Thursday, January 30, 2014

School has already been "interesting" and we're only 5 days in.

I must say, I've felt so anxious about school this year.

1. The babies are growing up so fast. Look at these big kids!


2. Connor's issues with the teacher from last year
3. The fact that everybody keeps asking me "so where are you sending the kids next year" and I want to say "I'm going to unschool" just to keep people from going further with the topic that most annoys me, other than politics!

We had it in our head that if they did not put Connor in one particular class, we would pull them out of school but that morning as I was dressing and praying, I felt God say to me, "don't you trust me?" and do you know what, I didn't!


Barely two weeks out of 2013 and I was not trusting.

So we took them to school, they met their teachers and sure enough, Connor is with the stricter teacher of the two and Kendra has the fun, silly one.

But I felt okay with it and three hours later we went on holiday!


On Monday they went back... no problems. Tuesday Connor said nothing but Wed morning he was thrashing around on the floor not wanting to go to school.

This is technically the 4th day of the year so it is a problem. I had the day off from work to do errands (more on that on the organising blog next week because I was a machine!) so I asked him if he'd like me to take him to school later after he calmed down. D was not helping saying "come, I have to get to work, etc." (as we all do) so off went K with D, and C waited for me to get dressed to take him.


While we drove (all of 2 minutes, maybe 3 because there's traffic at that hour :0 :)), I asked him if he wants me to talk to the teacher and he said yes.

C Teacher J makes us write on 20 pages. (he says write for anything to do with paper - colour, write, draw)

Me I don't think so, I'm sure it's only one or two pages.

C No, Mummy, it's 20.

So we went and I had a chat with her. I decided to try a new approach this year - that of making the teacher my co-conspirator.

"This is what's happening. What are WE going to do about this?"

This is the part that freaks me out. D is also very cross.

She said she was expecting a difficult child based on what his teacher from last year told her but instead he has been a gem. Participates fully during class - asks and answers questions, sings along, does all his stuff nicely and the ONLY thing is he HATES anything creative. They have to do one thing a day - yesterday, cut out granny's head and C's head, paste on paper, draw bodies on both people and colour it all in.

This is a bit strange to me - he likes cutting and pasting, but I agree he has never liked colouring. (I also don't like colouring - I could never see the point. The figure is there already, what's the point of the colouring? :) Now what I did love was join the dots!)

I told her that, and she said it's probably because at school she's telling them what to do and at home with me, I let him do anything he wants with all the stuff. True.

(he doesn't like people to boss him around like one of his parents)

When I fetched them after school (I LOVE dropping and fetching them - LOVE LOVE LOVE it), I told Connor that we agreed he only had to do ONE page. He wasn't convinced and still had a moan.


Well, this morning we had Drama.

D had to force him to stay still in his car seat while he wailed and cried "I don't want to go to school".

D emailed me LATE (he'd only got in then) to say Connor had to be pried off of him.


I phoned the school later and apparently he eventually calmed down (this age is so difficult - they don't stop crying in 2 secs like when they were 2 - they have serious determination... and can keep going forever) and was a star.

I think we crushed his spirit and he was flat.

He told me this afternoon that his tummy hurts when he thinks of school.

Isn't that what anxiety in kids looks like? I think that's beautifully articulated.

Kendra of course is 100% fine!

I'm dreading tomorrow morning.

I know he's still in a period of adjustment (today was day 5) but how long can I let my boy go to school with a sore tummy?!

Have you experienced anything similar? What worked for you?

Do you have any bright ideas?

PS isn't the light fabulous in this set of photos? I LOVE LOVE LOVE them.


  1. Sorry I couldn't even focus on the pictures! All I'm thinking is poor Connor!

  2. I do think you need a good two weeks at this age to settle and make some acquaintances (or allies as they may be). My bigger concern would be that which you aren't discussing - school. Is this going to leave him scarred for kindergarten? Eeek!

    The light is amazing! I need to get out of this fridgid, winter funk and pull out my camera. I've missed so many ice shots!

  3. Nicole9:50 am

    Oh my word. C sounds exactly like my son! my son has started Grade R. he turned five at the end of November so he is one of the younger kids in the class (some of them have turned six already!) All was fine for the first few days of school but since the beginning of this week my son has cried the entire trip to school. Its come out that he just like C dislikes art/creative time and that he is not completing the art within the time-frame. He keeps saying that the art is really difficult and that he gets tired of doing it. I am at a loss end as to what to do as this is the only part of school he dislikes. He said once that the teacher reprimanded him because he didn't finish and all the other kids did. I have spoken to the teacher and made it clear how my son feels and that we have never had a problem before. All I do know is that this cannot happen every morning.

  4. Back to school is never without it's challenges. Sometimes I think the holidays are actually too long for kids, especially a kid like my Kiara who needs routine.

    I would give it a little more time.

    Some kids adjust quicker and easier to new things. Maybe once he realises that this is how things are going to work, he will accept it and adjust?

    I don't know Marcia - not sure there is a quick fix :( Keep communication open with the teacher and maybe try and see if Connor is able to articulate better WHY he doesn't want to go to school?

  5. It's scary how fast they (and mine) are growing up. Wait until you see them in their first school uniform in Grade 1. You will be shocked, as I was this year :0

  6. I like what Laura said, it's true! The holidays screw everything up, kids just get used to being on holiday, and then they are thrown to the "sharks" again! Then they get used to the "sharks" and it's holidays again! SHAME!
    Ag man, poor C! I have no advice as to the solution, but I do think that keeping in touch with the teacher OFTEN, making her aware of everything that is being communicated by C, making like you are working with her to try to fix it, will help. Even to the point of irritation for her! I certainly believe that the children who's parents are always on the teacher, get the most attention - purely to keep the parent off their backs! It's so far has worked for me. Ha! She can have whatever ideas about C from last year's teacher, that doesn't matter. She must know you are trying to work with her to make it better for C - and for her. I think co - conspiring is the way to go! Will be praying for this situation. x

  7. First, totally love the pics and the light.
    To the real point - give it a bit more time. I do like the teachers (and your) attitudes - I am sure it will win him over eventually. We have to face it that learning to do things we do not like is part of growing up and the foundation for further school. What about a resQ remedy or two before going to school? And maybe be sort of honest and tell the teacher that he does not fit the profile she got from his previous teacher because they did not get along (put it nicely) and can she maybe help you to turn the negative tide.

    (BTW I love strict BUT FAIR teachers - they are the best!)

  8. Like Cat, I LOVE a strict, but fair teacher. Joshua has THRIVED under those types and he ends up really loving them too. I suppose it helps that the boundaries are set early on?


    This is actually something that I hate about this age – they take a lot longer to settle and they actually remember that they were upset and that Mommy/Daddy left!

    I like that you are working WITH the teacher – this has been my strategy for YEARS and trust me, it IS the way to go. Ultimately, the teacher is the parent in your absence. You are in an alliance with her and you have something in common: The fact that you both love and adore this boy and WANT him to succeed and be happy.

    Please continue to work closely with her and do touch base as often as you can. She will tell you what she needs from you and then you need to also do the work from home, even if it means colouring in WITH him once in a while or rewarding him for doing it nicely. They use colouring in as a kind of test to assess certain skills that the child needs to have. I really hate reading to my kids (seriously. hate.) but it's good for them so I just kind of do it.

    I have to say that I’m a bit annoyed that this teacher got the whole 411 about Connor before she even met him. That’s not fair to him because it automatically puts him at a disadvantage. I would actually raise it with the principal.

    When school started I went to Joel’s teacher to give her some background. She told me that she didn’t want to know anything, that she had access to information about him if she needed it and that she wanted to get to know him and make up her own mind. THAT is how it should be. I’m having a one-on-one with her next week and I now know that she’ll have a much better idea of who he is and what WE are dealing with.

    From what you are describing here, I would say that Connor is definitely anxious and that it has to do with A LOT more than colouring in. Surely he is not needing to be pried off D because he hates colouring in? No. Sorry. I think there’s a lot more to it and I think that the way to solve this would be to get to the bottom of the WHOLE story.

    Also. They colour in like one thing a day. Maybe. There are ways to deal with kids who REFUSE to do things – his teacher should have some kind of rewarding thing in place? Joel responds well to stickers and things like that. Mind you, never with me. Only within the school environment.

    Either way – he needs A LOT of affirmation and encouragement from you guys AND his teachers. He needs to know that you are on his side and that you need him to be happy. I don’t quite know how much time a kid like him would need to adjust. I suppose 2 weeks is fair? Please keep an eye on it and please keep in touch with the teacher, even if it means having to speak to her every day for the first few weeks. Leaving a child upset at school is soul destroying and I actually can’t start my morning like that so I REALLY feel for D. Can’t be nice for him.

  9. Oh my gosh. I didn't realise how long my comment was! Sorry.

  10. How does your gut feel when you think of this teacher for Connor? If you feel she's good for him and with him, give him a couple weeks to adjust.

  11. I'd say give it a bit more time - 2 or 3 weeks is my gut feel. How mean of his previous teacher to say bad things about him! At least the current teacher can already see that those things are not true.

  12. Leane is also under a strict (kwaai) teacher this year...she loves it...I believe that this is a good time of their lives to learn long as it is fair.

  13. Oh, Marcia...that's so tough. I'm so sorry C's having a time of it. My blood pressure went up when I read what his teacher last year passed long, though. GRRRR!!!

    I've never dealt with anything like this, but I'm sure it's a fine want to stay the course and have him find his way -- with your help, of course -- but you want him to continue to have a positive experience with school, to set him up for big-kid school.

    I'm at least glad to hear the teacher is open to your discussions. I hope, collectively, you can get a game plan together.


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