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Posts Tagged ‘school’

Another year, another grade. I vividly remember 4th grade, so it’s surreal to have a fourth grader of my own. And my sweet boy is in first grade now and growing taller and more inquisitive each day.

At the start of each year, we like to sit down and have a family meeting to talk about our goals for the school year. Almost like setting New Year’s resolutions. This year, we did the same. I want my kids—our whole family—to learn, grow and thrive this year, but these are my three wishes I have for my children as they head back to school.

1. Making new friends

Since we moved last year, the kids are starting at a new school this year. It’s hard going to a new place and not knowing anyone. I got a message after the first day of school from my daughter saying it was recess and she didn’t have anyone to play with. My heart broke after hearing that, but when she came home, she told me that someone came up to her to show her around and she’s played with people every day since. I hope that each of them makes a good friend this year.

2. Setting the Stage for Creativity

Setting the stage for my kids’ creativity is key – and one of the ways that I do this is by making sure the spaces where they work and play are clean. Even if it’s just an art project on the dining room table or a DIY science experiment on the kitchen counter, I make a point to clear it off and wipe it down with Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. Having this clean space is a lot like a blank canvas for my kids. It invites them to focus and be creative – even if it means making a mess all over again!

3. Fun learning

One of the most beneficial sides to homeschooling I saw was the ability to tailor our lessons in a way that made them interesting. History involved acting, math involved movement, and reading lessons were done in a way that involved touching and feeling wooden letters. Science was messy! I hope this year comes with a lot more fun, messy and creative learning. Like volcanos on the kitchen table. Or homemade papier-mâché solar systems. No matter what they’re working on, we have Clorox Disinfecting Wipes for an easy clean up!

I think that making learning fun is an important part of the process at this age, and I’m going to work to do my part to help make that happen at home.

3. Growing together

We had a family meeting and talked about our plans to continue our weekly movie nights and get back into reading bedtime stories together. As the kids grow up, I’m hoping our family will continue to grow closer together, and we’re trying to keep traditions in place to do that.

From new friends, clean starts, messy learning, and family traditions, I’m excited for what’s in store for this new school year.

Now until September 14, you can also share where your kids work and play outside of the classroom for the chance to win $5K toward your own Ultimate Clean Space Makeover at home! For more, visit http://bit.ly/Clorox-Clean-Spaces to get exclusive tips and tricks to create a best-in-class clean. You can get a coupon just for participating!


I’ll never forget my parents’ laughter after I asked them how much money they had put away from me in my college savings account. “Nothing.” They said. My jaw dropped and tears welled as I asked how I’d be able to go to college. “You’ll take out loans. Or get a scholarship,” they explained. 

Even though I attended a private University I was fortunate to avoid college debt. At least by the time I graduated. I picked a school that has subsidized tuition and my fees were significantly lower than most colleges. Fortunately, my husband and I were able to earn multiple scholarships, take out some small loans, and work to help fund our way through college. I think it taught us a lot. And we grew a lot through that process. 

Interracial couple at college graduation. How to avoid college debt.

Now we have three kids of our own we are thinking about what their future might look like. We don’t know if college the right path for each of our kids. My husband is adamant about them not going just for the sake of going but having a real purpose in getting a degree. I had it drilled in me that I would be going to college. Nevertheless, right now, we want to be prepared and help them save just in case. So they can hopefully avoid college debt. Between 529s, IRAs, savings accounts… There’s a lot to consider! Fortunately John Hancock financial advisors are so helpful when it comes to navigating these different options. And explaining them in a way that makes sense. Now we have new hopes and goals for our kids’ savings accounts. 

Our Plan to Help Our Kids Avoid College Debt

Interracial family of 5. How to avoid college debt.

529 Savings Plan

One thing I didn’t realize was that with a 529 college savings account, that funding can be used for all kinds of educational expenses. Such as books and materials along with tuition, and sometimes even room and board. Also, the account can be passed on to another beneficiary. So if your child doesn’t wind up going to college, or if they get a scholarship. You an even pass it on to your grandchildren!

If you wind up using the money for something else you only pay a penalty and taxes on the earnings that your savings generated through the years.

Biracial girl

Roth IRA Plan

A Roth IRA retirement account may seem like we’re getting ahead of ourselves, but I can’t stop thinking about what a huge head start we’d be giving them. I didn’t open my account until I was 29. They’ll have a 20-28 year head start on me!

The positive about a Roth IRA is the flexibility of what the money can be used for. College, retirement, a home. In order to contribute a child does need a form of earned income though so that can be restricting. But for our kids, since they’re employed by our family business it’s a possibility. The main downside we see right now with a Roth IRA is the idea of them having complete control over it when they turn 18. But hopefully with a lot of good financial discussions that won’t be a big deal.

We already have savings accounts for our two oldest. Our immediate goal is to start a third for Lee Lee this year. And open Roth IRA accounts for each of them. We also would like to start a 529. John Hancock’s website has a great 529 calculator. I found it helpful to set a target date and figure out contribution amounts and what they could grow become. 

Interracial couple at college graduation. How to avoid college debt.

My husband and I are trying to find a good balance between paying off our home, continuing to save for future expenses and our retirement. For now we feel like we can contribute some to their savings accounts. Because even just a little bit of help now could possibly make a big difference later on. I know it would have for us. 

“Mommy, what does D-O-O-R spell?”

We were riding in the car and my daughter was reading the letters off of a button. It’s not exactly the question a mom wants to hear from her 8-year-old. By “normal” standards it’s one of those words someone her age would instantly see and know. The question sent a prick of sadness through me, another reminder of her ongoing struggles.

“It says door, baby.”

A year ago I would have just told her to figure it out, offering little help, assuming she was just being lazy. Then I would have made her sound out five other traffic signs on our way down the road, just for good measure.

I was extremely insecure about my daughter’s reading struggles. Partly because I was homeschooling and I felt responsible for her being behind, and partly because she was not living up to who I thought she could be. Every time a parent told me about their child reading chapter books, or finishing another Harry Potter book I’d question why my daughter wasn’t there.

Every other subject was enjoyable for us. She grasped math concepts and could retell me stories from early American history without a problem. But she couldn’t read a Dr. Seuss book.

A little more than a year ago I went to a little gathering that changed my life. One of my blog partners, Responsibility.org hosts their influencers once a year in Washington, D.C. for a #TalkEarly summit to discuss ways to have open and honest conversations with our children. And how we can encourage that in our own communities. We also hear from doctors and experts in the parenting realm and just have a good uplifting time. Well, last year one of our guest speakers was Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure. A book about allowing our children to learn from their own mistakes. Resisting the urge to help them through everything because that will inhibit their ability to feel frustrated and reap the thrill of solving a problem on their own.

The entire time I kept thinking about my daughter, and her struggles with reading. I thought about the ways I’d been teaching her and listened to Jessica’s suggestions for allowing our kids to figure it out. And most of all, I heard her call to love our  kids for who they are, not who we wish they were. I had to let go of the desire of having a Harry Potter-reading 7-year-old, and accept that this just wasn’t her. Maybe she would struggle with school. Would I love her any less?

I came home from that summit and took a new approach to how I worked with her. Instead of forcing so much practice, repeating steps, and insisting she wasn’t trying hard enough, I sat back and watched how she would dissect a word. I took some of the pressure off and paid attention to how she worked. I began to realize that my pride could be getting in the way of finding out if there was another underlying issue. What could it hurt to talk to a professional and see? Maybe even rule it out.

I already shared how that went down. And the realization that my daughter is dyslexic was  still not what I expected, nor easy to swallow. Even last week at her 504 meeting, listening to her dyslexia profile evaluation results and hearing that she’s below average on reading fluency, spelling, phonological awareness, etc etc etc… It’s not news to me but it’s still difficult to hear. Still, it’s been harder for me to accept than her.

At her 8th birthday party in front of all her friends she asked if I’d read the cards to her. I later asked if that was hard for her but she told me it was no big deal.

The first week of school I asked if she felt insecure about anything and she said just getting on the wrong bus.

I write her a note every day and stick it in her lunchbox and sometimes she asks a friend to help her decipher a word.

She knows reading is, and may always be, a bit of a struggle for her, but she embraces it as a piece of the puzzle that makes her up. She knows where she has weaknesses she also has strengths. And seriously, I can thank Rick Rodian for making her believe her dyslexia is tied to her being a demigod.

I never thought I’d have a child with a learning disability/difference/whatever you want to call it. But it’s just a part of who she is.

She’s also a great little cheerleader, who wants to go to Worlds some day. And compete in all-star cheerleading in the Olympics (not a thing yet but hopefully will be). She records her own gymnastics and workout videos, then imports and edits them herself in Final Cut Pro.

Art, science and engineering are some of her best and favorite subjects, and though she says she doesn’t like it, she’s great at math. She may even apply for a STEM program for 4th and 5th graders.

And most of all, she has an incredible ability to know who she is. To politely decline doing something everyone else is doing. Or swing on the swings even if her friends prefer to sit in the shade. To look at her own artwork with pride knowing it was the best she could do. Her confidence to ask a friend, or raise her hand and say “I can’t read this,” without feeling embarrassed.

She is completely and undoubtedly aware of who she is. And it’s my job to love every bit of it.

 

Today’s blog sponsor is TalkEarly but the story I’ve shared and all opinions are my own. For more resources on having open and honest conversations with your children please visit TalkEarly.org

 

Easy healthy lunch snacks for kids

This is part 2 of our first week of school you can read part 1 here

“You don’t want to miss the bus!”

Early bus ride kindergarten
 

It’s pretty much the one thought that motivates my son to wake up and get moving in the morning.

He’s not morning person. So getting him to go from eating his breakfast to out the door isn’t the easiest thing at 6:30am.

Easy healthy lunch snacks for kids
 

While Lil’ J can eat her breakfast on the go, my son prefers his Stonyfield yogurt in his lunch. But he didn’t get around to eating it his third day of school because lunchtime is when the drama went down in the cafeteria. Shortly after I left the meeting with the assistant principal and my daughter’s teachers I got a message from my son’s saying that he was very upset after someone popped a bag of chips in the lunchroom. I knew this was probably a sweet Kindergarten teacher’s way of saying “Holy crap your kid lost his mind!”

He was crying for a period of time, but finally calmed down by recess.

Interestingly enough on their kindergarten “get to know you” sheet, responding to the question “What is your child afraid of?” we wrote down loud noises, like fireworks or balloons popping. Almost as a joke. Little did I realize he’d be experiencing one of his worst fears the first week of school.

Now I know my son and I know he holds grudges. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to get him to trust the cafeteria again. When he got home we spoke to him about it and told him it wouldn’t happen again. It was an accident. And we bribed him like crazy. That’s right. We aren’t above bribes.

“Friday you’ll get a new toy!” And I crossed my fingers it would work.

The next day I got a call from the assistant principal, not about my daughter, but my son. He was refusing to go into the cafeteria. He was scared. She let him eat in her office that day but she told him this couldn’t be an everyday solution. I said that my husband or I would come up there with him to help the next day.

Friday my husband went up to the school and watched as our son got ready to go into the cafeteria. He said said Big T was fine at first. They walked in together and though he was a little nervous, Big T sat down and was smiling and having fun. Then once he pulled his little lunch out… BOOM! It went off again. And our poor little guy start crying hysterically and had to leave.

My husband said it sounds way louder than he’d imagine a bag of chips sounding… More like if someone blew up a paper bag and smashed it as loud as they could. He felt bad for our son–Especially since we had been telling him it wouldn’t happen again the last couple of days.

A cafeteria worker got him some headphones to help muffle out the sound and he finally agreed to go back in. My husband who started out like “he just needs to get over this!” said it was a sad, strange experience but we’d just need to try to have him eat lunch with noise canceling headphones so that he wouldn’t be scared to go in the cafeteria.

So I ordered some in his favorite color and cried a little, then put in a call to our pediatrician to see if something else could be going on. I ate lunch with him the next time and he was totally fine, and thankfully has been since then. He still wears his headphones during lunch and takes them off right after.

 

At the end of the week I sat and laughed with my husband over all the tears shed and how much time I’d spent worrying about our two big kids this week. Our baby was just along for the crazy ride… I thought she was going to be the difficult one this year and boy was I wrong.

So that’s the truth behind our first week of school photos. There were quite a few tears behind those smiles of mine. So if you’ve experienced similar, know you’re not alone.

I’ll keep you posted on how the kids are doing and what I learn about 504s (if you’re interested). But I’m still very optimistic about this school year. The only part that stays consistently difficult is waking up. I’m not trying to be overly ambitious making a hot breakfast for the kids (unless hot from the toaster counts). And I prep things like their outfits and lunches the night before but it’s still a challenge for me not being used to getting started so early not to mention with an infant.

Easy healthy lunch snacks for kids
 

I’m so thankful for brands like Stonyfield that keep busy parents in mind when they create products that are easy to pack or grab and go with, but also are still organic and delicious for kids. I’m also thankful for my kids’ caring teachers and administrators who message me updates about their day and help keep my anxiety at bay. And I’m very thankful for school busses. Even though I still have to wake up at a crazy hour to cat it, no one has to see me in my PJs at the drop off line.

Easy healthy lunch snacks for kids

My kids survived their first week of public school. But of course they did. It was I who nearly suffered a nervous breakdown. Though we stood outside and took some adorable first day of school photos, the truth of the matter is, it wasn’t all roses and sunshine.

Getting out the door is the first hurdle. We’re used to sleeping in past 8am and starting school leisurely during breakfast. The first week the kids got on the bus at 6:57am. Yea, you read that right. For a start time of 7:35. Talk about brutal. Then week three they changed it to a bus time of 6:39am!

Easy healthy lunch snacks for kids

I waited at the bus stop with them after the first day (we drove them) and more than once they were finishing their breakfast at the bus stop. We pack their lunches and get everything ready the night before but just getting moving in the morning is hard enough. We had to chase the bus down one day when it was a few minutes early. And another day Lil’ J was downing her Stonyfield Yogurt Kids Pouch a few seconds before she hopped on.

If you watched my Instagram stories last week you likely saw my tearful laments about dropping my kids off the first day. I wasn’t as worried about my son who was only slightly nervous about me leaving him all day at Kindergarten. I didn’t even cry. But when I went to my daughter’s third grade class and she sat down to a get to know you worksheet at her desk the mood shifted.

First day of school

She looked at the worksheet and asked me what it said. I read the first section to her asking about her hobbies and interests. Then she looked at me with her big bright eyes holding back tears telling me she didn’t know how to spell it.

My heart began to crumble in my chest. I told her to try her best to sound it out, or ask the teacher, though she likely wouldn’t penalize her for spelling. I glanced at the child next to her who looked to be writing paragraphs with perfect penmanship and I nearly lost it.

First day of school dyslexia

We took a few pictures then I did my best to kiss her quickly and run out of the room before I cried all over the kids. I barely made it out the door before I started sobbing. I had a chance to tell the teacher about her dyslexia and reading struggles but I wasn’t sure if I should have elaborated more, sent a detailed note, or whatever.

I doubted the entire situation and replayed those last few moments in my head over and over sobbing all the way home and the next six hours. I envisioned her crying at school then sitting alone at lunch. I worried she’d be called on to read something aloud and feel embarrassed. The last hour before we left I managed to compose myself and lift my spirits by lunging myself into advocating for her needs.

When I went to pick her up at school she skipped up to me and told me how amazing her day was. She loved her teacher and her class. School was fun! What a relief! Later that night I asked if she had any insecurities about school and she said she was worried she’d get on the wrong bus home.

That was it.

At meet the teacher night I ran into the assistant principal and asked her about setting up an IEP for my daughter for her dyslexia. She said they did 504s and we scheduled a meeting to talk about it on Wednesday.

I spent the next 48 hours researching the difference between 504s and IEPs, gathering Lil’ J’s previous work, confirming details with her tutor, and praying.

I was prepared to walk into the meeting with a list of demands including a written one that they begin a formal evaluation within 60 days and keep me informed on the progress. I was so nervous and the meeting went nothing like I expected.

The assistant principal greeted me politely and walked me to a conference room with the dyslexia tutor and my daughter’s teacher. I was able to tell them her backstory of how she’d been memorizing books in kinder, and it took me awhile to realize she wasn’t not trying… she was trying, very hard. But has a more serious issue. I told them about her tutor and where her reading level is currently. And I was able to tell them how smart she is, and how she loves learning, and school, and how her comprehension is incredible.

They all nodded in understanding and told me with my permission, they would start the evaluation the next day. There was no need for my formal letter or my list of demands. We’ll meet again after the evaluation is complete (very quickly) and talk about the recommendations for services and accommodations. The assistant principal even shared that her daughter is dyslexic and they had a similar experience in the beginning finding out about it.

I walked out of that meeting on cloud 9. Thrilled that it had gone so much better than I had envisioned and confidant that this year back in public school would be great for my kids.

Then, I got a message from my son’s teacher that changed my mind.

To be continued… Part 2 live tomorrow morning.

We had big smiles for our first week of school photos, but the truth of the matter is, I was hiding a mess of emotions and a bit of chaos. Big thanks to @Stonyfield, the makers of the easy and delicious on-the-go yogurts for kids for sponsoring my new post sharing how it really went went down the first week of school. This is part one. Grab some popcorn cause it’s a doozy.

Growing up, back to school season was like a holiday of its own. For me, it was right up there with Christmas. I absolutely loved going shopping and picking out my own backpack and new special lunchbox. I’d choose my trapper keeper and colorful folders. Then I’d sit and sharpen all my new pencils before picking out all of my outfits for the first week of school.

This year, there are many mixed emotions as we start the new school year. It’s my son’s first year of school and my daughter’s first year in public school after homeschooling for two years. In many ways I’ll miss the activities we did together, all the flexibility and “ah ha” moments I got to witness firsthand. Part of me wishes we could continue homeschooling together this year, and get more time in together. But with a brand new baby and move in the works it’s not the case.

That’s why I’m excited to partner with Minute Maid to show how life doesn’t have to be perfect to be GOOD. Sure there are things I wish I could do differently, but there are things we can enjoy this experience as an adventure of its own. Adventures like back to school shopping and setting new goals together.

We called a family meeting and sat around the kitchen table to talk about both of these things. The back to school shopping lists seem a lot longer than it was when I was a kid. Unfortunately I’m not that cool mom who saddles the kids up to shop with me all day for their personalized school supplies. I’m more of that messy and chaotic last-minute-shopping mom who looks for the pre-packaged supplies she can order online and pickup right before the first day of school (my son doesn’t even have his new backpack yet).

One thing I feel I’ve done right is talking about how we want this school year to look. Though we won’t be together all day every day, and we’ll have less quantity of time, I really want to make the time we have together strong quality time. Most of our goals surround this theme.

My daughter, Lil’ J’s, goals for this year are to become a better reader, and at home to do science experiments together on weekends.

My son, Big T, wants to race his new friends at school and keep our poetry tea party tradition alive, which we will try to do once or twice a month on Fridays after school.

My goals are a little more robust:

• Choose a family theme/motto: Something to live by and remember every time we leave the house.
• Morning motivational mantras: To say before they head off to school, reminding them of who they are.
• Meaningful afternoon recap questions: To see how their day at school was beyond just “fine.”
• Learn the best way my son learns: To help me navigate the best way to teach him outside of traditional school.
• Check out for a day date: Not sure how often, but I’d like to do this at some point for each of my kids. Probably coinciding with a doctor’s or dentist appointment.
• Read together every night: A tradition we’ve been hit or miss about but will definitely try to keep up this school year.

I know there are going to be a lot of adjustments. Life isn’t picture-perfect, and I’m sure it’s going to be a lot messier than I’m envisioning. When it comes down to it, some of these goals may need to be readjusted. Afternoon questions may get redundant or forgotten on busy afternoons. Science experiments may become finishing science homework before the morning bus comes.

Though I won’t be teaching them, we’ll still be busy with school. Some days aren’t going to be pretty and other days will just be a mess. But we’re all in this experience together and you better believe this is GOOD.

This post was written in partnership with Minute Maid, the brand encouraging parents to share more of their real family moments with the hashtag #thisisGOOD. The campaign helps remind parents that even imperfect moments should have us saying this is GOOD!

We’re halfway through the school year and my 5-year-old is enjoying kindergarten. For the most part.

The morning perkiness and excitement each morning has worn down a bit. I have to wake her up in the mornings now, versus her jumping up at the sound of my alarm. She has yet to tell me she doesn’t want to go, like she sometimes says about her after school activities. I take that as a good sign.

She and I have different ideas regarding our favorite parts about Kindergarten but we sat down to compare our lists. I thought the things she loved were so adorable that I had to document it.

Kindergartner review

Lil’ J’s favorite parts about school so far

1. Shaving cream: “We build words with it,” she told me. “We smooth it out and it feels so good.”

2. Lunch: “Because we get to talk a little, eat a lot, then talk a little more.” She told me at lunch she likes to talk to her friends about what they’re going to do at recess. It’s so adorable imagining her little 5-year-old conversations. I’ve joined her for lunch a couple times and goodness, they’re so cute.

3. Computer labs: She likes playing the learning games, but doesn’t like getting answers wrong.

Kindergartner review

4. Playing with Buster: The school mascot. “We got to chase him around and play on the slide with him. He was lost then he got bigger and bigger! Maybe he was sneaking so hard.” Parental translation: They first saw Buster as a stuffed animal puppy then finally re-discovered him days later as a full-grown dog (principal in a dog suit). This was the first week of school.

5. Her teacher: “I like that she helps me get smarter. She teaches us and I like her teaching. She makes it fun.” She also enjoys “free recess” and when her teacher tells them they’re doing so well at Kindergarten they can work on more advanced workbooks.

As far as me, I love listening to her stories about how her day went. Picking her up from school is still one of the highlights of my day. Hearing about her friendships, breakups and makeups makes me laugh inside. She reminds me a lot of myself at that age.

I ordered her school picture and am a little distraught with how old she looks. It was one of the few days I let her hair all the way down.

School photo

I love seeing her learn so much without my help. She’s SO proud to show me her new skills when we work on her homework together. And like Lil’ J, I love her teacher. She’s so sweet and cares about her students. She’s great at what she does and really helped ease my panic about my little girl starting kindergarten.

Lil’ J and I decided we wanted to do something special for her teacher for the holidays. Using the Sears.com app we’ve found items we think she and her family would love including cozy slippers, a Disney Christmas train decoration that’s partly because we are Mickey-obsessed and partly because we know her son loves trains like Lil’ J’s brother. And we threw in some gift cards to her favorite restaurants.

We placed an order a couple weeks ago and when I got a notification that part of the order was ready I finally got to try in-vehicle pickup. We drove to the mall to have it brought out to us. In less than two minutes it was brought out to my car. I really wish I could pick up everything this way. Groceries, clothes, my son from preschool!

Lil’ J added the finishing touches on the gift by making a homemade card and writing a little note inside.

Kindergarten teacher

I packed it all up and brought it to her Christmas party this morning. She was excited for me to be there and loves when I visit her class.

I still remember bits and pieces of my year in kindergarten. These are some of the moments and milestones she’ll treasure forever, and I’m happy to have a part in it.

As I watch her grow up so quickly before my eyes I pray that she continues to learn and find what she’s interested in and most passionate about, and that she’ll continue to have teachers as awesome as this years to help her along the way. Yay for teachers!

Did you and your kids enjoy kindergarten? Who’s someone special you’d like to surprise and delight this holiday season? Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a $50 gift card from Sears. Giveaway ends December 22nd at 11:59pm.

This story was written in partnership with Sears as a part of the Sears Bloggers Squad. Find great gifts at Sears for those who matter in your life. And be sure to visit Sears.com to shop from the comfort of your own home and then use in-vehicle pickup and have all of your items brought straight to your car (also works for returns and exchanges)! 

We’ve made it! We survived our first week of Kindergarten… Or at least the hardest part for me—Waking up.

You know me, I went a bit overboard documenting the occasion with pictures and video. Maybe it’ll give you a few ideas if your little one is starting school soon. Here are some things I’ve learned after the first week of school.

Tips for surviving the first week of school

1. The novelty wears off quick (for adults): It’s fun and exciting getting ready for the first day of school the night before, but by the third night of getting ready, I’m already dragging my feet and dreading waking up early the next day. My daughter is still enjoying laying out her outfit, making lunch requests, and deciding what hairstyle she’s going with. I on the other hand still can’t believe how early I have to wake up every. single. day. (Can you tell I’m not a morning person?)

2. EVERYONE drives their kids to school: Does no one ride the bus anymore? I don’t see many people walking either. Is there something I don’t know? I need to remember to bring some reading material and get there a little earlier because that line is no joke.

Tips for surviving the first week of school

3. School is not like it was when I was growing up: When I was in school I had to walk there uphill both ways in the snow… I kid (though this is exactly what my husband has been saying all week), but there are so many things that are different. Lil’ J’s kindergarten teacher gave us a QR code to save all of her contact info, we have a private class Facebook page, they have PE daily and less time for recess, no naps, computer labs. Things have definitely evolved.

4. They learn more than just book smarts: And that’s not always a good thing. Lil’ J has come home with an extra side of sass and we’re trying to nip it in the bud. I’m not going to panic just yet because I believe we are who we are, and though our friends may influence us, our personalities will persevere. Instead of losing my temper at her new exasperated sighs and eye rolls (though I may have snapped a time or two) I sat her down this morning for a heart to heart, explaining how I expect her to act, and tried to appeal to her empathetic nature, and told her the consequence for continuing to act that way (no iPad time). I think it’s working (for now). Please pray for me and my sassy little soul. (Speaking of sass… Read bonus sassy story after #10)

Tips for surviving the first week of school

5. Kids aren’t great at remembering stuff, unless it’s stuff you don’t want them to remember: Lil’ J got in the car after the second day of school and immediately said she didn’t remember anything about her day. Ok, maybe she didn’t want to talk about it, I get it. But later, as she began to open up and remember bits and pieces she told me how she got to be the teacher for a little while and taught everyone about her dark skin and how she doesn’t get sunburned as easily as they do…

6. The school bus adds an extra hour to their day: I mentioned earlier how most kids in K-2 get dropped off/ picked up by their parents; maybe this is why. Her school bus literally drives by while we’re beginning to get dressed in the morning. And it doesn’t pass in the afternoon until we’ve been home for about half an hour.

Tips for surviving the first week of school

7. Walking your kid to class can be really sad, but so is not walking your kids to class: I walked Lil’ J the first day and a little boy in her class was crying, not wanting his mommy to leave. Lil’ J was a little hesitant at first, but after she introduced herself to another little girl at her table, she waved me goodbye. But the second day I didn’t want to park and bring her brother in only to psyche him out and turn around and leave (he likes to play in her classroom). Another teacher helped escort her to her class, but the moment she got out of the car and shut the door I regretted it. By the third day she didn’t even turn around to tell me goodbye!

8. They only eat a tiny portion of what you pack for lunch: Then they eat a ton once they get home. Every night I’m packing her a lunch with fruits, veggies, a cheese stick and (by her request) a bagel and she only eats the bagel. She told me she didn’t have time to eat the rest and I suspect she’s like her mama and enjoying conversation a little too much. Next week I think I’ll join her for lunch.

Preparing for the first day of school: A moms journal

9. Teachers are amazing: I can’t imagine having a class of 17 5-year-olds and teaching them new things in ways that are fun every day. I have a new immense sense of gratitude, and she’ll be getting a nice teacher-appreciation gift.

10. My kids are pretty awesome: I knew this before, but there’s something about setting them free to explore bits of the world by themselves, and watching them process what they learn. Lil’ J insists on studying each night and considers herself “a big girl.” I’m very proud of her and excited to see how this school year pans out.

Bonus Sassy Story:

After the first day of school Lil’ J and I met up with some friends for ice cream. As we crossed the street I reached for her hand and she told me, and I quote…  “I don’t need to hold your hand because I’m so pretty nobody will want to run be over,” *jaw drop* She grabbed my hand before she finished her sentence and I calmly told her as cute as she is, she’s small, and people could still run into her if they don’t see her. I had to give my humble child a quick lesson in pedestrian safety.

According to the NHTSA, an average of 24 school age children die in school transportation-related crashes each year, so we’re working on our traffic safety knowledge, especially since so many cars and big Texas trucks are zooming by during school drop-off and pickup.

second day

Few things drive me as crazy as cars zooming around school busses. Here’s a little school bus safety refresher for you from Allstate:

    • You are required by law to stop when a school bus is picking up or dropping off students.
    • If the bus is stopped, its red lights are flashing and its stop sign is out on the left side, you MUST stop, too. DO NOT try to go around the bus.
    • Children expect traffic to stop and might not see you if you go past the bus. There is usually a fine and you could possibly get your license suspended.

I couldn’t resist. Here’s a video of my baby girl’s adventures of going to and from during her first week of school.

How did your first week of school go? What did you learn this year?

This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held insurance company, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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