The first term of school is officially over this week and all parents need a big pat on the back for surviving! But the first term is hard, especially if it is your first child and you are starting with limited experience.
My youngest has started this year, and the transition to prep has been much smoother – we were all more familiar with the school environment, the teachers, we knew a few other prep students and families and as parents, we knew what to expect.
First time around, it was much different. Overwhelming would be an understatement.
The amount of paperwork that came home that first term was in hindsight, simply ridiculous. Term planners and fee paperwork – that was to be expected. But further information on other, just as equally important learning and developmental standards and the pure amount of it – was not.
As the year progresses all parents become accustom to the requirements for having a child in school. We learn to manage the drop off and pick up – then the mad rush to work and return. We organise our lives on the weekend to no include meal prep, and squish in all the life admin that is needed that can’t be done Monday-Friday, including kids sports and keeping some form of social life.
But I have to say, whilst everything that school offers is amazing, I think in the current climate of dual working parents, the expectation is getting tougher and tougher.
Sports carnivals, school productions, costume days, cakes stalls, fundraising nights, excursions, camps, extra curriculum school clubs not to mention, mum catch up’s, weekend “get to know you” playdates among many other things.
Whilst I would love to participate in all and every activity that is available it simply isn’t possible. Whilst I would love to be the mum that helps out in the school classroom, volunteers to help with the school production or has their child in the most perfect costume for book week – it just isn’t going to happen. Not because I don’t want to, but because I simply cannot do everything all at the same time. Some weeks getting my kids to school on time is an achievement!
I do wonder that with the changes to family dynamics in the past 5-10 years, where both parents are working more often than not – has the school system thought about this at all?
My son has started receiving homework – which we are able to look at approx. 3-4 times per week, with two of those sessions needing to be on the weekend. Let’s face it, what kids wants to do homework on the weekend? It is a massive struggle to get them engaged. But as parent guideance is needed, this is the only time we can accommodate this. Mid week if we are not walking in the door at 6.30pm and trying to eat, wash and get the kids to bed at a decent hour, then we have sports or family commitments that prevent us for having a spare 30 mins free to sit down for maths or spelling.
Education is extremely important, and something I place a lot of value in, but I do think that it is getting increasingly hard to balance everything that being in a school community requires.
Many families I know struggle with this, some are hiring nanny’s and other support systems to assist – but that option is not viable for everyone.
How do you manage the school year? Please share your tips!