Back To School


I’d be honored if you considered liking my Facebook page! And if you’d like to receive email updates straight to your inbox, please make sure to sign up to the right. fist-day-of-school It seems my plan of casual avoidance of back to school talk, for the most part worked.  The subject of school barely got brought up until the day before, quite literally.  It just so happened that the day before back-to-school was also Hayden’s birthday, and our first tear of the new school year was shed.

Taylor: “But mom, now I can’t even enjoy Hayden’s birthday because of school!  I won’t be able to spend time with him!”

Me: “But Taylor, you’re home all day with him, you don’t go back to school till tomorrow so we have all day to celebrate.  I don’t understand your concern.”

Taylor: “But now I’ll just be thinking about it all day and I won’t be able to enjoy myself!”

It appears that the apple truly does not fall far from the tree, because I truly understood what she meant.

It turns out that the anticipation of worry is usually worse than the worry inducing thing in the first place.  We’ve been “back to school” for over two weeks now and our routine is slowly falling back into place.

It seems that school is growing on Syd, and he’s for the most part, cheerful about going, even if he’s not always cheery in the morning.  He loves his teacher, and she is in fact the same teacher he had last year.  The school had some classroom and teacher reassignments and his old Kinder teacher was assigned to run the new K1 combo class.  We were asked last year if we wanted Syd to participate, and after talking it over with each other, his speech therapist and the teacher herself, we decided to go for it.  It would give Syd the opportunity to further advance in his speech, so that by the time he reached 2nd grade he would be fully, or close enough to being fully caught up.  His speech this year would not seem so ordinary in half a classroom of kinders.  It would also give him the chance to take on a bit of a leadership role, thus boosting his confidence, and since he’s a great independent worker, overall it seemed like a good fit.  We’re all happy it seems to be working out.  Do you have combo classes in your schools, and if so, have your children ever participated in them?

Taylor was assigned to a teacher I hadn’t heard of before but who many people rave about, upon hearing who she got.  I have made it a point to not hover and trust that the teachers at her school are all great, and no matter who she gets she’s lucky.  Therefore I haven’t made inquiries into higher grade level teachers, nor have I ever made requests or asked that she be placed with specific teachers or friends.  Art and I have both felt that we should let the cards fall where they may and hope for the best.  It has worked out each year and this year seems to be as well.

Initially when I saw the class roster I noticed that none of her carryover friends were in the class, and in fact I didn’t even recognize 21 out of 24 of the kids.  I came home after the first day of school drop off and wrung my hands and literally started crying to Art that she was going to be so sad and contemplated how this could have happened.  Keep in mind that Taylor hadn’t seem to taken note that none of her “friends” were in her class.  I was, per usual, talked off the ledge and told to have faith that it would all work out.  So far it has.

Aside from a brief mention that a few of her friends were all together and how lucky they were, Taylor doesn’t seem to mind her class lacks the comfort of built-in friendships, and actually seems to really be enjoying her teacher.

We’ve tried not to push the idea of “best friends” on Taylor and have in fact kept 99% of our social activities outside of school, with friends who do not go to her school.  All summer long she only saw one school friend, once.  We didn’t set up play dates and didn’t get asked to them either.

The negative person in me wants to jump to worrying about that scenario, and ask why no one thought to invite her over.  But when it boils down to it, I’m happy that for now her strong friendship roots are in family and friends outside of school.  She has plenty of friends at school, she just doesn’t spend a lot of time with them outside of school.  As a kid, the only friends I had were school friends, and as we got older and quarrels grew ever increasing, those quarrels carried into school and made for a sad experience that probably hurt my learning.  I’m hoping that by keeping her foundation rooted in outside-of-school friends, these issues won’t come up as much.  Maybe I’m just being naive and it’ll all blow up in my face, but for my girl’s sake I hope it doesn’t.  How do you all handle school versus outside of school friendships?

It’s still hard for some people to understand that some kids don’t like school.  On the first day I was explaining to a fellow school mom how nervous Art and I both were for a new school year, and all the tears it may bring.  When I explain that my kids, rather one in particular, isn’t such a fan of school, she looked at me with that shocked, kind of squinty face that conveys pure disbelief, and just said, “Huh?” I think she may have almost said “I don’t get it.”

Not all kids love school.  Some kids just love being home.  This does not make my kids future delinquents of America, and does not make me a bad mom because she’d rather stay home and read in her comfy bed.  Nor does it make me a good mom that she’d rather stay home in her comfy bed in this fabulously loving home which she never wants to leave.  It just is what it is, quite simply, and those of us who have to deal with kids who don’t love school are a sad lot.  We worry that they’re sad or lonely or anxious at school, we wonder if these stressors are going to inhibit learning.  We hate hearing the whining and moaning the night before and the morning of school.  We hate the battles that erupt, the talking through and all the hand holding.  It’s hard and the best thing you can do, if you have a friend with a kid like this, is just support them.  Unless you have personal experience that may actually be beneficial because it worked for you personally, don’t offer suggestions about how they can get their kids to love school.  And for goodness sake don’t look at them like they have two heads when you explain the troubles you have getting your kid to school some days.

If you have a kid who doesn’t love school, and you’ve just started, hang in there.  It does get better and easier with time, for both you and them.  The crying and fights will dwindle down and eventually they’ll be almost gone completely.  Long breaks like school holidays, 3 day weekends and vacations will make going back to school tougher than usual, and Mondays can be hard, so be sensitive to that.  But other than that, just hang on and continue to encourage them.  It will get better and easier, I promise.

So that’s how back to school has been going for us.  How about you guys?

Oh, and Taylor was late to school today, the 9th day of school.  And we live right across from the school, literally.  Guarantee it won’t be the last time.  We need a new system in the morning.  How’s that for awesome parenting?

Andrea is the founder of For The Love Of, a lifestyle blog dedicated to approachable, modern living. She writes about style, her love of DIY, and living a healthier life through wholesome, nutritious cooking. She is also a regular contributor at Babble. Get in touch: Facebook, Twitter You can find Andrea on Instagram @andreavhowe and @gwynethmademedoit

  • Kristi says:

    Nice to know someone else struggles with their child not liking school. My son just started 6th grade and after 5 weeks still struggles with his daily reality. No tears this year – yahoo, but still it makes me sad.

  • stephanie gorman says:

    I too have children who do not love school,my kindergarten & 4th grader would much rather be hanging at home or playing outside. I actually understand how they feel, school now a days is a lot of work and they really do not get much “playtime”, plus home is pretty cool.

    I’m sure in time they’llgrow to like it,I can only hope:)

  • Amber says:

    So Cam had NO friends in her class last year AND was in a 5/6 combo class with a new teacher.. I was a wreck! But she ended up doing well even though the teacher turned out to be terrible and had to be replaced mid year. She made new friends some of which are in her class this year but I was so proud of how well she adjusted and learned so much about herself!
    I think that in the formative years having closer “outside” friends can be more valuable than “school friends” as it seems (in particular for girls) that it helps to bolster their self esteem and not have them all wrapped up in who’s doing what when they’re supposed to be learning. On the flops side of that I used to wonder why she want always invited over either and I honestly think its one of two things a) they all know each other from birth and the moms are friends b) sports
    Now as she’s getting older the girls are starting to make plans on their own and we don’t have to be as involved. It all evens out in the end I think…..but hey, I’m only 11years in… I’ll let you know how it goes.

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