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From one Grade1 parent to another

 
Advice from parents who've been through the motions of starting Big School.
By Masanda Peter
Article originally in Parent24
Some schools have reopened and it’s an exciting time for most parents but a sad time as well. Yes, our babies will be off to BIG school - it can be quite overwhelming.

My son was in Grade 1 last year and it was quite an experience for both of us. I read a lot about what to expect and other moms also offered their advice and that helped a lot. I noticed that with Grade 1 there was a lot of homework to be done and I also needed to check with his school every day as there was always something to do – a friend even said “do not throw away old magazines” and she was right, lots of cutting and pasting.

It was also challenging at times because I travel often but we managed to do his homework either over the phone or my helper stepped in. I also realised that I needed to get a tutor to be there when I was not available otherwise I’d be failing my son. With regards to my son, initially he did not really grasp the concept of BIG school. He was now in a school uniform and needed to do more work but this was all a game to him and so said the first term school report as well. He knew his work but he just did not take his work seriously and then came the time for some serious adjustments some painful (in his world), like no watching TV before he finishes his homework. Fortunately he managed to grasp what big school is all about and I had a much improved school report midyear and at the end of the year I was a proud mom.

I also spoke to two mothers whose kids also started with Grade 1 in 2012 and found out how the experience was for them.

Nomonde Aba mother to Olothando:

This was quite an exciting year for us and I got to learn so much about my daughter. She suddenly became more interactive and confident around the house, before she was reserved. As for me I struggled with the amount of work she received from school. I had to check her work every day and also assist her. I also travel often and was stressful for me but I was fortunate that my helper was there to assist. I will now get extra classes for her so that she is not behind with her work.

Pumeza Dayile, mother to Kiki:

Grade 1 taught my daughter some responsibility. She knew that she needed to do her homework after school and not play. I also gave her some responsibilities like polishing her shoes on Sunday afternoon to prepare for Monday. Kiki also knows that she does not play during the week, it is all about school work. She also goes to bed early. At pre-school they used to sleep during the day and I also noticed that she came home tired because there was no sleeping time at BIG school. I created routine to make things easy for her.

Pumeza also encourages parents to be patient with their children, some of the things are new to them and need not be rushed and need more attention.
I know it’s going to be tears of joy or sadness but to 2013 Grade 1 moms, it’s going to be fine. Our princes and princesses are growing and this is going to be an exciting time, we just  need to support them and show much enthusiasm to what they do so as to encourage them.

What advice do you have for parents whose kids are starting Grade 1 this year?


Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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