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Things I know: The first day of school 2012 edition

Here we go again!

Every year for the last six years the first day of school has meant mixed feelings for me. I'm excited because the boys are invariably excited and yet, yet there is a pang of 'are we still doing this?'

Long term readers will know I had planned to homeschool. I was homeschooling until Erik, one day, came to me with some well thought through arguments for me letting him try formal schooling. When we checked out the school the boys now go to, Luey also decided to go to school.

Our agreement was that they could go to school as long as they were happy to, but if they decided to go back to homeschooling, they were absolutely free to do so. I really didn't think they'd last at school. I thought the novelty would wear off. It didn't.

Bryn could not wait to go to school. In fact, he begged me to let him go to kindergarten - which the others had not gone to. Bryn loves school, too.

I haven't signed Ari up for kindergarten yet, I should have signed him up by his second birthday, so that boat has long sailed. I'm still in two minds about him going to kinder. Who knows, he might not want to go to school.

So, today. I thought I'd share what I know about school on this first day of 2012.

  • I know even after 5 full years of my kids attending formal schooling, I'm still very ambivalent about it. It makes them happy, but I still mostly see the short comings of a system which must compromise far too much.
  • Over the past week each of my boys has come to me and said, 'I can't wait for school to start, I'm so excited!' I'm excited that they are excited. I love that they love going to school, especially when I see other children and parents struggle with their upset at the classroom door. I appreciate that they go with willingness and enthusiasm.
  • Today is my eldest's first day in his final year of primary school! I cannot believe how much he's grown since his first day of school when he was 7.5 years old! The thought of signing him up for a high school makes my stomach do somersaults over fluttering butterflies.
  • It's always lovely to walk in the school gate and be greeted by so many familiar faces - more and more familiar faces every year!
  • Even at the beginning of my 6th year at the school gate, I can remember the names of people I met the first few weeks of school, and yet I forget the names of people I met last year. Often I know names but not faces and faces by not names!
  • It was super duper fun bringing 90 boxes of tissues to the front office this morning! I won 104 boxes of Kleenex tissues through a competition on the lovely Denyse Whelan's blog late last year. 52 for us and 52 for the school, but as we don't usually buy tissues and rarely use them, I decided to give 90 boxes to the school!
  • The house is quiet and I have a MOUNTAIN of housework to conquer today. I actually think I'll only manage to bring it back from 'disaster zone' to 'you have a lot of children, don't you?' today, but next week I'm going to get stuck into a deep-post-summer-holidays clean. Yes, I live an absolutely thrilling life!

How was your first day of school this year? What do you know?


Anonymous said…
My kids love their school as well - and so do I! The teachers are awesome and they have such innovative and inspiring programs it makes me want to do primary school all over again. Maybe we are just lucky with our school - I only have experience of one aussie school so far. But compared to the school in France where my kids go for one month a year (my husband is french so we take a trip there every year) their australian school is brilliant. No way would I want my kids in the french school system full time. And I can't believe that we get such a great education practically for free! When my eldest was starting I checked out the local private schools and they charged from $6k to $10k PER YEAR for KINDERGARTEN!!! I couldn't believe it! And from what I have seen now I really believe my kids get a better education at the local g'ment school which only costs a fraction of this. Good luck with the cleaning - Jen
Sif said…
Sorry for not replying to this earlier, Jen - I've been getting behind on replying to comments what with the commencement of school and everything surrounding that.

While studying my Masters of Education the majority of information I read about outcomes from private schools, in terms of building learning resilience and independence suggested that private education was, indeed, not the best source of primary and secondary education.

While private schools are often more elaborately resourced, it is students coming from private education who struggle the most with the demands of tertiary education. So, public school is cheaper (though I'd debate it's status as 'practically free'; that is very much dependent on the individual school practices and family income ratios) and a better preparation for life long learning!

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