It's the beginning of 2013 and Little Man has been in his first year of formal school for nearly 3 weeks now. It was a major change for everyone in the household including Little Missy.
I hadn't blogged about the preparation we did for Little Man, simply because we have been rather nonchalant. The only time I remember fussing around the matter was going for the parents' orientation talk and getting his uniforms ready. Beyond that, I didn't think we should put too much emphasis on academic preparation since he's been consistently doing some work daily after dinner. In addition, we didn't want to overwhelm Little Man by planting fear in him because of the new changes that is to come.
But we did prep him on some day-to-day matters about school and training him on some basic life skills which we hope will see him through being in a big-boy school.
As he's ferried by the school bus to and fro we talked to him about what to expect. Getting up really early (at 5am) is required as he's in the morning session and being the first to be picked up (at 6am) by the bus driver in our area.
He was taught on how to set the alarm clock and what time he has to be up each school day. We didn't manage to train him to get up early before school started but we were pleasantly surprised that he sprung up once the alarm went off on the first day of school.
Now that the novelty has worn off, it is a little more challenging to get him up at 5am even though he is settled in bed daily at around 830pm. The training to be all prep and ready is still ongoing as I type this. We give him a buffer of 5-10mins each morning by using the kitchen timer recognizing the fact that pulling him out of deep sleep requires a bit more time to be completely awake.
A friend of mine, would pull her son to the bathroom to have a shower each morning to perk her son up for school. I am not sure if I'd ever use this tactic but nevertheless it's an idea I have in my bag for the moment.
Prior to the commencement of the new school year, we have had a chat with Little Man about handling pocket money and bringing home-packed lunch box. We had an agreement of the amount of pocket money he'll be given, how he's to manage it (saving 10% for God as offering, another 10% for his piggy bank). There will be 3 days in the week where he'll be given lunch boxes from home and the other 2 days he's allowed to get his own meals at the school canteen, to which he's instructed to have proper food (warm cooked food) prior to snacks.
The rationale behind 3 days of packed food from home was so that he will not end up buying junk food in school. This practice of bringing food from home will last as long as he wants it to. I do foresee sometime down the road he'll want the freedom to make his own choices.
He's given some basic training on buying food on his own during the weekends when we dine at the food centres. We usually make him work out the math of change before he place the order for what he wanted to buy.
In his school, there's an extra 5 minutes snack break being worked into the timetable daily for the Pri 1 boys hence he's given 1 lunch box & 1 snack box on Mon, Wed and Fri while Tues and Thurs, he will have only a snack box.
Lunch box meals - I've learned that it need not be too elaborate for it's taxing on me and stressful on him. I would need to wake up before 5am to get the food ready and he'll be stressed because mommy would be mad if he doesn't finish the food :P So to make things simple, I'll pack in more fruits or sandwiches, pies or quiche that I can prepare the night before.
Snack box - it's usually a fruit with an energy/muesli bar; I vary it with mixed nuts/seeds and dried fruits such as cranberries/apricot/blueberries.
We have set an after school routine for Little Man since day 1 when the school year commenced. It's a discipline we wanted him to get used to and hope that with this habit built he will sail through the academics without much problem.
On a daily basis (weekdays that is), he'll have a snack and take a shower once he's back from school. We go through his school diary on what are the instructions from his teacher and things that need to be done. He's then to take a short nap (approx 1-1.5hrs). Upon waking from his nap, we'll sit down to get some work done. Since his school has adopted a no homework policy, we took it upon ourselves to just do 1-2 pages of workbook (for each subject) on a daily basis (this usually lasts for less than an hour), just to get him into a momentum. We'll then pack his school bag for the next day. Once all the important things are out of the way, he's free to play, read a book, and simply relax!
One of the most important things that I feel needs to be done is to get into the network of all the moms in Little Man's class. This is definitely not a network for business but a network of support! I had the privilege to meet up almost 90% of his classmates' parents during an event the school has organized on the 4th day of school, which I am absolutely grateful of.
I volunteered to set up a Whatsapp chat group and was able to gather more than 50% of the moms into the chat group *beaming* It has since been very active especially during the weekdays of the week. So much information and notes have been exchanged the past few weeks that I feel I am the greatest benefactor of the chat group. Amongst the ladies are moms with older boys in the same school where they offered loads of information based on their past experiences to all the newbies. So being in a parents support group within the class of your child's is definitely a must!
It's truly an eventful beginning for me but I am learning to count my blessings each day for this new beginning! :)