First Days of School

I have a million things in my mind that I’ve been wanting to blog about, but tonight I’ll focus just on one thing that has required a big adjustment for the whole family– the start of school!


Jake started his classes this week at UW-Madison. He’s starting his PhD in Educational Policy. I’m excited for him, but I think it’ll be a full semester. He’ll be taking 4 classes (12 credits), and teaching a 3 credit math course for undergrads (which is supposedly 20 hours per week). Not to mention having a family, wanting to volunteer in Asante’s classroom, etc.


Asante started 1st grade this week. He’s been looking forward to starting school for YEARS. Unfortunately, the first day was a major let down for him. From his perspective, each learning center was too short of a time to work on anything, he had to throw away his tator tots because he ran out of eating time at lunch, he scraped up his knee during gym, and he hasn’t made any friends yet. “Not one.” Second day was a bit better, but he is still bummed that he doesn’t have friends and he didnt get to eat all of his lunch (he brought it today) because he ran out of time again. This is so strange to me because he is a REALLY fast eater, typically. Of course, he actually does have one friend– a boy in our apt. complex is also in his class, and they have been playing some before school/after school/during recess. So, I’m not sure what “having friends” means to him. I’ve been reassuring him that it’s only been a day or two.

Aly starts 4K tomorrow….she’ll be going in the afternoons- and gets to eat lunch at school! I just found out that yesterday when we visited her classroom. She’s excited, I think, but I must admit that I wish that she was eating at home with Ada and I. Ada and I will actually switch our schedule around to fit Aly’s a little better…we’ll re-instate the morning snack and then move lunch until after we get home from taking Aly to school. Her 4K class is CUTE and has a ton of fun things in it. I know Aly is going to love it. She’ll probably be anxious at first, and dropoffs may be rough for a couple weeks, but once she starts the routine, I think she’ll be fine. She goes 4 days a week (Tuesday-Friday) for a little over 3 hours each day.


Some people have asked about Asante skipping Kindergarten and why we decided to do that. Mostly we decided to get him tested because we were a little worried about him being bored. He’s a good reader and has a knack for numbers, so didn’t want him having to sit in a class and “learn how to read” all year, along with learning to do basic number stuff. His birthday isn’t too far from the cut-off, so we decided to just have him tested to see if the district thought it was acceptable with them. It was, so he started first grade! Academically I have no concerns at all about him skipping Kindergarten. Behavior-wise, I’m not concerned either. He’s one of the most compliant kids I’ve ever met (he takes after me in his need to follow rules). Of course I do have a little concern about him socially and physically. Although he’s a super-extrovert, he’s not a “go-getter” when it comes to making friends. He really LOVES having friends, but he’s not the “jump in” kid– he’ll sit it out for awhile and observe until he’s comfortable or someone else initiates the relationship. Also, physically, he’s on the small side for his age, which will probably make him one of the smallest boys in his class.  I wish that that didn’t matter, but it will, eventually. Even if he was in Kindergarten this year we’d be dealing with this issue (but of course not so pronounced). I don’t think it REALLY bothers him, but he did mention that he thinks that only one kid is shorter than him in his class. Anyway, there are pros and cons, and we just made the best decision that we knew how to make, because at the end of the day, we had to do something. While in the East in seems unusual to start kids early in school, here in the mid-west (at least in Madison), it seems like a fairly common thing for people to get their kids tested for.

Anyway, that’s what is filling our days. It’s an adjustment for all of us….we’ve been trying to figure out our new schedule- who needs to be where and when, who is going to take the kids to school at the varying times and who is going to pick them up at the end of the day. Figuring out how to fit the littlests’ naps in without too much disruption.

I must admit that I’ve been ready for this next step. The four kids have been driving each other bonkers, and I’m hoping that this time away from each other for part of the day will help them to value each other more during the afternoon and evening. I also look forward to the small amount of time I’ll have in a quiet house in the afternoon while big kids are in school and little ones are napping.

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