Monday, 7 January 2013

Back to School: Ready or Not

Don't tell anyone, but speaking as a Mum of young boys, I'm not quite ready for 'Back to School'.

Anyone else with me? No? All you Mums out there over excited at the thought of getting your days back? Eagerly pushing your little bearers of over laden back-packs out the door? Uhuh.

back to school
I've packed their bags. Written their names on the labels of their new clothes and rinsed out their drinking bottles, which have been lingering in the back of a kitchen cupboard all Summer.

Our boys Pre school opens on Wednesday and it's my youngest boy Nate's first day. I am thus far definitely finding it harder than him. In fact, harder than when his older brother Tallen started and much harder than I thought it would be also.

Don't Take My Baby!

He's turning three in April, so to me - he's two and still my babby. Not nearly three or even two and a half. More like "but he's only TWOOOO!!" in a wailing voice. Same as Hubby refers to Tallen, who turned five last September, as "nearly six" and I refer to him as "just turned five". Funny huh?

I know, it's a normal Mummy thing and if I'm totally honest with myself, I am ready to get my days back. I Mean, just in writing this post I've had to stop and deal with an issue of some kind between the boys, usually fighting over something, about six or seven times and I've just pleaded with Tallen to "play quietly so I can get on with my work!!". They are demanding of my time, much as I love them so. I was pregnant with Nate before Tallen started pre school, so it's been a fair wee while since I had any kid free days. I have p-l-enty to do to occupy my time so I don't worry that I'll be stuck for anything to do, rather that I'll miss them. That, coupled with a feeling of regret that I didn't make the most of those years with them at home with me.

I Can't Teach Them

I'm intelligent, I understand the need for schooling and I get that pre school is a good chance to get children used to the routines of school and learning as well seeing the importance to the social side of their lives. Here in SA, pre school is where our children learn vital pre school skills and lessons as well as vital life skills and learning tools.

But you know what? There's a place deep inside of me. A quiet place where a single voice of reason rings out if I take the time to listen. That voice is me. I believe in that voice. Sometimes I choose to ignore it, I hate to do so, but sometimes I choose to.

And right now the voice tells me that there's something not quite right with an education system that only works if for the next 13 years my sons spend more time with the folks at school during the week than they do with their family. I know, in readiness for the five day working week and all but - guess what? I have issue with that too! (Another post some time).

I kind of get folk who home school. Especially pre schoolers. I don't think I could do it myself and I think for me, the boys work better in a peer group where others are leading an example and they're making friends at the same time. I'm certain they'll do better at school than on their own at home with me. But I do kind of want to go and shake the hands of parents that do it and ask them a load of questions. I think I understand why they do it.

Just Not Enough Time

THIRTEEN YEARS and my boys will spend, on average, 40 of their 60 waking hours Monday to Friday at, or travelling to and from, school. I get only 20 hours a week of my sons time? That's FOUR HOURS A DAY!! And I have to fit dinner, bathtime and bedtime in there somewhere too? And when they're older, I'll be lucky to get a ten minute chat over dinner before they head off to friends/afterschool activities/homework/head ducked in front of a screen.

I better get used to it quick, a half day at pre school already seems too long! And we were going to move schools this year, to one nearer our new house, but decided against it when we found out that our local school insists that no child may be collected until 5 P.M.!! I get that you need to have some rules about collection times, folks days are so different that a school can be interrupted every ten minutes by a parent wanting to collect a child. But really? You want to tell me that if I drop my two year old off at 8 a.m., I cannot collect him again until 5?? So we threw away the school application form and decided to leave the boys where they are, to hell with the 30 minute drive.

Bouncy Jumping Castle
More of This Please.
So ... four hours a day. When are we going to talk and watch movies together? Make cakes, jump, blow bubbles and squirt each other with water? Read books I haven't introduced them to yet, play games I haven't played with them yet? When do I find the time to teach them all the stuff I haven't taught them yet? Not the important lessony stuff they teach at school, stuff about their family, about the world, about life.

I'M NOT DONE YET!!! Ah me.

I've been lazy really, wasted my time with them. Hindsight? You smug bastard you.

Scheduled Fun, Anyone?

But no fear, it'll make me more efficient of my time with them. Damnit man those four hours a day and weekends and holidays will be planned to within an inch of their lives you better believe it.

I'm drawing up schedules, working out best times to involve all and best times for one on one stuff. AND I've dug out one of my old White Boards and found one pen that still works. Wish me luck, it could very easily all go to pot I do appreciate that.

But what do you think, do I hit them with the water cannons as Daddy drives them in the gate on Wednesday afternoon? Or let them get out of the car first?