Our kids are getting to the age that naturally leads us hang out with other parents with kids our age. Sometimes, these parents are friends or fellow church goers. Sometimes they’re family members we see once a year or so.
Sometimes, they’re moms (and dads, but not in our case) from the PTA or bus stop.
Susannah’s in first grade now. She’s showing initiative by doing her homework each night with enthusiasm. She takes responsibility for her actions, good or otherwise. And she is finally focusing on eating at lunchtime.
Typically, I consider the school stuff my wheelhouse since I’m the one getting face-to-face with the other adults associated with the school. We attend back to school night, school open house night, family fun nights and fundraiser events. I try to volunteer as much as possible, helping with library time checkout, making copies and special class parties and events. I make every effort to be sure that Susannah’s teacher knows we are available to help in any way needed to be sure Susannah is succeeding. Like most parents, we also teach both girls many things ourselves, either supplementary to or in addition to what they are already learning.
So far, we’ve had both a newbie, uber-approachable teacher and a more seasoned, all-copies-are-color-coordinated one. Being someone who has never learned to teach others formally, I defer to teachers and the school leadership in most things and support them and the hard-working volunteers of the PTA.
But sometimes these interactions just make me want to laugh, cry or both.
Here are some observations and reactions:
1. One mom asked the principal to organize a “military family ” support group to help facilitate her kids’ apprehension about being new to the school and moving. She did volunteer to lead that group- which other parents chimed in could include older kids mentoring younger ones and a back to school picnic kind of thing.
My thinking is this mama could email out (there is a school directory with each classes contact information listed unless preferred otherwise) and set up a similar meeting herself. She may find that this sort of grass roots effort is actually more successful, like most things, if bureaucracy and red-tape and political correctness is kept out. If the principal heads up an official support group there will be steering committees, planning parties, official advertisements and finally a group may meet. By then, this ladies kids will be halfway to high school and long over the new-kid jitters.