Don’t get me wrong, I like summer vacation. But we thrive on routine. It's back to school, and this year I have four kids attending the same school! (All the praise hands). I currently have a kindergartner, third, fourth, and fifth grader -- and they all love school.
Just like me, they like knowing exactly how the day is going to be, starting with waking up in the morning. They wear uniforms, which we all love. For me, it's less stress. For the kids, they know exactly what they're going to wear -- everyone has their uniform and accessories ready the night before, which helps so much! (To be honest, if we're running late in the morning, most of the time it's because they are waiting on me.) It’s a bit chaotic at times of course, but once we get the routine down it really goes smoothly.
We’ve been in about two weeks now and this is where we are:
First day, went in like a champ and smiled big for his obligatory first day of kindergarten picture with his teacher and siblings. Shockingly, no tears at all. He was excited -- his big brother and sisters have been pumping him up for this. Disclosure: As much as I love all my kids in school now, I actually found myself not quite ready! I had many feelings, especially, “I can’t believe I’m going through kindergarten again,” because, let’s face it moms, Kindergarten is a milestone year. After making sure he was good, the next step for me was to make sure his IEP was still in place, and they were ready to role on it. This sweet baby of mine is developmentally and speech delayed, so he just needs a little extra help. I am making sure the teachers and principal remembers that as well. So far, so good.
She was ready, had her backpack in tow, and was like, "Peace out, mama!" She has the same teacher her older siblings had, so we were all thrilled with that; to her, seeing that teacher everyday was already routine. This helped her walk right in with confidence. She was glowing, excited to see her friends, and show off the new jewelry in her ears (fresh ear piercing). She really is a big girl now!
This one is my super independent child. She already knew one of her teachers and was excited to meet the other ones. She saw some of her friends from last year. Before taking a seat, she scanned the room -- almost like an investigator. In her words, she was, "Seeing where all the important things were located that I’d need." See, Miss Independent! Although she loves school, there was a bit of surprise about homework assigned on the very first day. Welcome to fourth grade and your new routine!
Now this one I wasn’t ready for, mainly because the school the kids attend goes through 7th grade. Therefore, fifth grade is considered Middle School (um what?!). Of course, he now thinks he’s big man on campus, compared to his younger siblings. In fifth grade they change classes. Of course, when I found that out, my prayer is that he makes it to the right room, with the right teacher, at the right time, everyday! Thankfully, I was reassured it would be no problem because the class moves together and so far he's been really liking the change. My kid is growing up!
And now, let's chat about homework. Because with four kids needing some assistance, it can be a juggling act. Especially trying to get dinner on the table and do all the other things that need to get done after we get home. My kids go to aftercare. If the work is something they can work on independently, the expectation is to get it done during aftercare. When we get home, I’ll check it. Normally this works well with spelling and vocabulary words. Math, though, is usually done at home with me.
The older kids also have a reading log and have to read 30 minutes a day. How do we do this you ask? One child reads their book aloud on the car ride home, which is usually 30 mins or so. This means one done! The other reads to me while I fix dinner, so that's two down! And the third reads to me before bed. This also works well, because the kindergartener is around for the bedtime reading, so he’s getting listening time as well.
I also made them all a chalkboard wall a couple of years ago, which has helped tremendously with spelling words. Each kid has a section to write their words down, and it’s in a common area where we all pass through every day. With four kids, it's the routine (and occasional life hacks), that makes us love being back to school!