With the summer days now slipping away from us, especially with this blast of fall-like temperatures (I have faith that we will see a few more summer-like days), we have entered the next “season” of the year, School!!! For some parent’s this is a time for rejoicing, a return to structure, routine, less child-care cost, the list goes on and on. While for other parent’s it somewhat a dreaded time of year, gone are the days of spontaneous road trips, time spent at the park, lazy days at the beach, pj day’s, the return of battling over homework, or packing lunches. For me the last 2 are the big ones, and well simply, I enjoy spending time with my girls. I love snuggle time, park time, giggle time, no pressure, no routines all of that stuff. I like being the one in charge of our day to day activities, opposed to those put upon us at school. I KNOW I KNOW, they need to learn, they need to read and write, add and subtract, I get all that, really I do.
This is my 16 th year as a Back 2 School Mom, and I have to say that after the first 3 years, it got old very fast. LOL!! And to think I only have another, 15 years to go, if my youngest stays for a 5th year of high school!! **GASP** Let me give you a bit of a run down on what our school years have looked like so far!! HA, this is fun!!
- 1998 Lacey started Senior Kindergarten (we skipped JK),
- 2004 Lacey was in Grade 4, Danielle started Junior Kindergarten
- 2007 Lacey was in Grade 9, Danielle was in Grade 4, Olivia started Junior Kindergarten
- 2010 Lacey should have been Grade 12, Danielle was in Grade 7, Olivia in Grade 2, Mya started Junior Kindergarten
- 2011 Lacey (working), Danielle IS in Grade 8, Olivia is IN Grade 3, Mya is IN Senior Kindergarten, Keisha is STARTING Junior Kindergarten
This year, 2011, is the ONLY year I will have all of my school age children in the same school. This is the last year, that Danielle, will be in school with any of her siblings. HA HA!! Yeah, life around the Moore household is ALWAYS interesting!! I could technically be a grandmother before all of my children have graduated highschool!! **fainting now** LOL!! Actually, Peter and I have had many discussions about this, only to laugh hysterically, and shake our heads. When Lacey started school, I was the youngest Mom in her class, while with Keisha starting this year, I will likely be one of the oldest mom’s in the class, at a whooping 39!! LOL!!
School for us has always been a struggle, between school yard bullies, racism, ridiculous calls phone from teachers, planner signing, homework notes, threats of expulsion, irate teachers, I would gladly take summer for a little longer and a little less school. On the flip side to that coin though, there have been many positives as well, my girls can read and write, add and subtract, have made some friends, participated in school sports, plays, singing competitions, attended mass, they can speak a little french, know the provinces of Canada. But I have to be 100% honest and say, that I don’t know if the good outweighs the bad.
Beggars can’t be choosers though, is how the saying goes, and since we can’t financially afford to home-school our babies, we have to help them get through each day of school the best we can. The tricky part is the balance of it all, to balance out the school day and home life, so they can have a little of the best of both worlds. The focus on school vs. the focus on family-life, is not an easy thing to juggle. I strongly believe that after 7 hours of school (which is a child’s WORK day), when that final bell rings, work is over for them. Much the same as the adult world, we go to work for our allotted time frame, and we come home. YES YES, I realize A LOT of adults, bring work home, but is that what we want for our children, to create future workaholics?? Or do we want to foster and nurture well-rounded individuals??
Here is how I see it, each day during the school year, I send my girls off to work at 8:30 every morning, to return home from work at 3:30, by this time of the day, they are tired, cranky and hungry each and every one of them. From the 13 year old in Grade 8 to the 4 year old in Junior Kindergarten (or she will be after next Monday when she starts), they have had a full day of having information drilled into their heads. On top of all the learning they done, they have also had to deal with all the social moments of being a kid as well, some-days are better than others, some-days are smoother than others, and then there are the days that are just downright awful, which I think, we can all say we have been through with our children at some point or another. Why then, is it necessary to have homework on top of all of that??? I’ve heard all kinds of arguments for why homework is good for kids, it teaches them time management skills, responsibility, raises the expectation levels, blah blah blah. However, what happened to family life, extra-curricular activities, or simply just some “down-time”?
Here is an example, last night (first day of school), my 13 year old had over an hour of math homework, I will admit, some of that time was spent chatting about the day, fighting with her sisters, and then simply struggling with the work. Our standard rule is homework is done as soon as you get home, get a snack, and get at it, that way it’s done and you are left with some free time. But when the homework cuts into any reasonable amount of free time, where is the balance?? That hour plus of homework, delayed dinner, postponed a continued game a Disney Monopoly with her sisters and dad, caused fighting and tears for more than one member of the family, delayed some around the house work that was going to be done as a group, plus, that same 13 year old is calling herself stupid, because she doesn’t know how to do the work. And this is a good thing??? Where is the balance?? As a parent, trying to teach my girls, simple life lessons on a daily basis, how does this fit in?? It doesn’t really, other than, sometimes things aren’t fair and yeah sometimes it sucks. That’s not particularly the message I want to be teaching my girls on a daily basis.
The homework load was only about 30 minutes tonight, however, it didn’t get started until 9:30 at night, which means she’s going to bed a little too late. Family time needed to come first tonight, big sister was coming for dinner, we needed to tidy, prepare dinner, and visit!! These things are IMPORTANT. So where’s the balance???? I have already written in her planner for tomorrow, letting her teacher know that she has a soccer game, in Guelph, that we are leaving at 4pm not to be home until after 10pm, and that any assigned homework, will likely not be done. Because in MY opinion, for my children, having a life outside of school is just as important as going to school. All of these things, will help to round them into exceptional adults, and useful members of society. The key to all of it is B-A-L-A-N-C-E!!
Back to school pictures will have to wait for another day …. it’s time for this un-balanced chicka to get to bed!!