I recently wrote about endings and beginnings. About how September is bittersweet; I loose one daughter to full time education but I get to spend much more quality time with my youngest. Well, September is also a time to unwind. The craziness of Summer is over and I feel like it’s the perfect time to refocus and get a little bit of calm back in my life.
Blogging is definitely one of the ways I like to unwind. It helps me unload my thoughts when no-one else is around and it gives me something to think about other than what I’m going to make for dinner on that particular day.
I’ve recently started a kettle bell class at our local community hall. It’s once a week and, as silly as it sounds, it is so liberating to escape the four walls of the house and completely lose myself for an hour. It’s impossible to think of anything else when you’re trying to count to twenty and remember what swing is next!
I recently took a survey about what parents do to unwind and it really made me think about what I do. It’s important to have down time, especially as a parent. Parents spend the majority of the day trying to preempt the next thing so it’s nice to just be in a moment which is solely about you.
Our project for next Summer is to get the garden landscaped so we have a little haven where we can retreat to after work and enjoy a drink. I’ve got my eye on a few furniture sets so once we have the groundworks done I’m excited to get the furniture and finishing touches ordered. We’re hoping to add a small kids play area too so we have somewhere for the trampoline and playhouse to live without ruining the lawn.
What do you do, as a parent, to unwind?
Florence started school in Reception yesterday and, as you can imagine, I was a tad emotional. I wasn’t worried about her actually going to school, I knew she’d take it all in her stride, and she absolutely did. I think the worry for me is her future. Starting school is a massive, massive step in our lives and it’s at this point I feel our lives really begin to take shape. The friends she makes, the subjects she enjoys and the teachers she has will all lead her on to, hopefully, bigger and better things. I feel slightly out of control now.
But, I have been doing some research into ways I can help Florence reach her potential. I don’t want to be a pushy parent, far from it, I want her to discover her own likes and dislikes but I want to give her the tools to do that and guide her.
Throughout her preschool years I bought all those educational type books where you match up shapes, trace letters and learn to count but it never really held her interest for longer then 15 minutes. I recently discovered Education Quizzes; a website full of quizzes designed by teachers to help children be successful at school. I know what you’re thinking…..sounds dull right? Wrong!
Florence came home from her first day at school and raved about the school having loads of computers and it dawned on me that this is how she will learn. She will use the internet to research whereas I went to the library or asked my parents. She will create work on the computer using various programs whereas I wrote an essay in my jotter pad.
The quizzes are split into key stages, KS1-GCSE, and then by topic. They are fun, interactive and suitable for all children – there’s even an ‘English as a Second Language’ section. It is suggested you spend around 30 minutes a day in a one to one situation with your child working through the various topics. I’ve had a look through the KS1 Education Quizzes with Florence and, despite being in Reception, she was actually able to make a good guess at the answer. It kept her engaged for some time as we discussed the options and I also let her use the computer to navigate the site. She became familiar with the colour coding on the site quickly and remember which topic was associated with which colour.
The quizzes are available on a monthly subscription basis at a cost of £9.95 and can be cancelled at any time.
On Sunday 17th April I had a pretty awful nights sleep. Besides being 35 weeks pregnant I was also anxious to find out which primary school Florence had been allocated for September. I never imagined I’d be sat writing about making an appeal a few days later.
We diligently used all five of our choices as advised by the Local Education Authority. Our first choice school was an easy decision to make. Since moving to the area, in September 2015, Florence has attended a pre-school which is attached to the school we would have wished for her to go to. The pre-school regularly use the schools facilities and it would have made the transition much easier and more familiar for Florence. We hoped that attending the pre-school might support her admission request. This school is also the second closest school to our home so we thought we had a good chance of being accepted.
Our second choice was the largest of the local schools, a little further away and three times the size of our first choice. As we moved down our list of preferences we had a couple of other local schools which were of greater distance from our home and also the closest school to us which is a very small village school. We weren’t keen on Florence attending a small school for various reasons.
As midnight rolled around and I checked the admissions website my heart sank and I began to cry. Florence has been allocated our second choice school. All I could see in my mind was Florence looking bewildered and asking what school her friends from pre-school were going to. She had already left behind some lovely friends when we moved and now she was facing leaving the friends she had made at her new pre-school. My heart breaks for her and we still haven’t told her the news as we have decided to appeal the decision.
I was reluctant at first, worried we might lose the place she had already been offered, however I have since read that our decision to appeal won’t affect Florence’s current offer. I’m friends with local mums and members of the PTA from the school and have been advised that the class numbers aren’t as full as they could be so what harm is there in trying?
We definitely need to do a little research into making an appeal to ensure we’ve covered all the bases and made a decent argument for the board to review. If you’re making an appeal and not sure where to start there is professional help available.
I’ll keep you all posted on the outcome!