Monday, 26 September 2016

New School Year

Three weeks in to the new school year and life is moving at a fast pace.  Homework for all three children has gone up a level with our eldest two having homework set online which they aren’t necessarily told about and so need to get into the habit of checking, as well as being given work in the classroom.  Our youngest son has six activities he needs to complete by Christmas which seems a long time away, but for him it is a source of major stress, as he struggles with doing anything related to school outside of the classroom.  In his eyes, work related to school should be done at school and not home.  Just getting him to learn spellings, times tables and do reading each week at home is enough for him, so ‘real’ homework is going to take time for him to get used to and accept this is part of his normal routine.

Our eldest son has joined five sports clubs and with two PE lessons a week and his PE coaching lesson, I wish I had the energy to keep up with all his activities.  On top of this he does martial arts outside of school and plays rugby each Sunday.

Settling into upper school for our daughter has been a rollercoaster ride so far, which we expected and we never thought the first few weeks would be easy.  A year ago, our daughter would have refused to get up at 6.10am each day, but for the past three weeks, she has done this every morning for school without any fuss.  Going on the bus and waiting for registration to start, as there’s a 25 minute gap from when she arrives at school until she goes into the classroom has been a big adjustment.  She has moved from being in an environment, where she had a group of friends to meet and chat to every morning, to starting afresh with no friends.  This was her choice and she has made an amazing start making two new friends.  However, their buses arrive later in the morning, so our daughter has struggled with not knowing what to do with herself for 15-20 minutes on her own.  At the end of the second week at school, our daughter spoke to her form tutor to explain how she was feeling and she has been allowed to go straight to the classroom when she arrives at school.  It’s an easy adjustment for school to make and helps to reduce our daughter’s anxiety.  We are so proud that she took the step to speak up and seek help, as generally it takes her months to build up a rapport with a member of staff, so it shows how her confidence is growing and she wants to make this transition work.  There are many lessons she does not enjoy doing, as now at upper school, she is doing taster sessions of new subjects like psychology, sociology, business studies, so that she can choose which GCSE options she wants to take next year.  However, as she knows she will only be studying these for a few months, there is an end in sight and so she has accepted that this is just the timetable she has to do for the time being and soon she will be learning the subjects she chooses to study.  The biggest change that I’ve had to adapt to with her moving to upper school, is that she is able to take her mobile phone into school and so she texts before registration, break and lunch.  Frequently, she tells me she doesn’t want to do a lesson, but I keep my replies consistent, so that she understands there is no choice and once she’s at school, she has to follow the timetable.  If I ignore the texts, I just get multiple ones sent asking the same thing, so it’s best to reply straightaway.

Adjusting to a new school year is hard enough, but at the beginning of term, I was given a date for an operation in October.  I had begun to plan what I needed to do, so that I was organised in time and thought at least the kids will have almost 7 weeks to adapt to school again and they would be in a fixed routine.  Although the kids didn’t know the actual operation date, they knew it would happen at some point this term, as I’ve had at least 7 hospital appointments since my stay in Easter.

Last Tuesday, I received a phone call telling me that my operation has been brought forward to tomorrow.  It has been all systems go for the past week, so that I can organise family to be here for school pick up and drop off and to help at home, as I’m expected to be in hospital for 7 days.  Once I return I have 2-3 months recovery, so I’m not going to be working on full cylinders for quite a while, which is just as hard for me to accept as the kids.  I broke the news to them on Tuesday that I would be going into hospital and due to me already being in hospital earlier this year for 8 days, they are all equally anxious, as a week is a long time to be apart from them.  

Today I have been at hospital for an anaesthetic review as I’m not a straightforward case for a long anaesthetic.  I’ve been told that a team of anaesthetists will be with me in surgery tomorrow, as last time when Plans A and B didn’t work, they had to resort to Plan C.  Tomorrow they will be prepared for every eventuality.  Not sure how well I will sleep tonight, but am looking forward to this time tomorrow when it will all be over and done with and my recovery can begin.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Summer Holidays are nearly over!!

The summer holidays have sped by this year and on Tuesday the kids will be back to school.  It's scary how quick the time has disappeared but we have also done so much in the past 5 1/2 weeks and our bucket lists have been ticked off. 

Notable highlights have been 10 days camping in Devon with only 1 day of rain. After a deluge of rain last year when we went away (we woke up to find a small river in our tent last year!), we've had two holidays this year full of glorious sunshine as not a drop of rain touched us when we went to Bude in May half term. Whilst we were in Devon our youngest son became an animal keeper for the day. It was a wonderful experience where he had the chance to handle creepy crawlies, muck out farm animals and feed deer, wallabies and meerkats. Our eldest son went on a two day rugby training camp with Exeter Chiefs and was unfortunate that the only day of rain we had fell on his first day of training. Five hours in torrential rain followed by that day's wet kit being left in a bag until we got back home to wash it, is not the best combination!! However, he enjoyed himself and can't wait for the rugby season to begin again this weekend.

As well as going away we have had day trips to London to visit the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace and London Zoo. We've met up with friends and had days to chill at home - the kids have found forgotten toys and board games.  Local days out to go blackberry picking and exploring the countryside in hidden gems we've never been to before like Rutland Water have been enjoyable for all.

Our daughter spent a week with our nieces to enjoy some girlie time.  It's the closest she's going to get to having a sister! She's now raring to start her new school next week.  Something I never envisaged myself saying a year ago. Even the early morning starts which aren't her forte don't seem to be worrying her.  I'm sure it won't be all plain sailing but it's a positive start.

Our eldest son will go into Y7 and is looking forward to a year of just him at school. He's always been at school with his sister or younger brother. Now he says he can just be himself for a year and no one's brother when he's at school.  He's going to start 2 new lessons which he's excited about - Performing Arts and PE coaching.

Next week will start the final year for our youngest son at lower school.  This term we will look round what will be his middle school next year.  Fortunately he has been there many times with his sister and brother so is familiar with the building, although the transition to moving there next September is likely to be huge for him but we have a year to prepare him.

Although, this summer holidays is almost over, we are already planning next year's and have a week of glamping booked  and have just found out today we have got tickets for the World Athletics Championship in London next August.  So we are already off to a good start of fun activities to look forward to.