living there for… no reason. Friends at DD’s kindergarten are going elsewhere, so that’s sad. It will be harder to keep in touch, although we will make an effort with her best friend’s family. I am more apprehensive than my daughter, because we haven’t met her new teacher yet, and she was so comfortable and "known" by her teacher and school community. The teacher makes such a difference!! And maybe I’m feeling a bit sad because she so clearly is growing up, in all these fabulous ways, and yet… she is my only child, and her preschool/kindie years were lovely, and they’re over.

  8. Kindergartner starts in 14 days. We were cool about it, pretty excited actually until the calendar flipped over to August and then now we’re starting to get a little nervous. She’s been in full-day preschool, but somehow this feels different, and I’ve been trying to put my finger on why, exactly. I think it has something to do with that we don’t get to hand-pick her teacher/caregiver for the first time ever, and she still is so small and trusting.
    I’m putting off school supply shopping until the last minute, because I know she’ll want to try all of her new pencils and crayons out "just to make sure they work" and then get mad when little brother tries to get them. The two year old is really going to miss her after being together at home all summer. What he doesn’t know is that I’m trying to go back to work soon after school starts. Lots of changes at our house, I’m just trying to make sure they don’t all happen at once 🙂 Good luck everybody.

  9. School starts on Monday for us, though "school" is a Montessori toddler program and my son is two. That said, after three months of juggling various childcare arrangements (including traveling across the country so my mom could watch him during the days), I’m really really looking forward to being back to a more consistent schedule. (Good gawd, look at how parental I’ve become!) Last year was really hard during drop-off’s and I struggled with guilt when I left him in after-care, but with another year of practice (and a summer of chaos) under our belts, I’m feeling good about it all. Plus, we bought all the necessary stuff last year so this year only needed bigger shoes and the tissues/ hand sanitizer stuff. Easy peasy.

  10. I’m moving my daughter (age 2.5) from a full-time daycare center to a preschool (also full-time care) starting right after Labor Day, and I’m nervous about it. She’s been at the same daycare center since she was 9 weeks old, and all the teachers know her. She’s got her little cadre of friends there, and I hate to take her out of that familiar environment. But I know that based on how the age ranges in her current center work, she’s going to be the oldest in her room for a good 4 or 5 months this winter, and I know that she was unhappy with that last year when it happened when she was in the toddler room. She’s very verbal and it kills her to not be able to talk with other kids – and there are only a few others her age, who are boys and not very verbal yet, and then a big gap between them and the next younger group.

    Her new preschool is a good place, but it’s a big change from the small classroom she’s been in with kids all her age to a larger mixed-age group – and they have 3 classrooms that all mix together at times, like on the playground. She’ll be one of the littlest, and she’s slow to warm up to new people. So I have all kinds of fears that it’s just not going to work out. Yet I’m pretty sure that it will in the longer run, and that she’ll love being part of a bigger community. It’s just nerve-wracking trying to anticipate it and figure out how I can make the transition as smoothly for her as possible. We have started talking about "new school" and she already asked if her friends would be there, so she is thinking about it.

  11. I’m anxious this year. My older daughter is going into 4th grade and while she’s very happy at her school (and we’ve had great teachers), there’s a movement to eradicate math leveling, which will really hurt her. She’s a bright kid and the main thing she learned in 3rd grade (while in the top level) was how to take the state’s standardized tests. She enjoys math and brings her frustrations home when she’s bored, so I’m sort of dreading that. I do feel good that her gifted teacher is on our side and will do whatever she can to help, but I’m just not sure how it is all going to play out. I also worry about her socially – she’s been sort of oblivious to the "mean girl" stuff that started to emerge in 3rd grade and I’m hoping hoping hoping that she’ll successfully navigate those waters this year.

    My younger daughter is starting kindergarten and I’m feeling melancholic about that, even though she’s very excited to go to school every day. Her kindergarten program is at the preschool, so it is a familiar environment and I’m confident she’ll be happy this year.

    Meanwhile, I’m taking a lot of deep breaths.

    I donate regularly to Partners In Health, another organization working to address problems in Haiti.

  12. My oldest starts preschool two weeks from tomorrow. It’s a co-op, and we’ve had to jump through what feels like a lot of hoops to get ready – tons of forms to fill out, TB test for my daughter, TB test and physical for me, since I’ll be volunteering in her classroom, trying to contact the scheduler to make sure the days I have to volunteer fit in with the days my husband has off so he can watch our youngest. Just seems like a lot to get my daughter out of the house for 6 hours a week. And worse, the kids are required to be potty trained, which stressed me out to no end when we first signed her up in the spring, but lo and behold, she finished training pretty much without any pushing from me right after her sister was born in June. Should have known it was too good to last. We’ve now regressed, she’s had several accidents, we’re back in diapers at night, and I really blew it getting mad a couple of times when she wouldn’t go and wouldn’t go after I’d asked her repeatedly, then stood there and peed on the floor. Now I’m lucky if I can get her to wear her underwear during the day, and I’ve had to reassure her again and again that neither I nor her teacher nor anyone else will be getting mad if she leaks or has an accident. But – she IS fully capable of making it to the potty on her own, and I’m hoping the peer pressure of seeing everyone else do it, and not having me there nagging her will help her remember/be willing to go at school if she needs to. If she gets kicked out for that, I’m gonna be pretty ticked. Mainly because I know she’s ready for school, that she needs the stimulation outside of the house, and that she’s going to love it, if we can just get through the first week or so.

  13. School starts in a week & I am excited for my 3rd grader but he has developed random stomach aches, specific jaw pain (which sent him to bed early during a camp out with all his friends), leg pain, malaise. My head is telling me it is all in his head and related to the start of school. My heart is worried there is actually something going on(growth, maybe).

    School will be great. 3rd grade starts true differentiated/clustered instruction and I am so glad.

  14. School starts in 10 days for my oldest, and my little one is too young, so no big change there. I’m dreading the return of school for my oldest. I feel less confident each year that I chose the right school for our family. Our approach to school (and maybe parenting?) is based on what we saw growing up. My husband and I are from a different part of country plus older than many of the other parents, and I feel out of sync. My oldest has not yet had a teacher that he clicked with, and I feel sad that he doesn’t love or even like any part of school. While his grades are fine, good even, he gets into minor trouble in terms of behavior/social skills. His last teacher diagnosed him with "a minor case of ADHD," but something doesn’t sit right with me with that label. While I’m trying to respect the teacher’s significant amount of experience with kids, I felt like it was an excuse to expect less academically from my child, rather than a "here’s how we approach his education in spite of ADHD." I’m trying to go with the flow for my child’s sake and learn what I can from this experience for my sake, but this is so much harder than I thought it would be.

  15. Already trying to manage my anxiety about a new school year for my soon to be 2nd grader! I had an overall sad & bad time all through childhood. I have not figured everyting out yet but just enrolled her in PT day camp to help us all get ready for next months’ routine. 1st grade transition surprized us because it was pretty tough.It makes me sick in my stomach thinking of going back to the school she loves: feeling inadequate and not a yoga mom. An added bonus: we are about to be foreclosed on in 4 to 6 months & we are broke & have not come up with plan. Don’t like sounding so pathetic but this is my life. Good luck!

  16. I worry a lot about my eldest son, too. I’ve worried about his environment since he was a baby – I knew right away how sensitive he is to environment, and he can’t function well where there is chaos or unruly behavior. He’s been thriving in a Montessori school. We’ve just moved and faced the dilemma of whether or not to send him to public kinder at a great public school. In the end, I panicked and decided to send him to private school. This seems kind of ridiculous – financially and otherwise. I wish I could feel comfortable sending him to public school; it seems so precious of me to refuse to send him. But how I worry about him. I know much of this is wrapped up in my own very miserable public elementary experience. I don’t want that to happen to him! On the up side, he had a great summer – he was in summer school, not camp, and he learned to read (I’m a big believer in year round school), so he’s been really happy as opposed to last summer where he was so bored in day camp and miserable in the heat/humidity. And he’ll have the same teach this fall, so I’m not worried about the transition. I think I’ve managed to sort out the most tangled logistics of my school year – finding someone to pick them up after school and bring them home, which I prefer to leaving them in aftercare (which is weirdly also more expensive for the two of them than a babysitter). We’ll see. I’m going back to school myself (I teach), so August is always a time of stressful energy.

  17. School doesn’t start until the first week of September in England, so basically we are at the start of the hols. Ds will be going into year 4, Dd into year 2. .Last year was a tough year for my son, who was still behind having jumped 2 years because of our move from Italy. He worked damn hard, and as a result is now comfortably where he should be for his age. Am not saying that he should rest on his laurels, but at least this year there won’t be the stress of getting him up to par.
    The only down side will be the commute to school which will be mainily on public trasport. Particularly annoying on days where they have extra-curricular activities after school , but couln’t bear the thought of uprooting the kids once again to send them to a closer school.

  18. the 5yo is starting Kindergarten. My first foray into the public school system as a parent, so I’m anxious already. Plus, prek didn’t go that great and summer camp was an epic FAIL with lots of behavior problems. Camp ended early as we and the director decided it wasn’t working for either party.
    He’s got work to do on his social skills and I just pray that his teacher and the school help him navigate that path, instead of coming down on him (did I mention summer camp?).

  19. DS starts K on Aug 30th. Mostly now it’s fear of the unknown. How will the school be? Will he get a good teacher? How will he integrate socially? Will I even know if he’s having issues? DS is very sensitive and bright. I really want him to have a great first experience with school. I’m a bit nervous about our ability to distinguish between knowing when we need to speak up for our son and knowing when we just have to help him deal with a new challenge he is facing. Perhaps nothing major will come up. Or I’ll know how to deal with it.

    But this feels like the phase when you get a new apartment or house. You’ve signed the lease or the mortgage and given up your old space. But, you are still living in your old space and haven’t yet moved to your new space. So, essentially you are grieving what you’ll miss from the past, but not yet aware of the great things of the future because you haven’t experienced it yet. Have I mentioned that I love our current daycare? 🙂 Because of his sensitivity, and our experiences of some people/educators/administrators so not getting it in the past, I generally don’t assume that they will get it or know what to do with it. I don’t assume they won’t either. But yeah, fear of the unknown. I can deal with what I know. But so hard to deal with what I don’t know.

    And other days/moments I am calm and confident that everything will be fine. Just trying to enjoy the end of the summer and keep things even-keeled for all of us.

  20. DS starts K on Aug 30th. Mostly now it’s fear of the unknown. How will the school be? Will he get a good teacher? How will he integrate socially? Will I even know if he’s having issues? DS is very sensitive and bright. I really want him to have a great first experience with school. I’m a bit nervous about our ability to distinguish between knowing when we need to speak up for our son and knowing when we just have to help him deal with a new challenge he is facing. Perhaps nothing major will come up. Or I’ll know how to deal with it.

    But this feels like the phase when you get a new apartment or house. You’ve signed the lease or the mortgage and given up your old space. But, you are still living in your old space and haven’t yet moved to your new space. So, essentially you are grieving what you’ll miss from the past, but not yet aware of the great things of the future because you haven’t experienced it yet. Have I mentioned that I love our current daycare? 🙂 Because of his sensitivity, and our experiences of some people/educators/administrators so not getting it in the past, I generally don’t assume that they will get it or know what to do with it. I don’t assume they won’t either. But yeah, fear of the unknown. I can deal with what I know. But so hard to deal with what I don’t know.

    And other days/moments I am calm and confident that everything will be fine. Just trying to enjoy the end of the summer and keep things even-keeled for all of us.

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