the hyphens that define my life

Open House September 17, 2013

Filed under: Life — multihyphenatedme @ 8:55 pm
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School has been in session all of 12 days, time to have Open House at the elementary school.

We were excited to sit in the classrooms and learn about Spokane Public Schools.

Our 3rd grader has struck a chord with his teacher, and she loves him already.  Thankfully she has a soft spot for squirrelly boys and appreciates his charm and energy.  His class consists of 23 kids, a fourth fewer students than his 2nd grade class.  This can only be good.

Our 4th grader is in a 3rd/4th combination class.  When I first learned that he, our most diligent student, was in a combo, I nearly lost my mind.  I marched to the school office and said, “No way, no how.”  That weekend, at a block party the weekend before school started, I met two moms with 4th graders in the same class.  They told me the teacher was a dynamo and rest-assured that she will challenge my son and there will be nothing lost on his 4th grade experience.  “Uh-huh, ok, let’s see.”  The first day of school, I poured out my heart to this lovely teacher explaining that school is the one place my middle child gets to be himself and shine.  I didn’t want my 4th grader to share a 3rd grade experience.  She listened and appreciated my concern, told me “he will do just fine” and sent me on my way.

Sigh.  I was concerned.  Then, as time passed, information came home, and then sitting through the class presentation tonight, I am on board with the combo class and this incredible teacher.  My kids have been in combo classes before and I don’t mind them typically, since I’ve known the teachers.  Coming in blind, I was neurotic.

The 3/4 combo has 25 kids, again, a fourth fewer than his prior class.  What an amazing difference in what a teacher can accomplish with 8 less kids!

The biggest noticeable differences from California to Washington schools are that music and art are separate classes.  Fine arts lives in the northwest!!  My 3rd grader proclaimed he was a singer and sings, out loud, every day.  He does manage to carry a tune fairly well too!

The boys were first shocked that the cafeteria was indoors – and in the basement – not outside, not realizing that serious weather is on the way.  One thing both boys love about their new school is the gymnasium complete with a rock climbing wall. Their all-time favorite difference between their old and new schools is the school hours.  In California, the kids went to school from 7:45 AM – 2:15 PM with early release at 1:15 on Wednesdays.  In Spokane, school hours are 9:00 AM – 3 PM with late start at 9:30 on Thursdays.  I love the school hours too!  No more early morning battles to get out of bed.  They are hoping for snow days in addition to what is built into the calendar, little do they know that they make up those days in the summer.

We are thrilled with the boys school, teachers and classrooms.  Hurray!

Next week we have middle school open house.  From what I’ve seen already, and our 7th graders reports, our school research prior to our move has really paid off well.  WHEW!


My Favorite Night September 2, 2013

The kids were thrilled to learn that their new school day is from 8:55 AM until 3:00 PM, a full hour later start in the morning and forty-five minute later release in the afternoon. The kids translated this late start to a later bedtime. Ha ha, silly kids, no chance.
Back-to-school night is my favorite night.

Yes! Early to bed, early to rise makes a man (or child of mine) healthy, wealthy and wise.
Our school night bedtime is 9 PM and the boys are grumbling and missing summer night free-for-alls already. They will sleep until 7 AM, giving them ten solid glorious hours of sleep. Well rested, they are set up for success at school or so I hope.

Nerves, anxiety and apprehension are running high tonight. First day of school is one thing. A new school, new kids, new teachers are a whole other can of worms. As an involved mom (no, I did not say helicopter mom), I too am apprehensive. Will I find my place in the new elementary and middle schools? We’ll start with the coffee meet and greet tomorrow morning and meet the principal at the elementary school and see where the new path takes me.

Having rested and rejuvenated with 6 days off work, I have back to work anxiety too. I haven’t opened my email or listened to a voicemail or answered my phone in 6 days. I can’t remember the last time I took time off completely without checking in. Of course I’ll pay for it this entire week playing catch up, but as restful and relaxed as I feel in this moment is completely worth it.  My six day vacation doesn’t equate with a full summer off from school but I too feel the pressure of going back.

A college sophomore, a seventh grader, a fourth grader and a third grader confirms my babies are growing up.

Our seventh grader texted his older sister today and asked her how to make friends at a new school. Direct hit to my heart. Honestly though son, have you ever had an issue making friends? No. I gave the advice to be a friend to get a friend. Do what’s right, lend a helping hand and support the underdog.

Our youngest said today at lunch that he would be the loneliest kid in class and won’t have any friends at all. The kid that can’t stop talking and has no fear to speak to anyone about anything and is capable of befriending kids much older and much younger than him as well as his own age, will certainly have difficulty making a friend. Yeah, right.

Our nine-year-old fourth grader is completely opposite with his sites set high. He proclaimed at lunch today that he will be the most popular kid in the fourth grade. That’s the spirit!

My husband is in charge of our nightly bedtime ritual of bath, teeth, reading and bed. I hear that showers are finished, teeth are brushed and the boys are in bed reading. I will end now to head upstairs and kiss them goodnight. Then I will run downstairs and click my heals and maybe add a fist pump to celebrate my favorite – BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT!! WOO!