Does any one just get dog tired fighting all the time for our children? I am not complaining about the fighting as I know we are the only advocates our children have, but I really do get very tired. I find the start of the year always the most exhausting time. As well as all the normal running around to get ready fo school we have to add to it stress of anxiety of children starting new classes, talking to teachers, trying to rearrange classes that are wrong, fighting to have our childrens needs met and struggling with children reluctantly going back into the classroom again.
I would love to have a discussion on ways we can settle our children back into school and to keep family stress to a minimum. Has anyone got any ideas of stratagies that work for them? Any physical ways of reducing stress? Any ways of reducing anxiety? It would be great if we could share these ideas together to help each other out at this busy time of the year.
Hi Cate - I can totally relate! When my children were in school, the stress started the day they started back after a holiday and ended the beginning of the next holiday! Also you are reminded daily of your child's differences! The relief that we felt when we decided to homeschool was immence. I realise it isn't the answer for everyone and feel compassion for those who still have to deal with schools and teachers! Every now and then I'm still reminded how different my children are to most - I'm lucky to have friends with 'odd' children also - but occasionally they still struggle with friendships and it is because they are just so different.
Oh I hear you - the anticipation of another year of dealing with school, doesn't make me feel relaxed at all. Every year I hope it is going to get easier and sometimes I find myself wondering if it is just me - which it clearly isn't.
Destressing tips - humour works for me, when it all gets too much I go and see some completely silly movie, something I can just laugh out loud at. Or read something really funny. Other than that there's exercise and spending time with friends, listening to music, a pleasant glass of wine after a stressful day...
For my children, I make sure that they have things to do outside school that they enjoy. I try and encourage them to be positive and optimistic, and not to dwell on their anxieties as that just makes them worse.
Advocating for children is exhausting and frustrating - my goal this year is not to "just see how things go" if problems arise but to get onto any issues and deal with them quickly. I've realised that "wait and see" from a teacher means that they don't intend to do anything differently and they really hope that the parent finds something else to worry about.
Last year my daughter had a very frustrating year with a teacher who seemed determined to prove that she was nothing special academically - we had a couple of "mental health days" which really helped her, just an extra day away from the stress of school and with the ability to have some focused attention from me and time to do things she enjoyed.
I guess you need to find the de-stress strategies that work for you and your child. Make time to de-stress before things reach breaking point, it's hard to look after your child's needs if you aren't looking after your own.
So you aren't alone in dreading the start of the school year. I've got three different schools to deal with, fortunately only one of the three will probably cause me stress, I hope!
We have 3 different school this year too. I have 2 to worry about as one is university and I am leaving that one up to my daughter.
Some things that have worked for me is not letting myself get worked up or stressed as my kids pick up on everything I feel. This is easier said then done and is dependent on reactions from the school.
2 of my kids freak out at the begining of the year. Both of them cried for weeks last year at the begining of everyday. It helped to talk to the DP who would take the child off me so I could go and they could settle them so I could go.
We talk a lot about any topic of their choice so they can talk through any issues and their feelings.
I have spent quite a lot of time talking to the staff at school to be part of the class placement for each child for the next year. Knowing what class each child is going onto the next year helps the anxiety a lot. We used to find out on the first day of school which was terrible for my children.
I also try to be very prepared physically ie. stationary, uniforms and books bought well in advance and to make sure there are no tags irritating, no stains, hems feel right and shoes fit. This has the potential to be a huge issue if not handled correctly.
This year our biggest 2 stresses are one child pulled out of advanced classes and another child with no friends in his class. So on thursday our first of many interviews start. Here it all goes again :)
After 9 years of home education, we have two kids going to school this year--year 13 and year 11, two different schools.
After reading some of your letters in this thread my heart went out to you. I know that stress you are talking about from my own school days (which were awful) and what it was like in the first years when my two went to school. I couldn't see it happening to them so I took them out.
I was lucky that I was in a position to be home with the kids--that's not the case in all families. I have not been a great teacher but always felt that well being and quality of life trumped whatever schooling had to offer.
The kids were not great students--dyslexia, ADHD, mild Aspergers--didn't make it easy but we kept them mentally stimulated; they had plenty of time for quality play and our household was usually peaceful. We have no long history of dealing with schools and teachers.
Child 1 went off to school last year. It was harder to see him go then, then when he walked off to Kindy. Guess what: he did great this past year. He was fresh to it, self motivated and ready to meet the challenge at age 16. Child 2 starts next week. She hasn't seen the inside of a school in 10 years and is a little scared but also excited. I was no longer meeting her needs at home and it was time, at age 15, for her to have a go out in the world of classmates and teachers. We shall see how she goes.
The moral of this story is this: If it is at all possible to do so, do not be afraid of taking your child out of school for a year. De-stress. Have some quality of life. Play. I promise you, I mean that--I PROMISE YOU...everyone will be better off for it and nothing, nothing will be lost in terms of your child's academic progress.
Call Auckland Home Educators and ask how to get your children and your families out of the rat race for a little peace.
I feel exactly the same way, M's statement 'the anticipation of another year of dealing with school' is a good one it doesn't make me feel relaxed at all either. This year I have a new school to deal with for my 11 year old daughter. This is a hopefully going to be a much more pleasant experience than the last school, they at least acknowledge 'different' kids. And as its a larger school it will hopefully also to increase the chance of finding a someone more like her to hang out with.
I have taken note of a couple of things from these posts (THANKS :-)!!). I will endeavour not to 'just see how things go' as well and to realise that a teacher saying 'we'll wait and see' is actually a reason to advocate further. I have been stuck between respecting a teachers training for dealing with children in a classroom and my ability to really 'know' my child.
I find that exercise is a big part of my ability to lower my stress. As well as the physical benefits of walking (even for only 20-30 minutes), I find myself coming to terms with things as they are or coming up with strategies to deal with them if I can't come to terms with them. Find something active that you enjoy doing which doesn't necessarily need brain power, giving yourself a chance to subconsciously think :-). For the children I have found having something outside of school that you child really enjoys gives them something to look forward to. In our house sometimes its merely a planned trip to the big library in the city or watching scifi with their dad.
Sigh - I knew it wouldn't be long before the school stresses started - school started on the 1st Feb and here we are at the 9th and it has started already with one upset and frustrated child - told she had a role of responsibility at her school that she had been looking forward to and the next day it is all taken away from her with no communication. So here we go again....
At least I'm off to the movies tonight for some light relief and my other two kids are happy at their schools.
How's everyone else with the back to school stress?
I tried 'bribes' (really a reward system) with my 2 boys (7 and 10 yr) so we didn't have a repeat of 6 weeks of crying from last year and I am pleased to announce it has worked. We only had 2 days of tears. This is a first for us. They have both got amazing teachers but lets just hope it carries on.
My 15 year old daughter is already swamped with work and already is
having issues. Sigh..... I'm with you M....Here we go again......
Ive got a different sort of concern as it turns out. Not a criticism of the school or teacher - just a comment on mismatch.
A very relaxed and "soft" teacher .... one I am willing to be would be GREAT for many of the kids here but Im already seeing a lack of confidence creeping into my grandson.
Its funny really - when they (mis)Dx'd my daughter as ADHD they kept going on the "what kids like her need" is firmness and fixed routine yada yada yada - but she always did MUCH better with teachers who were gentle and flexible in their approach. My grandson who has a "quietness" to him (hard to explain .... more like an "inner quiet" that "emits" from him than anything else) - he is the opposite - he is MUCH happier and more confident with more of a 'strict' approach from adults.
Its like he "draws upon" the "strong energy" of the strictness of adults to compensate or help him to "overcome" his unwillingness to take risks that may result in mistakes.
I suspect it will be a challenging year for me if he is to progress *sigh*