I don’t know when I learned to read exactly. I can’t remember NOT being able to read, and then being able to read. I’m sure I was very excited about it at the time because we grew up with books (both parents were teachers, hello) and I loved reading from a very young age. But I don’t remember the excitement of going from illiterate to literate. Enter my son. This kid is so amazing, he continues to blow my mind with how quickly he learns and grasps new things. I’ve shown off enough about how I think Liam is a genius, go read his baby posts and it’s all about our Baby Einstein. No shame or humility at all in these parts. So allow me to relish in my parenting achievement of having an almost-reader at age 5YEARS3MONTHS. (Let’s ignore the fact that this probably has nothing to do with my parenting, or that Chinese babies are reading at age 3, but just give me my moment please).
Liam can read. Like he can string words together and read sentences. I simply cannot believe it. We’ve been learning words and spelling for a while now, he has been able to spell simple three letter words for some time. But this weekend my sister unlocked the key to reading sentences – it pays to have a first grade teacher in the family. She said he needs to learn and KNOW those words that appear often without having to spell or think about them: it, is, this, that, he, she, there, were, his, him, etc, etc. And then I realised that these were like the “bridging” words that allow one to create sentences. It’s all well and good knowing CAT, SIT, MAT but those little bridging words allow THE cat TO sit ON THE mat. You see what I mean, isn’t that awesome? On Friday afternoon, my sister wrote a few simple sentences on her iPad and went over these “bridging” words with Liam and not even long after, this was the result:
HOW BLOODY AMAZING IS THIS KID?? I cannot tell you how happy I am. That feeling that I cannot remember of learning to read myself… I feel it for my kid. I am so excited for him. And Liam? HE IS OVER THE MOON. It is heartwarming to watch. It makes me giddy, I want him to read ALL THE BOOKS. NOW!!! My sis took me back to basics, so this morning I’ve made flash cards of all the words I think are bridging words, and we’ll learn those quickly. I don’t know how one teaches words other than simple 3 letter sounding words, but for now I really want to hone this simple skill first, so that by the time he gets to Grade R, he is a fluent reader. Then I’ll leave the rest up to his teacher – I need to pay these exorbitant school fees for SOMETHING, right?
Anyway, I have a new party trick… I will be showing off my new reader to EVERYONE. I’m so proud! This child of mine.
Liam, you continue to astound me with how smart, witty, and sensitive you are. Your intellect has nothing to do with IQ but everything to do with how open and eager and excited you are to learn. I pray that this fire that burns within you continues to rage as you open yourself up to learning all the wonderful things that life has in store, if we but grab the opportunities in front of us. I can’t wait to lay with my eyes closed and just listen as YOU read to ME. Nothing would make me happier than you finding and losing yourself in a good book. You are the most amazing little boy I know, probably because you are MINE, but also because you are YOU. Congratulations on probably one of the most amazing things to happen to a human being! The power and the privilege to read.
So you guys know from this post that we were awaiting the outcome of our Grade R application for next year. Well I received the call to say that Liam had been accepted and that we need to come in with him for a little induction in about a month’s time. I am so relieved I cannot even articulate it properly. Like a huge weight has been lifted. Like I have one less thing keeping me up at night. Like when we’re at the school parties and all the conscientious parents are going on and on about how they’ve been on a list for years and their kid was accepted years ago and I just keep quiet because the only list my kid is on is his current class register. Now I can say, “oh my kid has a school” and roll my eyes dramatically like having a school was something we had thought about years ago.
Then I made the mistake of telling Liam that the big school had called and hooray he can go there. Rookie error, I admit, but I wanted him to be excited about it too and also I just could not keep this sort of good news to myself. The kid wants to do a countdown of how many sleeps until big school. He wants me to explain how long a year takes (it’s less than a year but I had to give him a timeframe to work with). So I counted in months because 8 months just sounds closer than a gazillion sleeps, right? Anyway, a part of me is happy that he knows and we have all this time to prepare him mentally and emotionally for this change which is sure to bring about mixed emotions for him.
He has only ever been at one school since he was 20 months old (we don’t talk about that horrible little school we dumped him in for a few months when he was just 18 months old.) So making friends wasn’t an issue really, he just grew up with the same group of kids and they have become fast friends because they’ve known each other since forever. Same thing with church: he has moved up with the same bunch of kids since he was 1. Yes, kids come and go, but he has his special church friends. He hasn’t had to go out there on his own and start over and actively MAKE friends. I am little worried about this, I won’t lie. Also, a lot of the class would have moved up together from Grade 00 so I think he will feel quite odd to begin with, so I’m glad I have this time to prepare him for that. He is an extrovert so I am not unduly worried, my anxiety stems more from the fact that he hasn’t been in this situation before, so I really don’t know how he’ll cope/react. But I’m trusting God that he’ll be FINE.
So now we face the next challenge.. making it all work. This school isn’t up the road. It will mean two different drop offs in the morning before I need to be at work. It will also mean leaving work during the day to take them home.. I am not paying for aftercare at this stage when I have a full time live in helper. Also aftercare is so darn expensive! So yes, I am going to drive A LOT. But of course we thought about and agreed on all these things before we signed up for this, so we know what we are in for. Also hoping that my hours will change as of next year – this discussion is already underway. At the very worst, this will be only for a year. Once Hannah and him are together, it will be easier of course.
Right now, I am just grateful that he has somewhere to go and that he is correctly positioned for where we want him to complete his primary school career. Also, I am taking donations for anyone who wants to contribute to the hefty deposit/placement fee we need to pay, any ‘ol soul who feels like they want to just throw some money my way, I’m your girl.
Today is the day I submit the application pack for Liam’s big school. My stomach is actually in knots. You see, this is it. There’s no second choice. This is IT. If he doesn’t get in here, I’m not really sure WHAT we are going to do. So this HAS.TO.BE.IT.
If you’ve been reading a while, you’ll know that Liam is in Grade R this year. Both him and Hannah go to a preschool (which I LOVE LOVE LOVE) which ends at Grade R and then you have to leave. Boo hoo, I wish they could just stay there forever. He is, however, very young. He has just turned five, which means he is a year ahead of where he should be. So in order for him to be 6 turning 7 in the year he enters Grade 1, he will repeat Grade R next year. Now, if you remember, I did have my issues with this… I think he is smart enough to enter Grade 1 next year. I think he is emotionally ready purely because I think he is on par with his peers who WILL enter Grade 1 next year. I sincerely think he would have been fine in Grade 1 next year. Hashtag Just Saying. However (and I know Cat will be happy with this!) I’ve decided that that extra year will do him no harm – it will be to his benefit in fact. He’ll be none the wiser, he is moving schools so it’s not like his friends move on and he stays behind, it’s still a new experience for him. Also, he’ll be the same age as his peers, he’ll participate in sports and extra murals with the correct age group, he’ll have a whole year on his peers (having repeated Grade R) so he should be the most brightest and most cleverest and most wonderful boy there (I need to work on this competitive thing, I really do). I’m kidding. The main reason is that I want him to be in the best position to feed into the big school we have chosen. And his best chance of this, is if he attends the preschool which feeds into that primary school – because we do not live in the catchment area and this automatically puts us on the B list and I simply cannot take that chance. No ways.
The primary school is government and because we are going government, I’ve really put a lot of time and energy in selecting a GOOD one.. however, the preschool is privately run and the fees are HECTIC. AND its half day. AND they only get a mid morning snack. Where they are now, although the fees are high, it’s full day and they get breakfast and lunch and two snacks in between. This also means that I’ll have TWO school drop offs because Hannah will stay where she is for another year. It’s going to be quite a change (and challenge) to our routine. BUT, it’s a great school. And that is all. I am willing to make sacrifices NOW in order to make sure this kid gets the education I so desire for him (at a rate I can afford!).
So this is why I’m feeling all sorts of anxious this morning. He HAS to get into this school. I may or may not have overdone it with the application and made it pretty with colourful tabs and a lovely folder and fancy paper clips and a letter of recommendation from MYSELF about my OWN kid. His current principal has assured me that she will make a call and give him (and us) a further glowing report. I’ve prayed over this application and I’m THIS close to spraying my perfume on it – kind of like a love letter. I’m JOKING. Relax.
So hold thumbs for me. I mean for Liam. Who would have thought that big school would be so stressful?
Ps: can someone explain to me, the reason that schools request such a LARGE sum of money as a NON REFUNDABLE application fee?? What do they use that money for? I mean WHAT is the purpose of the application fee? You paying to submit a whole lot of papers basically? And if your child is rejected you don’t even get it back! WAH! And who’s to say that they don’t just keep accepting applications even though they know they are full, in order to cash up with the NON REFUNDABLE application fee? I don’t know, can someone explain this to me?
I love positive reinforcement. I really do. My love language is very much centered around people telling me how great I am. Ha! That’s a joke, but on a serious note I like to hear that I did a good job, or that my parents are proud of me, or that my kids think I am the bomb diggity. I know we shouldn’t base our value or selfworth on what other people think because not everyone WILL like you, and they don’t have to, and often people’s opinions are based more on how THEY see themselves and their personal frame of reference, rather than on how YOU really are – if that makes sense?
Anyway, today I received some real positive reinforcement and it wasn’t an obvious compliment, in fact it was not given as a compliment at all, but I will take it as I see it thank you very much. So I was called into the school today to have a little talk. Now I don’t know about you, but when you are summoned to the principal’s office, you fear the worst. The call did say that it wasn’t urgent or cause for worry but as a parent you can’t help but worry. I thought that Liam was misbehaving because he has been going through a horrid little patch at home. Then I thought they were going to enquire about Hannah’s stutter – a post for that topic coming soon.
Well it was none of that. Turns out Hannah is doing so very well, she is above her peers and is been given work from the green group because she mows through the yellow group work very quickly. They went as far as to say she is even brighter than Liam was at this age, and for me, that is truly saying something because as I am sure you have always picked up from my writing, I think Liam is a genius. Ha! They wanted to know if I was happy to move her up to the next class as she is already doing that work and coping really well – this of course means that if and when the time comes, she may have to repeat Grade R because of her age, but of course we are going through this with Liam now and I understand all the implications. They showed me the class’s work and without exaggerating I have to say her work stands out. I am so very proud.
We talked about Liam and we’ve decided to leave him where he is for now, he will progress with the rest of the class to Grade R next year and we will assess whether or not he is ready for Grade 1 when that time comes. He was also given a glowing report – he works well, interacts well, he is a joy to have in the classroom, he isn’t a bully but stands up for himself if he has to, and so on. Very proud again.
But here’s the crunch for me, besides them being smart (and I’m not naïve, I know that being “clever” at this age actually means very little in the grand scheme of things, so you know your colours and shapes, big deal), so besides that, the overall comment and feeling was that my kids are good. They are nice little people. Even though I tried to sway them to believe otherwise. And perhaps they say this to all the parents, but it still touched my heart in a way that no one word can explain. And that, for me, is the greatest compliment ever. Those are MY offspring, borne and bread of ME, I helped mould them into the little people they are. MY hardwork is paying off. Those long, tired hours of caring for them – through sickness and through health, through teething and through fevers, through learning to crawl, walk, run and jump, night after night of sleeplessness, lots of tears from both them and me – I feel some small part of accomplishment that they have turned out alright; they are cool kids. Thank you Jesus.
Parenting is not easy, it’s so difficult that some days I want to throw in the towel and just walk through the door without looking back. But when someone, or a situation, acknowledges that you are doing OK, ESPECIALLY when you think you really suck at it, it really makes it all seem worthwhile. I don’t live for praise, that would just be stupid, but every once in a while it’s nice to hear good things about something or someone you have invested in.
I saw this status on Facebook this morning and it was just so apt for today what with my baby starting school and my big boy joining the Red Group. I still find it hard to believe that both my children are in the education system for the next 16 years or so. I was just pregnant the other day, hell, I was in high school just the other day (ok 13 years ago wasn’t just the other day) , and now I have two children in school.
Hannah has been ready to go to school for the last six months, maybe even longer. She has wanted to join her brother at school probably from the time she started talking, so there was great excitement leading up to today. So much excitement, in fact, that I hope she isn’t disappointed. Like maybe school is this magical, fantastic thing in her mind when really it’s just play, eat, sleep, you know? Nah, she is going to love it! Yesterday we laid out their clothes, because I wanted to avoid any fashion wobblies on the first day. So we ooohed and aahed over what to wear, in the end Liam was laying on the floor with his head in his hands begging her to just make up her mind already – really the psychology behind a girl and fashion fascinates me? Liam took all of three seconds to choose his Spiderman top, a pair of shorts and his striped underpants. Hannah took about half an hour to choose her outfit and even then, she still wasn’t sure. We packed their new school bags and went over the school rules: no biting, no pinching, no hitting. No whining, and telling tales, and PLEASE PLEASE no crying for every little thing. No bullying and if someone does something you don’t like, you tell Teacher. Liam must look after his sister and she must look after her brother. Pep talk #1 done. As you can tell, these are MY rules and not really the school rules but they take me more seriously if I say these rules come from Principal Ruth, rather than Mom. Everyone was in bed by 7h30pm and although everyone was excited, I still had to battle to get them out of bed this morning – they even slept through the alarm which was blaring around 6am because the hubby went for a jog and booby trapped us in the house (another story for another day).
Our adjusted morning routine went well… although I foresee Hannah’s hair being the biggest time stealer. This morning I was still brushing it while she ate her porridge, and while she walked up and down testing her new shoes. Need to improve my skills and forget the fancy hair styles for the school week.
When we got to school, she confidently walked through the gate behind her brother and hugged Mrs P, the administrator, like she (Hannah) was part of the furniture. We took Liam to his class and she didn’t waste time finding a seat and starting a puzzle, while we greeted all the staff. When I called to her to join me at the door, I saw the hesitation and the tears well up as she looked from Liam to me because she didn’t want to leave him. But those big girl panties obviously work well because she pulled herself together and off we toddled to the Yellow Group. After much hugging and lots of hoopla over choosing her locker, she was happy to find a space and start a puzzle. She looks older than most of the children in the baby class and most of them are still in nappies, but Principal Ruth and I agreed that she would start in the baby class and we’d consider bumping her up if need be. She kissed me goodbye and whispered “I love you” in my ear and that was it!
No tears from either of us and I feel so much more comfortable about her first day than I did about Liam’s first day all those moons ago. Probably because I know the school and the teachers and I know Hannah will flourish there.
A side note about Liam: that child is a real star. He is so unfazed about life and change and upset, he just gets on with it. We took him to choose a school bag last week and he was totally besotted with a bag on wheels, so we bought it for him. When I got to work on Monday the first newsletter from the school had arrived and in big bold letters it stipulated that bags on wheels were not allowed this year. Apparently they had lots of tears last year from toes that had been bumped, trodden and plodded on by wheelie bags and they were quite a distraction – go figure. I felt so bad to break the news to Liam, but he patted my arm and said “that’s ok mom, take it back to the shop then.” He is still a whiner and a crier of significant NOTE, but his heart is in the right place! He is so protective over his sister and this morning he was giving her tips about school in the backseat. Very cute. He loves school, he was excited to see his little friends and his teachers and I barely got a wave as we left.
So yes at the start of this academic year, my prayer for my kids is that the rest of their lives, will indeed be the best of their lives. Starting school is probably one of the biggest and most daunting experiences that a kid will endure, like your first day at a new job X 100000! Pretty big deal, huh?
Hoping you and your little (and big) ones have a great academic year too xxx
I’ve blogged myself into coma over this subject, but there’ still more to be said. In fact I think it will be an ongoing discussion until my kids graduate from high school (here’s hoping the arthritis still allows me to type by then).
So I am in the throes of trying to find Liam and Hannah a suitable school for next year. My heart is physically pained at the idea of having to take Liam out of his current school because we are truly happy there. The facilities, the extra murals, the curriculum and most importantly the staff are really A grade. However, it is expensive and with Hannah going to school next year, both the hubby and I cannot justify spending THAT amount of money on “creche.” If I could afford it comfortably, I wouldn’t even tremble at the thought of slamming my credit card down on the prinicipal’s desk and saying “double or nothing, fees upfront for the year, ya heard.” But with primary school education close on the horizon for both of them – a year apart, we’d rather work towards THAT than fork out lots of money now for them to really just have a good time in the day (which is what little people at this age should be doing, right?). I do understand the benefit of a good pre-school grounding (my sister is a grade 1 teacher so I know all about it), but for now we need to focus on the future and find a more reasonably priced school that still meets little people’s educational/emotional needs, if we intend to eat anything more than bread and jam for the next few years.
So this is where we’re at.
I’ve visited a few schools in the last two weeks, none which blew me away. Yesterday my visit to another school yielded somewhat more positive results and we’re scheduled to meet the principal next week. My modus operandi is usually to just rock up during the day and ask for a tour. Some schools have been willing, others won’t let me through the gate. The ones who won’t oblige on the spot are immediately taken off my list (believe me, I can tell their hesitancy is not due to security reasons). So I had a walk through yesterday… and I liked what I saw. Everyone in their little uniforms, smiling up at me, looking well and happy. Some in the playground with their big sun hats on. Other’s lining up for their potty break. And to be honest, that’s what usually does it for me. The kids. Yes I like to see the classroom layout and the art on the walls and the playground facility and the “look” of the teachers, but I usually take my cue from the kids. I have been to some schools were there’s just crying and misery and everyone looks pretty sad with lots of snot hanging from their noses. I kid you not – there are some schools who shouldn’t even be licensed.
So yes, after all my school stalking, I hope this is the one. It’s closer to our new home, it’s within our budget, and I get a feeling wooohooohooo (you know that song?) and if there’s one thing I have learnt (and one thing my sister in law just reminded me about yesterday) it’s to go with your gut. Now to prep the kids for their visit. Liam needs to do more listening and less talking and Hannah needs to extract her dummy out of her mouth for long enough for the principal to see that she does indeed talk.
I blog about this often but it’s just such a hot topic when you have little ones and particularly in my case, where I have a child who goes to school and one who stays at home.
Today, my 3 year old child recognised the country flags of Israel, Zimbabwe, the United States of America, China and the United Kingdom. Last week they studied the countries of the world and this week he came home with all the work they had done on this subject. I was astounded and so very proud – even if it was learning by rote! Now I don’t think that knowing foreign countries’ flags means anything (unless you want to be a champion Pictionary or 30 Seconds player) but I do think it’s something worth knowing, and I do believe it’s the start to learning about your world, and that there is life outside of your mom and dad and siblings. I am so happy with what Liam is learning at school and his own personal progress that I really want to put Hannah into school as soon as possible.
Before Hannah was born, and in my idealistic mind, it was my intention to keep Liam at home for as long as possible. I had read much literature which alluded to the fact that boys didn’t need any form of schooling until age three. I was happy for him to be home, away from all the nasty school germs, for as long as possible. Then Hannah came along and we were forced to enrol Liam in school – for everyone’s benefit because someone would have ultimately suffered… either Liam who would have been put in front of the TV for hours on end while Zoleka saw to Hannah. Or Hannah who would be left to cry while Zoleka saw to Liam. Or Zoleka would just simply burn out from caring for a new born and a one year old. So when Liam turned 18 months and I was getting ready to go back to work after maternity leave, he started school. The first school we enrolled him in was a complete disaster. It was more of a child care facility and Liam was receiving very little stimulation and was not happy to be there. Again, if I had a choice, I would have pulled him from the schooling system there and then, but because I didn’t have a choice, we looked for a better school. And THAT was the best thing I could have done for him. He has flourished, grown in leaps and bounds and has developed at such an alarming rate, that I sometimes forget he has just only turned three. I mean the flags of the world, really?!!
This brings me to Hannah, I can see that she is a different child because she hasn’t been exposed to school. I do not deny that I am to blame here. I have no time or inclination to teach Hannah how to colour correctly, how to hold a pencil, how to learn the days of the week, or the months of the year or her colours. I do try to incorporate learning as much as I can into our day to day activities by identifying colours or counting as we climb the stairs but I can’t exactly say her brain is being as stimulated as Liam’s is during the day. In fact, Liam is the only person who is really interested in helping Hannah learn anything worthwhile, because he likes to “play school” and he is the teacher and Hannah is the pupil. Hoping that this will pay off. Ha. But just in being exposed to other children, and being exposed to structured learning from a young age, I can see what a difference this has made in Liam. And I do not think that this sets him above children who do not go to school, I just think that his mind and body are being exercised in a way that I, personally, would not be able to manage if he was a child who stayed home with a helper. Hannah’s speech is delayed and mentally she is nowhere near where Liam was at her age. AND I don’t mean from an intelligence level, because I am most certainly not comparing the two; every child is different, I mean from just being exposed to school and having a teacher to physically teach you things. You can’t deny the value in having someone sit with you for 8 hours actually learning through play, right? And for this simple reason, I want Hannah to go to school too. I want her to be exposed. That’s all. I don’t care if she doesn’t know the flags of the world, I don’t care if she calls the colour blue, pink, until she is 5 years old. But I just want her to be in that environment where her little mind and body are given the full opportunity to learn and grasp and discover and be amazed. And I know it may make no difference in the long run, I myself only went to school at age 4, but I want to give her that opportunity at least.
So I’m hoping to have her in school by the end of the year, once we have settled down in our new house and the kids are over the disruption that a new house brings. It will also be warmer so getting up in the mornings will be less traumatising. In the mean time, I will continue to be amazed at what Liam is learning every day… the other day he came home and explained what “technology” is. For real. He said “it’s computers and email and stuff”. Yeh, that’s right. Boy genius, I tell you.
When your kids are still babies, and you are in the throes of breastfeeding, diaper changing and burping, one gives very little thought to what lies ahead. Things like education, extra mural activities, holidays, exercising your child’s potential on and off the sports field – you don’t really think about these issues when you’re low on sleep and high on love for your little baby. Yes, you may have a policy here or there which will mature in 15 years, giving your little cherub about 6 months worth of good schooling, but you don’t really consider the implications of having this baby, beyond the expense of a cot, a pram and milk and diapers for the next two to three years. Because I had no intention of sending Liam to a school where he needed to be on the waiting list pretty much from the day after he was conceived, I didn’t worry too much about “big” school. However, now that he goes to pre-school, I am exposed to other parents who have registered their kids at such schools, parents whose children (3 year olds) are involved in a different extra mural activity everyday to “expose” their kids and to “understand and develop” a future South African rugby player or footballer. This got me thinking about the cost (physical and emotional) attached to raising a child.
I’ve always been of the mindset that I’d like my children to attend a public / government school. Everyone usually gasps in shock and horror when I say that. But the truth is, I want my children to be surrounded by the common people, the plebeians! People who are the same as we are. I want them to be aware of the world as it is. Private school would create a false idea of my children’s world. Because our world is unfortunately not skiing holidays in the Alps, or Mini Coopers for their 16th birthdays or a wardrobe full of Gap, La Coste and other preppy labels. As much as I would love this for myself and my kids, it’s not our reality. And even if I won the Lotto tomorrow (because as it stands, I couldn’t afford private schooling anyway), I’m not sure that I would swop our reality for that reality anyway. This said, I want my kids to go to a school where teachers are dedicated, in my opinion whether you’re at a public or a private school – it’s the mettle of the teacher that really counts. I’d like them to attend a school where life skills are as important as algebra. I want them to be proud of their Alma Mater, not because of the number of lawyers or doctors who passed through the school, but because they were groomed to be high standing citizens who value the privilege of a good education.
Education is expensive, but I think the real cost comes from the time, effort and dedication that you, as the parent, devote to ensuring that your child is getting the best education, no matter what educational establishment you enrol them in. I believe that by getting involved at cake sales and other fundraising events, by getting to know your children’s teachers, by attending parent/teacher evenings and checking homework every night – YOU are already setting the foundation for your child to get a great education. Even now, I think I may be the thorn in Liam’s teacher’s side, but in order for Liam to reach his potential, she has to teach well, as I have to parent well – so all of us have to pull together. I know the schooling years are the toughest and most gruelling years (the baby years have nothing on it) for both the child and the parent and the cost attached to this phase often goes way beyond your pocket and your heart can stand. I want my kids to go out there and be awesome. Whether it’s in the classroom or on the sports field, whether they suck at maths and prefer home economics (is that still a subject?) or they battle with spelling, I want them to enjoy (for the most part) their schooling years. I want to choose a school where they are pushed to their limits in order to achieve the best results that they can, and be the best person they can be. Yes, I want them to play sports, because activity of the body is as important as activity of the mind, but I don’t need them to be the next Hansie or Bennie. Yes, I would love them to go to university, get degrees and be head hunted for wonderful careers, but if they prefer to go back packing through Europe, then I’m ok with that too. My point is that the education you give your children, in my opinion, has very little to do with the school fees you are paying. You may disagree, but I’m more concerned with finding the right teachers under the right leadership in a well rounded school, than a school who can boast of an in house stable filled with award winning horses.
In terms of extra mural activities – the list is endless. Your child can learn to play a musical instrument or play a sport. They can join Monkeynastix or Playball or KiddiesChef. Go on and Google it, this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the extra mural list, and the more I investigate options for my children, the more nervous I become. Yes, I want my children to have equal opportunities to all things fun. Yes, I want my children to develop their hand / eye coordination and their balance and their left and right brain. Yes, I want to give them the opportunity to perhaps be really good at playing the piano or doing ballet. But where do you draw the line? Besides the expense of enrolling your child in extra mural activities, what about the physical demand on this little person to be on the go all day, every day, flitting from one activity to the next. What happened to just kicking a ball in the back yard and playing hide and go seek with the other kids in the complex. Surely the lessons you learn in the play ground are the same as the ones you learn in an air conditioned indoor soccer Astroturf building? I am pretty sure about what sort of school I want to send my kids to, but when it comes to extra mural, I am stumped. I do believe swimming is critical, firstly and most importantly for safety, and thereafter for fun and enjoyment. But after that? I’m not really sure. And I most certainly do not have the time or financial resource to enrol both of them in EVERYTHING. My husband and I agreed we’d see which way their interest swayed and make a decision from there. But they BOTH love arts and crafts, they BOTH love to mess in the kitchen, they BOTH love playing outside, they BOTH love swimming, they BOTH love dancing whenever a beat comes on – I like to think of them as the perfect all rounders. Ha! So what we have decided to do is let them enjoy a different activity per school term or for as long as that activity cycle runs. Then the next time, they can try something else. And unless we see an innate desire or talent, we’ll move onto the next activity. This may or may not be good, after all without perseverance or persistent training, how do you ever become good at something, but I think this is the route we’ll go, simply until something gives.
So while you may think that life cannot get any worse, when you are up in the middle of the night with a colic-y baby or you are changing the 10th diaper in as many hours, I do believe that the hard part is yet to come. The little taste I’ve had of the schooling system, has left me feeling very overwhelmed and even a little intimidated. We all want the best for our kids, no doubt, but the trick is to give them the best, with the resources you have, while still making them feel like they are missing out on nothing!
And THIS my friends, is why they say parenting is not for sissies!