Archive for the ‘school’ Category

Babess at school!

June 10, 2013

Babess is very nearly five!  Where have the last few years gone?  Did anyone see them?  I think they flashed by.

In two weeks she will start school.  She has been waiting for this for a very long time indeed.  She proclaimed herself ready before Fainjin started school, a year and a half ago.  And while I have been wondering where the time  has gone, for her it has dragged – just after her fourth birthday she informed me that she had had another sneaky one, so she was five now and could go to school thank you very much.  Earlier this year she moaned, “It’s taking tooooo long!”

So today was a very big day: her first School Visit.  We went to the school office first, to pick up her stationery pack, and then she bounced all the way to her classroom.

Once there, she suddenly became shy and wanted to hold my hand all the time, which was pretty predictable.  Her teacher made her feel very welcome, and introduced her to some of her classmates.  Babess was confident enough after a little while to join the class on the mat for news time while I sat quietly in the background.

Babess chose not to share any news, but she listened attentively to the children who did.  After news was maths time, and they are learning about measuring things.  Again, Babess didn’t contribute to the discussion, but when it came to the activities she participated happily, counting blocks into containers, measuring a classmate with long wooden blocks, and rolling playdough into fat and thin snakes.

The letter of the day was “J”, and the class was able to come up with lots of words starting with J – jump, jam, jeans, jacket, and so on.  Babess recited them all (about 20?) back to me on our walk home, so I know she was listening!  There was some writing practice on the whiteboard, and then it was morning tea time.

I thought that was probably enough school for us for the day – and enough of us in the classroom for the class and teacher – so Babess and I went to our favourite cafe for a celebratory morning tea.  Later in the week we will go back, and stay longer.

The other “grown-up” thing she did today was to join Fainjin in his beginners’ tap class.  She did very well, had a great time, and the double-dose of cuteness each Monday afternoon may very well give me a permanent silly grin.

© UpsideBackwards 2013.


April 18, 2013

Tomorrow Pearl’s class is having an “Electronics Day”, where they are allowed (but not required) to bring an electronic device to school to use in their afternoon free time.  This is a reward for lots of hard work in a long term – tomorrow is the last day of term.  They’re also having a shared lunch (also known as cooking homework for Mum – Pearl wants to take cinnamon buns so those are rising as I write).

We heard about this E-day during the parent-teacher-child conference, and I was initially baffled as to what Pearl could take for it.  We don’t have much in the way of child-friendly electronics.  No game machines, i-pods etc.  But Pearl’s face lit up.  “Mum!  Can I bring the e-reader?”

“Oh!  Yes, you could take my e-reader to school,” I agreed.  Pearl explained to her teacher that we can load library books onto it.

He grinned.  “So, for electronics day, you want to bring a book and read it?  Great!”

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

Planning ahead

April 16, 2013

Tonight we had parent-teacher-child conferences at school.  Fainjin was encouraged to talk about his strengths.  He had written that he was good at “fiting” (fighting! oh my!) and writing, and we discussed a few more.  He agreed that he’s good at building things with Lego, and his teacher said, “I think you must be good at planning too, aren’t you?”

He looked mystified, and she said, “When you’re building things, you have to decide what to build, and plan it in your head.”

“I just use my imagination,” he said dubiously.

“That’s right, but how do you know what you’re going to build, what it’s going to look like?”

He still looked very uncertain of what she was getting at.  “Well, mostly I like building battleships?  So… I just build those.  I just… do my work?”

I suspect the “plan in his head” is so strong and well-defined for him that he’s not really even aware he does it.  He decides to build a battleship, and just knows exactly what he’s going to do to get it without thinking about it.

© UpsideBackwards 2013.


March 8, 2013

Fainjin gets five spelling words to learn each week.  He’s only 6, so the words are ones like “he” and “went”.  (Pearl gets 20 words like “efficiency” and “character”).

He finds it easier to think when he’s building something, I think, and so quite often I practise with him while he’s playing with his Lego.  I’ll say the word and he’ll spell it out.  He does pretty well, usually getting them all right.

Tonight I pulled out his spelling notebook and he exclaimed, “Yay! The guessing game!”

I’m not sure he’s quite grasped the intention of “learning” the spelling words!  (But a snarky part of me wanted to quip, “With an attitude like that, you could be a journalist”…)

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

School’s back

February 15, 2013

Wow, what a busy couple of weeks it has been.  School is back, various after-school activities – but not all of them – have started again, and the morning and afternoon time-juggle has been quite strenuous as I am back at work and coordinating the five of us to all end up in the same place at the same time (ie the dinner table at dinner time!) at the end of the day has been a challenge.

I failed earlier this week, forgot to get them from their three different locations in the right order, and ended up with a couple of extra long bus trips with kids in tow.

Pearl is happy at school so far.  She is in an extension programme which she is really excited about and is preparing for a school camp in a few weeks which will include a horse-riding trip.

Fainjin has had a harder time of it.  He was very anxious about going back because he didn’t want to be in a new class with a new teacher.  He has been “finding the boundaries” with his new teacher, and spent some time in the “reflection room” considering his options.  He seems to have come to some good conclusions, though, and his teacher is happy with how things are going.

Babess is still itching to go to school.  She insists on packing a lunchbox each morning – despite the fact that daycare provides lunch and snacks – and takes it in a school bag.

Only four months to wait…

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

Teacher Training

November 28, 2012

Fainjin is tiring of school  a little bit.  This isn’t very surprising – he’s only 5, it’s his first year, and we’re nearly at the end of it.  Everyone is tired.

His teacher has mentioned to me that sometimes he just decides he doesn’t want to do something that the class is doing.  She has found that promising him a turn on the class i-pad later is a good motivator – and sometimes she doesn’t even need to follow through because he forgets!


This afternoon he said to me, “Mum, do you know why I decided to cry at handwriting time today?”

“What?! You cried at handwriting time?  Why?”

“Because then Mrs X says I can have a turn on the i-pad!”  He was quite pleased with this strategy.

Fainjin and I had a little conversation about this behaviour.  I’ll be having a little conversation with Mrs X, too…

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Slow news day

November 26, 2012

Apparently Fainjin shared news at school this morning.  He chose to tell the class about the tummy bug he had last week, and how he threw up on the carpet in the lounge.

I can only imagine the other joys a teacher of five-year-olds gets to share!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Sense & Sensibility

November 4, 2012

We were at the school fair, and I was working on a stall.  The family came to visit me, then wandered off – Pearl to explore with her friends, The Dad and the little ones in another direction.

About quarter of an hour later, Fainjin appeared in front of me.  I was tucked around a corner, and it was crowded.  I assumed the others were right behind him.

“Hello there!” I said brightly, and was dismayed when his face crumpled.

“I’ve lost Daddy and Babess!” he wailed.  I pulled him around to my side of the sales table and gave him a big hug.  Thank goodness for cellphones, I was able to let The Dad know immediately where he was.

They had been looking at something outside when it started to rain.  Fainjin was facing away from The Dad when he said, “Come on kids, let’s move over here to stay dry.”  The Dad saw exactly what happened – he and Babess moved (not realising Fainjin hadn’t heard him), then Fainjin turned around and couldn’t locate them in the crowd.  The Dad called out and waved, and wasn’t far away at all, but Fainjin moved in a different direction through the crowd.  The Dad could see the moment when Fainjin made the decision that he couldn’t see Dad or Babess and needed to do something.  He cut through a classroom, and it was at this point that The Dad lost sight of him.

Sensible boy, he knew exactly where I was and that I wouldn’t have moved, so he came straight to me.  He knows the school well by now, but it was very crowded and full of unfamiliar obstacles in the form of fair stalls.

Lots of relief all round.  I gave Fainjin lots of cuddles and told him how proud I was that he thought so clearly and didn’t panic, but did the sensible thing and came to tell me the others were lost (I noted to myself with considerable amusement that he wasn’t lost, The Dad and Babess were – but that makes sense, as Fainjin goes to that school and they don’t!).

It was a safe environment and no-one was actually lost for more than a minute or two, but it was a sharp reminder of how quickly we can inadvertently lose contact in a crowd and the perils that await.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Let’s go swimming…

October 14, 2012

Fainjin starts swimming lessons at school this week.  He’s excited about it, but all I can think of is I hope it’s not a repeat of this episode almost exactly 3 years ago.  I keep reminding him, “it will be wet, you get in the water and you do put your face and head in, and they will get wet”.  He happily agrees…

We don’t go swimming often, it’s just not something that’s on our family calendar.  It might have something to do with all five of us coming down with a tummy bug the day after we last went to the public pool together, two or three years ago – it was rather off-putting.  So Fainjin doesn’t have a lot of experience in swimming pools.

We went to the public swimming pool yesterday just to visit their shop and get him some goggles.  He had great fun trying some on, and immediately picked the most expensive pair (of course!).  With some expert assistance from the pool employee, we settled on a less pricey pair which fit well and still “look pretty cool, eh Mum?”

Then our lovely helper went out of her way to give us a guided tour, showing Fainjin where his school lessons will be, where the changing rooms are, where the “big pool” is, for when he can swim like a fish and joins the squad, and where the “play pool” is, for after lessons and family visits.  It was really great, he was very excited and now has a sense of the place he will be going to each week.

So tonight I asked him to get his clothes ready for the first day of school term tomorrow.  “What will you wear?” I asked.  “My goggles!” he giggled.

Swimming’s not till Thursday…

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Reading at school

September 5, 2012

Babess is very proud of her “reading”.  It’s mostly memorisation, of course, but she likes to point to the words and predict the story, and she’s very very good at remembering the words in simple readers.

Yesterday we sat in the library and read several easy books together, getting uneasy glances from some other mothers, and one friendly impressed comment.  That gave me the opportunity to say that Babess is older than she looks, and has a brother at school whom she is keen to copy – which relieved some of the uneasy glances a bit.

This morning when we took Fainjin to school, Babess wanted to “read” one of her library books to his teacher.  Mrs X is lovely with Babess, and encouraged her to sit on the big chair to read.  Mrs X sat on the floor next to her and called the class on to the mat (it was time for school to start anyway) to listen to Babess’ story.  Babess did very well – although without looking at the words at all! – and the class all clapped her efforts.

Mrs X awarded her a scratch-and-sniff sticker for reading so well, and Babess glowed all the way home.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

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