The beginning of September is a big moment in so many peoples lives for many different reasons. The most important is that it is my birthday (I’m now 39). The second is preparing for photograph your front door day. All parents will be aware that the first week of September it is LAW that you must stand at least one of your kids in front of the door and photograph it for Facebook. Your child is a useful reference for scale and colour balance.
Last year we dressed our two in a lovely jade colour to complement the blue tones of the draughty door. Catherine’s home made Christmas wreath engraved a sly smile just under the spy hole.
If I’m honest I accidentally painted it with emulsion and tried to gloss over it to a lumpy finish.
September also means the new school year. Abigail has moved up to the next year in the school.
Throughout the school holidays, she kept saying how she didn’t want to change teacher. How the new teacher is supposed to be very strict. “I think he is very shouty!” and more comments of the same nature. The process of moving up a year simply meant a new teacher to her.
In reality all of the above are irrelevant, because to me moving up from year 1 to year 2 means more home work. We’ve got through the Biff and Chip Years. I’ve enjoyed creating a challenge for her with her spellings. Will this year mean maths homework? What ever the challenge is for her this year I know that the promise of earning pocket money for achievements will help her focus.
The first day went smoothly for her and would have been even better if I’d remembered the PE kit for the Footsall tournament. She joined the school’s “voices” group, which I thought was brilliant as she loves singing. Turns out that is the school’s student council.
Six weeks is a long holiday and Abigail embraced all the challenge of the first day.
Now that Imogen is getting older she’s fallen out of love with her jade green fashion and opted for a moody navy number.
A new uniform, a new school and a whole new set of rules. Imogen has moved up to middle school. Quite a daunting experience for her, and me.
In Gosforth we still have a three tier school system that I think works really well. While many others feel is a waste of buildings. Why have 3 schools when 2 will do? I can’t answer that one as I don’t really know the answer. One of the benefits I feel that the middle school adds is an age group. She’ll be there for 4 years until she’s 13. Middle school pull multiple schools from the area together and mixes up the friends base she’s established. Her old class friends are now spread across 6 different classes. Although she has managed to move with some of her best friends too.
The new middles school is very strict. They have a proper rule book and clear boundaries that have to be followed. When we went for the initial parent evening, the school mentioned issuing written warnings in the form of 3 levels of Citations. There has been whispers that the kid down the street got a C3 on his first day! The uniform rules go further than first school. Hair bobbles need to be Black or Navy. There is to be no avant garde hair styles. All earrings need to be removed before school. The list goes on. In fact for Imogen’s first homework, she had to make sure that we signed the school rules contract, with herself, before it being signed off by the teacher. We hereby acknowledge what we as parents know what we and she should be doing.
I’m possible in the minority with the formal rule set up, but I feel it is a bit of a wake up in the next step of life journey. While it’s easy to turn a blind eye to your younger kids as they are still young. Now that they are old enough to know better, the system in the middle school is outlined clearly. She knows what she should be doing and what will happen if she doesn’t do it!
As side from the rule book, Imogen has brought home a praise record. Through out the day pupils are awarded praise points for various reasons, including trying their best, having all the correct equipment for class and respecting their teacher and other students.
After her first day she is very excited and seems to have settled in very quickly. I really hope she hits her own personal goals with this year.
As you can see I was feeling left out of the National Front door day photos. A brown / black jacket was chosen to compliment the door, plus it was raining.
Joking a side you sort of forget about what it was like at school and how fast your life moves on. It feels like only yesterday I was counting down the days till my GCSE’s were over. While the reality is I’ve been making signs for 23 years. Over half my life printing stickers and digging posts in the ground. My countdown goal seems to be getting further and further away, not nearer to an end.
My school years seemed to fly by. While I was there I never really appreciated what school was really about. How these first few years of my life was about developing the foundations. Maybe I should have tried harder. Maybe I would have if I understood what it was like to be in a job. Finding the time to go back and redo any of the early education, while employed and being a parent seems impossible. Many people do go back to rework their education on top of all of this and they get my full respect. With lots of life’s challenges, it’s easier not to. It’s easier to keep going with the flow.
The question is when is it too early to bring their awareness to the importance of what they are taking part in?