10 Things I've Learnt This School Term

In a few weeks time, schools will be breaking up for the Christmas holidays. That marks the end of my Son's very first term at school. There have been tears, a lot of school runs, healthy pack ups vs school lunches and the fun start of phonics. So what has this first term taught me? 

1. Holidays and weekends are to live for. I literally count down for each holiday, inset day and weekend. There are not enough of them. There are not enough chances for lazy PJ mornings and lie ins, for cuddles and Mummy time. 

2. The morning routine is torture. It doesn't matter how many times I ask nicely, shout or threaten calmly with no treats; NOTHING seems to work. My Son just does not want to eat or get dressed for school. So half the mornings he enters school hungrily with me feeling guilty. Yes- I feel guilty, yet I am the one that chopped up an apple, opened a yogurt, made some toast and poured milk into the cereal. My child was the one that sampled them all then went back to making dens and forts in the lounge as a productive use of morning time. The only thing that works in terms of getting him ready is saying he can just go to school in his pants if he isn't ready. Oh look *poof* one four year old fully dressed within minutes- not seconds because you know sticking stickers all over his Brother is more urgent. I feel like a broken record in the morning, just shouting out the same demands over and over and it just falls on not listening ears. Then as soon as he is through that door, the guilt and sadness sweeps over and I want to run in and give him the biggest cuddle but I have to walk away and count down for the hours until I can. 

3. School is expensive. Forget the uniform- that was accounted for in the holidays. We have a wonderful free education system. BUT IT IS EXPENSIVE. Why you ask? Well I am keeping a post it note in my school letters folder (Oh yes- I am a proper school Mum now) with a list of what I've paid out on and how much it's cost. The list includes school trips, non-uniform days, raffle tickets, Children in Need day, a school disco, Christmas play outfit, school photos, school cards and school plays. There is more, but I won't bore you with an exclusive list of everything I am paying out on. It might seem like a couple of pound here and there but it all adds up. And up. And up. If I didn't pay out, Zac could miss out or I may be the only parent not contributing. 

4. I have a really fussy eater. At home, it's easy; I order the food I know my children like, even if I have to slightly change what I'm eating to make a second version of dinner, it happens and I've thought nothing more of it. That was until I jumped on the wagon of free school meals. He now brings home stickers to say he doesn't eat the meals, or he tells me he only partially eats it. Or he only eats his custard. He has such a good healthy big appetite at home, it has been such a struggle with him not eating at school. We now do more pack ups than school meals so I know he is still eating enough at school. Then I see other children and they are enjoying their school meals and I realise just how fussy my child is. Sometimes it is a massive challenge and he has definitely got worse since starting school. Does anyone have any tips on how to help the fussy eaters? 

5. We're In It Together. I was really nervous about meeting and talking to Mums on the school gates, but I have been fortunate to meet some lovely Mums and the best thing is when everyone is talking about their children and home life you realise there are others out there that are going through exactly the same things as you are. Then after a few weeks, you can laugh about life and bond over the things your children do. Us Mums are all in this parenting journey together. 

6. Homework Struggles. I didn't realise we would be getting so much homework so soon. I try not to pile on any pressure at home and just casually do homework. I have to admit though it is a struggle, for myself and Zac, to sit down when we're both tired after a long day and go through all the phonics letters and sounds. Or when he gets distracted half way through a book but I just want to finish it so we can begin the bedtime routine or eat our dinner. 

7. The School Runs. They take up more time than you realise; at least an hour a day is dedicated to the school run. But if you add it up thats at least 5 hours a week, 20 hours a month, etc etc.... Just as you want to get on with that job while you've got some spare time, you look up at the clock and realise there is no point- it's time to get ready and go. Or it's annoying when you're out in a good flow of Christmas shopping but have to end your successful shopping streak to head home ready for the pick up.

8. Remember, Remember.... There is so much to remember! I now have 2 folders; one for homework and phonics sheets for Zac's use and another for all of the school letters. Anything important that needs doing ASAP I have to put it on the fridge. Then I have to screen shot every part of the online PDF monthly newsletter that seems important or I have to partake in. I need to be organised and do things early on or I will end up forgetting. There seems to be something on most weeks; two non-uniform Fridays in a row, then a homework workshop, school play. It's never ending. 

9. They Change. I'm not sure about anyone else's children, but my Son has certainly changed since starting school. He used to be so good and shy, my quiet well behaved one. He still is around the school gates and in class but at home he's changed. He's picked so much up, don't get me wrong some of the things he learns I find fascinating but I don't appreciate it when I am cuddling him and reading a story and he practises his new phrases he has learnt in the playground; "Buzz off Mummy". I'm not saying he's naughty, because he is so clever and inquisitive and can be so well behaved but when he wants to showcase his new language or behaviour it feels odd- Where did my little toddler go?! He's growing up fast; he is a proper little school boy now. 

10. I will always miss him. At the end of the first term, I still eagerly await the moment he finishes school so I can see his bright blue eyes and gorgeous face again. My little boy. All grown up. He's been attending school for a whole term now, yet I still miss him dearly. I still get excited on a Friday afternoon when I realise I have two whole days to enjoy him. And I can not wait for the Christmas holidays. I am going to indulge in my boys, the festivities and the treats we have in store. 

I now realise how stressful certain aspects of schooling are, from the worrying about how your child is to the things we pick up. From the struggles of getting ready to not wanting to do our homework. I am truly sorry that I had to put my parents through it all. I do know though, that this is all worth it and they are building on their bright and hopeful future. 

Has your child recently started school? What have you learnt this term? Pop a comment below, I'd love to hear from you. 

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