A new year in a new school

a new yearWe don’t know how this happened but… brace yourselves… it’s August! Where did summer go? In many parts of the country, that means that families are gearing up for, or perhaps in denial of, another school year.

In my house, we’re getting ready to send our oldest daughter to kindergarten. This is a milestone for us because she will be in school five days a week and beginning her formal education. But it’s not our first experience with schools.

When we lived in Canada, she did a short preschool program for 2-year-olds a couple days each week.  Two years ago, she attended a part-time preschool in New Jersey and this past year she did a part-time prekindergarten class in Missouri.

What we’ve learned so far about moving and dealing with schools is that most districts are not great at communicating – especially with new families. Unfortunately, there is an assumption that everyone who attends these schools already knows the ropes or knows someone in the district or community who can fill them in about it. While I am thrilled to watch my daughter take the next step to help her learn and grow, I’ve been frustrated and even brought to tears over things like missed deadlines. I put pressure on myself to make sure that everything goes smoothly for my child because I carry the guilt of a parent who uproots her family regularly. I never want my 5-year-old to feel left out or like an outsider because of our transient lifestyle. But what I have come to realize is that she feeds on my emotion. So when I am freaking out, she is freaking out. When I am carefree and excited for new adventures, she is too. So this school year, I’m attempting what I shall call the “mama duck” method. On the surface I will aim to be calm, cool, collected and gliding across the water with ease. While under the surface my legs will be paddling franticly as I panic that I may have forgotten to sign a form, transfer an immunization record or purchase the right brand of glue.

School is supposed to be fun – especially in kindergarten. So let’s all do our kids a favor and help them get excited for the school year that is ahead! And remember, if you screw things up royally, odds are that you won’t be in the same district for long and won’t ever see these people again! Ah, the beauty of being a Moving Mom!

By Emily Shedek

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