Monday, January 28, 2013

And so it starts. Extra-mural activities and so on.

My kids have now completed four days of school - three before we went for our holidays and today.

Every day they come home with paper.

To be more precise, brochures advertising activities.

On day 1, it was cute. (dance lessons)

On day 2, I noticed the trend (some ball skills thing)

On day 3, a request from the teacher to send a blanket and swimming aids.

And then today, I sent Nanny S with a note to request some forms and they came home with those forms plus two more activities (karate and soccer).

I said to nanny S, "what on earth is ALL THIS?" and she politely says, "they said we have to choose one per kid".

I like to mess with her because she's such a rule follower (a really good thing in a nanny) so I said, "and what if I say they both can't do anything?"

I followed it up by saying I need to phone the principal and then D and I will discuss it.

So that's where we're at.

I love you too, Baby
And Connor's being a bear

Thing is, I am that rare species of mother who hates organised activities.

My kids are 3.5 years and we've never taken them to a single activity or class. I like to believe that our awesomeness is enough :)

Not clamber club, kindermusic, swim lessons, moms and tots, nothing.

Or none things as Kendra would say!

I don't have anything against these things, per se. Okay, I lie - I do think a whole bunch of them are a money-making racket and that they play on the modern mother's feelings to "do the very best for your child".

I was planning to ask K about ballet when she turns 4 since that's when I started ballet. Ballet has been, hands down, one of the best things for me - it taught me such self-discipline, determination and a fantastic work ethic (can you still see it in my life?). I always loved a bit of attention so I didn't need ballet for confidence / self-esteem issues.

See the coffee table to the left of Connor? Here's the full repurpose - cot to coffee table

Nevertheless, my plans have been brought forward with the arrival of all these school papers.

The most beautiful thing about all these activities is they each come to the school on a specific day in the mornings (can you hear the angels sing?) so this will not affect our free and very precious time on the weekends one little bit.


BTW, D said to me, we need a place to put all these papers and I said, "we do have a place" and lifted the bin to show him. HAHAHA (but I'm serious).

Other than that, things are going swimmingly. There's been absolutely no crying.

Today I got a tiny sliver of a detail from K. They painted today. Without aprons (this is huge for them) and "we didn't mess, Mummy".

I asked them about their snack and Connor says, "we don't get snacks at school". He means snacks the way I do them, in cute little bowls with yoghurt and cut-up fruit, hot cross bun, etc.

I said, "did you not get a sandwich?"

C No! K Yes, we did - bread with jam!

I better go make friends with the teachers so I can find out some things - I can't hound the principal with emails all the time but I need to know because I'm insanely curious as to what goes on there.

Do your kids tell you what they get up to?

I love this pic - Connor realised I'd stopped walking and turned to see what I was up to
PS I had a great day! Will tell you all about it tomorrow.


  1. Oh yes - always lots of notes about new activities here too.

    Getting info about the school day - this technique worked for me .... ask a specific question - such as "who did you sit beside today" or "what was the story about today?" and gradually you would get a wee bit more info.

    If the question was too general - I got nothing!

  2. I've worked with 3-5 year olds since I was 15. They can tell some of the most outlandish tales! LOL I had one child come to school one day in tears telling me that her father had left the family and was never coming back. Fortunately, her parents had taken time to get to know me, so I hesitantly asked her mom when she picked her up. Her mom was completely shocked ... her daddy was sitting outside sitting in the car with baby brother! We never did figure out where she came up with this tale. .... While this was the most shocking story .... I've had the little guys tell me everything to news about visits from relatives that were dead or non-existant, impending siblings, outlandish pets (including a pet alligator), abuses that obviously didn't happen (mom pushed me down the stairs and broke my leg last night .... but child is obviously fine .... yeah, I asked about that one, turns out mom had leaned over to pick up her purse after struggling with the locked door and bumped the boy who was standing on the small step behind his mom and he had tumbled over into the grass ... a whole 2 steps down), trips to all kinds of locations, imaginary friends, strange foods ... and so much more. I could keep you rolling for hours with laughter.

    I use to tell my parents, "I promise to only believe half of what your child tells me goes on at your house, if you promise to only believe half of what they tell you goes on at school." And if it was really outlandish, I tried to remember to check with the parents.

  3. OH her piggy tails! LOVE!

    The twins preschool sends home sheets each day with details of what they've done, if they were talkative, had a good day, used the potty, etc.

  4. LOL! The boys did Playball at that age... it's the only one I'd pay for when they're that little.

  5. Little OL has also come home with arm loads of brochures and I am enrolling her in .... NONE. Actually her school has advised against it for the little kids and especially those that are new to the school. They say if we really want to enrol them in something then rather wait till the 2nd term when they are more settled. But preferably the 2nd year.

    I have also never enrolled her in any organised activity. I believe that she gets enough stimulation at school/day care and at home. She is still only little anyway and has enough time to do all those kinds of things as she gets older.

  6. Love the flip flops shot :) I have no idea on what it's going to be like trying to get information out of Kade when he starts school but from everything I've read it won't be easy ;)


  7. I will defend Moms and Tots a little - I love going with Jack - we have a great time and I am lucky to have a really awesome group :))

    I loathed the beginning of the year for all these letters about the million things they can do. It is unneccesary. I limited each of mine to two things per term and one had to be swimming ;-p

  8. With 4 children we did the one activity a year rule, and only when the children were older. We also tried to find something that at least two of them enjoyed together in order to cut down on driving and required that they continued the activity for an entire year. No flitting from thing to thing. We did baseball, music lessons and band.

  9. We have enrolled Jada in Monkeynastics....and will probably enroll her for Ballet when she is three. Fortunately, her school only offers Monkeynastics, computers, ballet and yoga....At least they are all in school hours, so my weekends are free

  10. The only thing I've organised before is swimming lessons, and although I am not oppsed to them in principle I can see that it's just not practical for us at the moment. I paid for 10 lessons but she was only well enough to attend half of them, no refund. So for now all swimming lessons will be conducted by me myself until whenever, either she learns to swim properly, or I think she's ready to give the lessons another more serious go.

    They sent a whole handful of brochures at her school last year too, but I decided that she was too young. This year they've limited them quite a bit. the principal sat in one one session each and only allowed the ones she felt was worthwhile to come back this year. I do like that, no I don't have to go and audition them all myself!

    I've enrolled her for something called WhambaJam this year. It's supposed to be all about music, dancing and playing - which I just know that she'll get a kick out of. They did one demo session at school and she came home telling me all about it and how much she loved it. We'll see how it goes, they start next week.

    I don't think I'll go for more than one such activity a year though, so next year when the brochures come I'm going to let her pick her own - but she has to stick it out for the full year. This year I still made the decision for her (before she even came to tell me how much she enjoyed it that was already the one I picked for her).

    I like your bin idea - hahaha! That's where I put them too. ;-)

    1. Do not trust Tanya Southern at WhambaJam. She is an internet bully that wished death upon my friend, who said that PUBLIC breastfeeding was inappropriate. She never said anything about breastfeeding in general, as obviously that is a necessity. But she felt that in public it is not okay to expose your breast at a lingerie store. She never said anything cruel. But Tanya targeted her online, private messaged her, and said "I wish you would die and have no family" and then said that she said, "I wish you would drop dead of breast cancer, you whore", and then said " you are one disgusting human". She also refused to apologize, and has wished death upon my good friend. She said many hurtful, harmful things to her. Someone this cruel should NOT be around your children. She even wrote my friend back, after she said only nice things back to her, Tanya replied "hahahha yeah right". She is twistedly evil, and of course she is showing a facade since you are a paying customer. This may sound crazy but I can copy and paste or even take a screen shot of the stuff Tanya said to my friend. I do NOT stick up for internet bullying, and I am very hurt by it. We are advocates here for internet bullying, and people that are CAPABLE of internet bullying are also capable of harmful attitudes towards your children , when you're not around. Or perhaps not, but do you see what kind of person she is?

    2. And I just realized I worded that a little confusingly in the begging. My friend was the one who was against PUBLIC breastfeeding, and simply commented her opinion on a victoria secret picture on Facebook. My friend, Aliane, said that she's against public breastfeeding... of course Aliane supports regular breastfeeding, but in the USA it is not appropriate publicly. She even clarified and over explained that to Tanya, to even apologize for offending Tanya by calling it gross (only to do it in public). Of course she does not think it is gross to do it at home or in private. Tanya knows what was written. Aliane still has the information of her post on Facebook, and everything Tanya wrote to her, if you want to see it.

  11. Ok I am going to admit that we are parents that complain when they say max 3 activities at school. Maybe they would like to do 4? Ok we are not into overloading the kids but we do believe that early exposure means less failure in future. I was also not big on early things like moms and miracles (I did a bit with A but with twins it is totally impracticle in any event.)

    Our golden rules are - they must still have time to "just play", they must "want to do it" - no forcing and we decide how many (in their school all kids attend one sample class of each acticity), and it must be at the school (convenience). The boys last year did Miki Maths (brilliant programme btw) and a sports class that most kids in the school do . Afternoons was rugby and pottery. Pottery because C so much wanted to do it and with L the OT recommended it. This year the boys do Judo (once again recommended for L and C after his evaluation), Playball (good general ball skills programme - A did it and it really works) and L does pottery (we decided for him - he did Miki Maths grade RR last year so we will skip this year) while C does Experibuddies which he chose himself - we let him do one choice (a science programme - he did Miki maths grade R last year already so we are skipping it this year). All the boys do rugby as part of the school's general programme

    A does way too many things but she loves it and is old enough to know what her limits are. She wisely dropped art this year as it clashes with the half year extra Wednesday ballet classes - she has swimming, ballet, drama, netball and hockey.

    I do admit that we take the boys top swimming on our own on a Tuesday at 5 - a huge inconvenience but we do believe it is the most important skill a child can ever learn.

    My advice - become buddies with the teachers. That is why I like to drop off or collect. I get to know what happens. Then ask them what they think may lack in the general programme. Also ask what most kids are doing - it helps them to become part of the group. For instance, most of L's class' boys do Judo - it bonds them as a group. Swimming if an option would be my first choice and you know how I feel about ballet. Every year in the school's grade R parent meeting the parents ask the school's foundation pahse head what are goos activities for a child. She always aanswers that every child is different and will enjoy or need different stimulation but she always adds that every year she can recognize the ballet girls and the Judo and Karate boys and girls in her grade 1 class as they know how to listen, follow direction and have discipline already.

    ( I will show you what I do with school letters!)

  12. I get a lot of those pamphlets too but only allow one activity per child because of what we can afford. And you're right, I think, that this is a money making scheme. It can become SO expensive.
    Love the photos of them :)

  13. I haven't put A & M in organized activities yet, either. I do love the idea that they get to do those things during school, though! I remember taking dance at my preschool, but I don't think they do that anymore here.

    I was going to put them in gymnastics last fall, but we decided to wait....probably until they are in kindergarten, so the money we currently pay for MDO can go toward the gymnastics (I just about choked when I realized it would be $80/month for the two of them for classes!).

  14. Like the way he looks at her..... slowly learning the ropes :-)

  15. Beautiful photos of your little ones. I know Leane takes ballet, gymnastics, swimming and pottery...some little ones WANT to do it all.

  16. I have a post in drafts about extra-murals. I'll publish it tomorrow or Thursday.
    Joel does not talk abut his day. Even if I ask. We are working on it.

    Joshua does. Only if I ask. OR if something REALLY exciting happened. OR if there’s a social activity coming up. OR if he needs something for school. I don’t know if it’s a boy thing or a Julia’s kids thing. I DO make an effort to ask leading questions. It DOES make a difference.

    I probably would have gone to Moms and Tots if I was a SAHM. It’s not completely about the kids, it’s also good for Moms to network and engage with others Moms. I think it can be quite lonely to be a SAHM.

    I don’t mind extra-murals as long as they take place AT SCHOOL, preferably during school time. Joshua is doing Judo and Clay Play. Am going to sign Joel up for Play Ball and MAYBE Judo which has been recommended.

  17. As an ex teacher watching these extra curricular events come and go, I would moan that they do disrupt class time. I think the value ones are swimming and pots and tots ( I always used to ask the kids for recepies afterwards). I like the idea of choosing just one thing, although I noticed some rich parents would sign their kids up for all.

  18. I love that our school offers all these amazing extra murals, but I'm not so keen that they offer the kids that one "free" lesson to basically lure them into wanting to do it ALL, for the term. Liam came home every day last week - wanting to do Oh Crumbs cooking classes, Karate, Playball, Computers and so on. And now that we have two kids at school, extra murals are becoming quite costly. I'd love for both kids to do as many as they'd like to, but because of costs, I've said they can choose ONE per term. We are already 3 weeks into the term and Liam still can't decide what he wants to do, so we are sitting this term out altogether and will take up extra murals next term.
    Regarding the paperwork.. forget the newsletters and flyers.. what about all the artwork!! I've always kept a flip file of Liam's "everyday" work and then we put his special stuff up on his board in his room.. but with two kids at school, we are receiving a forest of artwork everyday! Most of which I just want to dump in the bin, but heaven forbid the kids find their work in the bin!! Need a new storage room for all the paperwork I get from school!
    Lovely photos! xxx

  19. We get lots of those extra mural papers from school too! I personally think my kids are too young for extra murals, they do enough activities at school. Although I reluctantly started swimming lessons with them in Jan, cost me R2220 for the 1st term (12 weeks) for one lesson a week for 2 kids!!! An absolute fortune! But I think learning how to swim is quite important and it had to be done sometime.

  20. Katherine4:58 pm

    Zoe is in Grade R and does swimming twice a week and playball. That is what she chose, oh and she also started nippers but that's at Pollock Beach straight after church and we all go to the beach together as a family. This year and last year the teacher advised against too many things. To be honest most girls seem to do swimming and ballet and it is the girls that stay for after-care that do more activities which makes sense as they're at school anyway. Ava does Clay play and ballet (both at school during school time) and then she swims twice a week. Her lesson is just before Zoe's so it works out perfectly. I would say that swimming is an absolute must. It completely astounds me that Ava is able to swim breast stroke, freestyle and back stroke in a 25m pool and she's only 3 and a half. I have treated too many near-drowning kiddies to ever think of delaying my kids becoming water-safe. One can be as careful as can be but until they can swim properly there is always a chance.

  21. I want pots and tots!! We don't have that... we have ballet, aerobics (for three year olds!!!!!), gymnastics, art, pottery, play ball, and a host of other things that just seem ridiculous - give them time on the jungle gym and you're set.

    Although I'd pay for swimming if they had it. I'm terrified of littlies and water.

  22. You know we did swimming lessons late last spring. I think we'll do that again this year, as I really want the girls to get used to the water, and hopefully -- one day! -- learn to swim. Outside of that, we haven't done any organized activities.

    We're toying with the idea of soccer soon. I just don't want to commit too much of our schedule, either. Even though I'm home with the girls every day (except Tuesday and Thursday mornings when they're in preschool), I still hold their free-flowing schedules in very high regard at this age. :)

    Our girlies have been signing, "I love you," too here lately. Love it! :) :)


Thank you so much for leaving a comment and filling my love tank. I appreciate it!

I'd love to answer your email so please make sure your email address is enabled. In Blogger, go to Edit Profile, and under Privacy, tick the 3rd block and then Save Profile :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails