Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hope and the First Day of School

Two weeks from today will be the first day of school. It's going to be a little different for us this year. This is going to be the first year that I am not going to take Jonas to school on the first day. Steve is going to take him solo this year. In fact, Steven is now on permanent morning duty at least until the baby arrives. That means, gulp, that I'm on permanent after school and homework duty.

Like everything else, it's going to be an adjustment - for all of us. We split mornings and after school time last year and it was ok. It gave us both a chance to do both roles, and thereby be in the loop, but it also made it harder for us to get into a groove with either one. Getting showered, clothed, fed, and out the door medicated and with all things school-related was a bumpy ride for all of us a couple of days a week. And homework? Well, homework time was dreaded by all of us.

We're hoping that a more consistent schedule will help eliminate most of those bumps. There are a few things that we expect will help turn our hope into reality, are strong evening, morning and after-school routines.
  • We've created a new corner near the front entrance of the house for Jonas to keep his backpack, jacket, shoes, Cubs backpack, etc. We're hoping it will eliminate some of the running around trying to locate stuff in the mornings and before Cubs. 
  • We added a new closet organizer to Jonas's room, to help speed him up in the mornings and prevent him from diving into his dirty clothes hamper for something to wear.
  • He's had a pretty free-range summer and getting back on a schedule is going to be a challenge. Along with a checklist posted above his coat rack, we're going to make a new daily schedule and chore chart for him and put it on the fridge and his bedroom door. Hopefully it will help keep him on track in the mornings and after school.  
  • We're going to start using a new reward system for homework and chores. Video games and and allowance are two thing he's clamouring for right now, so we're going to use those as leverage.  Hopefully, it'll reinforce our "do the right things and good things will happen" approach so that it sinks in for him. 
  •  We're once again going to set up the dining room table as a homework station, stocked well with pens, pencils, erasers, etc. We're also going to stick to eating dinner at that table every night, so we're going to use the school supplies box he made last year so we can change over the room easily. 
  • We're going to add school lunches and snacks to our weekly meal plans, and try to get them prepped at night. That will take one thing off the morning To Do List,which will hopefully lessen the morning rush.
  • We're going to go back to giving Jonas outside play time immediately after school. Added to walking home from school and a healthy snack, this should allow him to wind down a bit before he has to sit back down to do school work. (This will also increase the probability of both Steve and I being home for homework time, to better distribute the stress that seems to come hand in hand with that time of day.)  Hopefully, combined with a new reward system, he'll be a little more cooperative when it comes to homework. Our fingers are crossed that we'll once again have a year of light homework, but that remains to be seen.

Well, that's the plan anyway. I as I say, we're hoping for the best. We've still got a couple of weeks to stock up on supplies and discuss all of this with him. Of course, once school tutoring and Scouts start again, there will probably be some fine-tuning necessary.  Wish us luck!


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