How Much Effort Should You Put into Finding a School for Your Child?

When you’re looking for a suitable school for your child, it’s crucial to put a lot of effort into this exercise. This is the place that will often determine how successful your child becomes in later years. Below are some of the things you can do to find the best school for your child’s requirements.

Carry Out Some Online Research

The internet and the latest mobile technologies have made it much easier for modern parents to research schools and to find out more about them. All of the leading schools in the UK have an online presence and provide a lot of information about the school itself, its history, its facilities, and much more.

For example, if you are thinking about sending your child to a private school in Essex, Colchester High School has a professional website that includes the information you need to know about this particular school. Having a comprehensive online presence like this is a clear indication that a school is serious about the way it deals with parents and students.

Find Out About the Schools Reputation from Parents

Carrying out some online research is a great starting point, but you should delve a bit deeper and find out more about a particular school from people who have already had experience with that school.

You can do this by talking to parents of current pupils and past pupils of the school. These people will tell you about the good points and divulge what the bad points are. Based on this information, you can make a much more informed decision about whether or not to send your child to a certain school.

Talk to Teacher and the School Prinicipal

The people who work in a school you are researching are another important group of individuals you should approach and question thoroughly until you get the answers you want. The principal of the school and its teachers should be able to answer your questions and address your concerns, in person or via email or telephone. If this does not happen or you’re not satisfied with their responses, it may be time to look at another school for your son or daughter.

Don’t Settle for the First School You Research

Don’t be too hasty when choosing a school for your child. Most parents have a wide range of options, so you should never settle for the first school you research. By visiting a number of different schools, you will be able to determine what the advantages and disadvantages of each school are and make a more informed decision about which school is the best environment for your child.

The more effort you put into finding an appropriate school, the more likely it is that you will find the perfect school for your child. This effort may take some time, but it will ensure that your child is happier and performs better in the school you eventually select for them.

*Collaborative Post

Maths Help Online with the Smartick Method

Recently I found out that one of my twins, H, did rather badly in a maths assessment at school.

He’s only 7 and the youngest in the class. Both of my twins struggle a little bit at school, not to the extent of needing additional help, and because of them being premature August born, it’s almost like it’s to be expected! Which isn’t really fair.

Their teacher (who I really like and who my twins really like too) read out everyone’s results of the test to the class, which meant EVERYONE knew H got the lowest score (9 out of 40)… bless his heart! No one was mean to him about it but a few kids said things like ‘It’s ok, you tried your best’ ….. which singled him out and made him very embarrassed!

He cried when he got home and said ‘I can’t do anything, I’m rubbish at everything!’

I was so annoyed with his teacher…. I don’t want him to feel bad about himself because of a stupid maths test at only 7 years old! I made sure he knew that it really doesn’t matter at all. I told him in no uncertain terms that he is NOT rubbish at anything and he is in fact the most wonderful human being on the planet…. But something like this could put him off maths and learning for life…. his confidence had really taken a knock so I made a promise with  myself to help him more at home.

smartick method maths kids education

A lovely friend put me in touch with Smartick… an online maths learning platform for kids, as they were looking for bloggers to review their program. I jumped at the opportunity as I really liked the sound of it and felt it was something we could realistically incorporate into our schedule without too much effort.

Smartick is designed in short daily sessions of 15 minutes of maximum concentration. Children need to login every day and do their maths. This helps create a study habit and routine, it avoids burnout and keeps children motivated and coming back for more. Smartick recommends that they do it at least 5 days a week to truly experience the benefits of the program.

We started Smartick during the Easter holidays with the free trial period of 15 days, that anyone can try at any time, and I put all three of my youngest children on it as the age range is from 4-14. We then continued for another few weeks.

H was obviously the first to give it a go and the animated look of the website made it appealing straight away. We set up his profile and off he went. The first couple of sessions are assessment based, although they look exactly the same as any session, but the answers H gave and how long it took him to answer were giving Smartick an idea of where he was at. The questions weren’t too difficult, in fact some were ridiculously simple…. but this was intentional as going over the basics is the most important aspect of grasping maths. It was perfect for H. Other questions ranged from simple adding and number bonds, some games and then some problem solving questions. I sat with him and helped guide him through each question and it was great to see him get excited when he found the right answers.

smartick method maths program

There’s a temperature bar on the left hand side of the screen which shows gold stars, these add up the more questions you get right! This is a great incentive, my twins love seeing this bar go up when more stars added to their collection!

If the student gets a question wrong, a little pop up box will show them the right answer, and at the end they have the opportunity to do their corrections and obtain more stars! There’s also a fun area for them to go into after the session is finished. This is a little virtual world where they can create their own avatar and are able to spend their stars they’ve earned as money to buy things for their character, like pets and things for their house! It’s so cute, my children love this.

Because none of the questions in the sessions were too difficult and H was able to find most (not all) answers without help from me, he didn’t get fed up, bored or frustrated in any way…. which CAN happen to kids when they get the answers wrong regularly. I’ve also found that online games we’ve tried before where there’s a timer involved, makes both my twins upset if they can’t work out the answer quick enough. It makes them panicky and angry then they just want to stop. Which is absolutely pointless. With Smartick, although there IS a time limit to each question, it’s so long that this very rarely runs out. But it IS useful for times when kids are dawdling a bit!

Each screen is very simple in appearance and incredibly easy to navigate. We are using a laptop but you can use an App downloaded on tablets too.

The Study Program at Smartick is mapped in such a way that allows the student to progress naturally and fully adapts to the level of each student. There are video tutorials when new concepts are introduced and guided exercises when the program has detected that the student is taking too long to respond to certain questions. The exercises are generated on the spot and based on a number of variables that the algorithm behind the Smartick method measures. Among those variables will be effectiveness (if the child has responded correctly or not), the speed of the answers, performance history etc. The platform does not have preloaded exercises, but rather has its own “intelligence” that always seeks the highest level of competence of each student. Always backed up and monitored by a team of educators.

I find this incredible. The program is completely tailored to the unique way your child works!

My twins are not doing the same sessions each day but they quite often like to watch each other and see what the other is doing which is funny, and also means they’re kind of doing TWO sessions instead of one per day!

My daughter, aged 11, is doing ok at maths at school. She’s no mathematician but she doesn’t struggle. There’s always room for practice and improvement, so I was interested to see how she would get on with Smartick. Again, each session starts off with the basics. For her it’s timestables. This is an area that she does need practice on and doing the multiplication sums (which includes some very tricky ones) over and over has been drumming home the core necessities. I just think this is the best way to improve anyone’s maths! Then the session moves on to more challenging topics.

She is really enjoying the program.

H is thoroughly enjoying it too and I can already see him starting to understand concepts that he didn’t get a few weeks ago. For example he’s been working a lot on subtraction and now he knows exactly what to do when he gets questions like this….

smartick method maths

It’s also opened my eyes to how my twins minds are working.

I’ve learned that H doesn’t always read the questions properly and this was, obviously, affecting his results. I am working on this with him now as we go through the sessions. He was trying to reach an answer in the wrong steps but again… now that I know this, I can help. He also gets distracted easily, although I’ve noticed this already improving which is wonderful.

O likes to race ahead with his session. He actually WANTS to do it and asks me if he can do his daily session without me having to tell him! He also likes to get on with it on his own. He is more studious than H though, whereas H is a lot more laid back. O is eager to see his star tally rise so will work fast on his questions to fit more into the time frame! He doesn’t need me to sit with him unless there’s a new topic that he’s not sure about, then he will ask for help.

They both seem to enjoy their little log in area to their own program and the fact that it’s only 15 minutes makes it achievable. It honestly doesn’t even feel like it’s 15 minutes. The sessions fly by.

Parents get the results from their child’s session instantly delivered to their inbox. They can also access the tutor web anytime and check progress. There are detailed metrics on the performance of the student and lots of various tutorials that they can go over to reinforce learning. I like this area… you can even compare how your child is doing compared to the other children their age!

I’m so happy with the Smartick Method. I can honestly say I’ve seen H’s confidence in learning maths already starting to grow and I didn’t want to stop once the initial trial ran out, so we have signed up for another three months! The kids are loving it and I absolutely can’t wait to see what progress has been made at the end of these three months!

If the past two weeks are anything to go by, I’m sure H will be top of his class the next time he has an assessment! But seriously, that’s not what this is about…. all I want is for my children to enjoy maths and enjoy learning… and that is exactly what Smartick is giving them.

 If you want to give it a go, sign up now for your FREE 15 day trial and see how it goes.

All back to School

Things have been rather quiet on the blogging front lately. I just haven’t wanted to sit in front of the computer at all much after my Camp Bestival mini break, then my holiday in France (more to come on those soon… I have a lot to catch up on!)… I guess I just wanted to enjoy the rest of Summer and give my kids my undivided attention.

This summer has been fab! The weather has been great hasn’t it? Last year was rubbish, I remember it being grey and miserable far too much but this year felt like Summer for once! Lots of long, hot, hazy sunshiney days which we made the most of with days out here and there….. or even just in our garden. Or someone else’s!

I didn’t want the Summer holidays to end and I NEVER want my kids to go back to school. I know I always say it but I love being with my children. I love everything about each and every one of them and they never EVER get on my nerves! Well, that’s not exactly true, my Teen does, quite often, but I’m not really including him in this because I didn’t see much of him to be honest… he was always out with his friends and Girlfriend. Or he was working his part time job as a life guard! And anyway, I STILL like having him around me!

My three youngest are pretty much always so well behaved. They all get along (mostly) and they really are a joy to be around. I’m sure that won’t always be the case (Teen was as good as gold too when he was their age!) so I’m appreciating it while it lasts!

But sadly, school beckoned and this week saw the first full week back completed.

It was quite a big year actually for all of them. My Girl started Secondary school and my twins went up to the Juniors.

I was terribly sad about my Girl leaving Primary School but our Summer together helped me get over that (a little) and we looked forward to the new adventure ahead for her.

Luckily, she had done a three day fun course at her new school the week before so had familiarised herself with the school and made some friends, which meant the first day wasn’t so daunting.

She put on her new uniform and looked beautiful. So different. Of course I shed a little tear.

My beautiful girl…

I still can’t believe she’s now at High School… it’s come around so quick. It’s freaks me out how fast time is going by. I’m just not ready for her to grow up yet!

I couldn’t wait to see her after school, give her a big cuddle and hear all about her first day! She was happy and said it had gone well. The rest of the week saw more of the settling in and introductory lessons…. I’m sure next week will be more realistic in terms of working harder and homework etc!

But that’s it. A big milestone hit!

My twins O and H had a big day too. First day in the Juniors.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I wanted to delay them starting school because of being summer borns, and at no time since they were starting Reception have I wanted that more than I did on their first day back.

They’ve literally just turned 7… in August. One boy in their class is already 8. My boys are still so little compared to their peers. I worry about them all the time. They do struggle academically and I know it’s a big jump up again now from Infants so I’m concerned about them coping, but H was rather excited to be going back to school and seeing his friends. O was a little more apprehensive but was still feeling quite happy on his first morning.

Aww, my boys. O looks big in this photo compared to H. I don’t know why because they’re the same size! Must be a weird angle but anyway, they too had a great first day. In fact, they were absolutely buzzing from it if I’m being totally honest! They were chatting away excitedly in the car on the way home, telling me how much they loved it and that they couldn’t wait to go back tomorrow!

Wow! I wasn’t expecting THAT!

This was like music to my ears! And they were still very happy by Friday but were absolutely exhausted. The Juniors has worn them out so it’s time for a complete rest this weekend to recoup!

I’m so happy they’re enjoying it. Let’s hope it continues!

So all back to normal now. I will miss my lazy days with my babies and I’ll be counting down the days to the half term 😉

I hope you all managed to get through the first week back!

So sad that my daughter has left Primary School

The last photo of my Girl in her Primary school uniform (sob)

I knew I’d be like this. I’m such an emotional wreck when it comes to things like this!

This year I had two emotional ‘Leavers Assemblys’ to attend.

My twins finished Year 2, which means they’ll be moving on to the Junior school. It’s separate to the Infants so it feels like a big deal. And it is. It means my boys are growing up.

I cried the whole way through their assembly. Yes, because of all the feelings that stir with the realisation that this is the end of their time at the Infants, but for me, also, it was because my shy twins stood right at the front and sang their little hearts out!

In any kind of sharing assembly they’ve done in the past, they’ve hidden. They’ve been so shy that they would literally go to pieces and crumble before my eyes…. they’d curl up and cringe and want to be invisible. It was always painful to watch. They hate any sort of attention. To them, they would’ve felt as though every parent was looking at THEM. No matter what I said, or how their teacher’s tried to help, nothing worked.

So to see them standing there with their fellow Year 2 peers, singing away, my heart was puffing out and bursting with pride! It was amazing. That in itself signified a massive milestone for my tiny boys.

The ‘Leaver’s Song’ is incredibly heart wrenching, describing how they are moving on and loving the friendships they’ve formed…. how they’re proud of things they’ve learned and about the new path they’re about to take in the world. I can’t understand how anyone would fail to be moved to tears by it!

My daughter sang it too.

She’s in Year 6 and it was even more poignant for her as she’s leaving the school for good.

The school where she’s been incredibly happy and made some lovely friends. She doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t go to that school. It’s been somewhere she went every day for seven years!

My Girl’s very first day at school in Reception.. aged 4!

I knew I would find it difficult but I haven’t been prepared for how hard it would hit me once she had left.

The last few weeks of term were crazy manically busy, accumulating in the Year 6 Leaver’s Party!

But first on Friday we had the Leaver’s assembly. It was very emotional. We were taken on a journey of their time at the school. Lots of photo’s lit up on the big screen in the hall from the projector. Stories were told and quite early on, some of the girls were in tears. One of my daughter’s friends stood up to sing a song but she couldn’t get the words out.

This set me off.

Within moments, my daughter was crying and it was all I could do to stop myself running to the stage to comfort her. There were a few songs, then the Leaver’s song again.

I sat there looking at her through tears in my eyes. The words cutting through me like a knife.

I didn’t want this to be it. I didn’t want this to be the last time she would be at her school or sit there with those children. I didn’t want this to be the last time she would ever wear that uniform and look this young. I wanted it all to stop, for time to go back so she could stay here a bit longer.

The girls all clung to each other afterwards. It was so so sad.

But the day ahead for them was a busy one. They had all the fun shirt signing to do before heading off on the traditional London bus ride around our local town, then finally ending up at their Leaver’s Disco organised by us parents! Their families were invited down for a BBQ later where we stayed until around 10pm when it finished.

My daughter and some friends from Year 6 enjoying their party.

It was a great evening. The kids had so much fun and it was lovely for us Mum’s to have this last evening all together. Many of the kids are going to different high schools so it was the end of an era for us too and we all got a bit emotional.

My daughter was tearful in the car on the way home bless her. But they have all vowed to stay in touch and I guess it will be much easier than it used to be, with everyone having smart phones. They already have lots of Whatsapp groups that they’re all in so really they will still feel close!

For me though, it really hit me the next day.

The full on craziness of the past few weeks had given way to an eerie, empty feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I picked up her uniform and stared at it for a while. She would never wear it again. Ever.

I glanced over at her sitting on the sofa, absorbed in her phone. My baby girl. No longer at our beloved primary school.

It seemed so final.

Everything is about to change. So much more than she could ever realise.

I’ve got a 17 yr old so I know only too well how much she will change in the next year. High school does that do a child and I’m not ready to go through that with her just yet.

I don’t want to.

I want to keep her like this for a little bit longer please if I may?

She is on the cusp of growing into a young lady but right now she is still so young in her mind, still so childlike and so much fun. She still loves cuddles and to play with her little twin brothers…. In another year that might not be the case.

We spent a lazy day together. I watched her play in the garden… she’s grown so much recently. Not so little anymore.

When I tucked her up in bed that night, I kissed her, squeezed her hard then went into my own bedroom and sobbed.

I sobbed and sobbed. Uncontrollably.

I want to stall time. It’s going way too fast and I can’t stop it. I don’t want her to grow up and I don’t want things to change.

I love her so much. I love the way she is right now and even though I know there’ll be lots of fun ahead…. I’m not ready for that.

I was thinking about the school run. We’ve always gone together. Me, her and the twins. All three of them have always worn the same uniform and they’ve always been together. Not any more.

The last time all together in school uniform! (*sobs again!)

In September, my twins won’t have their big sister with them when we leave for school. We will go without her. She will walk to her new school.

After school when the twins come out first, we won’t walk across to her classroom to wait for her. She won’t be there.

Everything will change and I don’t want it to.

I know I should embrace it and I will of course. I’ll have to.

But it all makes me so sad.

Time is passing way too fast. In the blink of an eye my children will be all grown up and it’s hard to accept.

This summer I want to spend every second with my beautiful Girl and breathe in her young loveliness while it’s still there.

Then in September, I will watch with pride (albeit choking back the tears) as she puts on her new uniform and heads out the door, ready for the next new chapter in her life.

Week 27 Photo – School Mini Enterprise

Aww my Girl.

Here she is at school this week, taking part in Mini Enterprise. The school does it every year for the Year 6’s, whereby they sell things on stalls and it’s a lot of fun for them. They have a couple of weeks to sort out teams decide what they will sell on their stalls. They can do anything they want… but they are given a very small budget so they have to be creative.

My daughter here is doing hair (one of her favourite past times). Her team were doing hair, nails, tattoos and the boys were doing milkshakes with ice cream and making popcorn! The rest of the school are invited to bring in some money (small amount) to spend on the stalls and then parents can come along later to spend money! The kids really enjoy it and it teaches them a little about entrepreneurship!

My lovely Girl will be leaving school in two weeks time… this will be one of the last times I’ll probably photograph her at school and in her uniform. Bless her she looks so cute in her frilly little ankle socks here….. I’ll miss seeing her dressed in this uniform.

I’ll be talking more about this as the school term ends. My twins have a big school milestone too coming up. They’ll be leaving the Infants for the Juniors, which I haven’t quite got my head around yet! Yikes… it’a all moving way too fast!

I haven’t done a weekly roundup post on the blog for a few weeks…  School has been manic with all three younger kids involved in school plays and sports days and trips, we’ve been incredibly busy.

This week I should’ve really been at the Christmas in July shows which are taking place in London. I usually attend as many as I possibly can every year and love them, but I simply haven’t had time this year. I’m hoping to get to some though this coming week.

I’ve also been helping Teen prepare for a very important job interview this week. He’s down to the last round and he had to write a presentation! He’s only 17 so it was a very daunting task for him! I don’t want to say too much about it though in case nothing comes of it but he said it went well so fingers crossed!

Hope you all had a great week!

SATS – Really not a big deal!

I’m a bit late writing this post but I didn’t want the whole SATS topic to go by unnoticed as I’ve had THREE children doing them this year!

My 6yr old twins who are in Year 2 (KS1) and my daughter who is in Year 6 (KS2).

I’ve seen the masses amounts of media coverage about the SATS over the last few months, about how unfair the examinations are, especially on the Year 2 children, who are 6 or 7, depending when their birthday falls. I’ve read numerous posts about how children are stressed out and upset about them and of course I get angry that my children this year are having to undertake much more challenging and difficult exams than ever before….. but in all fairness, my kids haven’t been in the slightest bit worried OR stressed.

Even though I don’t agree with the extent of what’s expected, I would like to give a slightly more positive experience of the SATS this year.

My twins are the youngest in their class (August born premature… meaning they should’ve been born into the school year below) and I’ve made no secret of the fact that I feel they should’ve been allowed to start school a year later, but unfortunately my local council didn’t allow this. Even more unfortunate for us is the fact that had we’d gone through the process now, we would’ve been allowed, due to the Summer Born campaign.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that my twins are VERY young in the school year so when I heard they would be tested like this (proper exams), I was obviously concerned. It just didn’t seem fair. I downloaded the new pilot SATS paper to check out what my twins would be expected to know and do at 6 years of age and I was shocked!

There was no way my boys would be able to answer these types of questions. To sit and WRITE down answers clearly…. they can barely WRITE! Not in any kind of well structured sentences anyway! And to do it all in a set amount of time too?

I spoke with their teacher who reassured me that even though they were working on all the test requirements, they were doing it in such a way that the children just thought it was all part of their everyday learning. There was no pressure at all and the children were pretty much unaware they were taking exams. They would just be presented with the SATS papers at various intervals throughout May, as part of a lesson. She agreed that some of what the children were expected to know at this age was simply ridiculous, but actually, they had covered a lot of it and the children were picking it up fast… and happily.

She said the results of the tests wouldn’t be taken into account in her end of year assessment of the children. She would assess them on their overall achievements and progression throughout the year.

This made me feel at ease. I thought the school were handling this well and I decided that it didn’t matter how my boys did in the SATS. They’re SIX years old and I know they’re improving all the time. Which is all that matters to me.

I totally get why there was a huge group of parents who boycotted the SATS this Summer though. Kids this age just need to enjoy school, play and be kids.

But, if this is the way that schooling is going, if this is the way my children are going to be assessed from now on, then I do feel like it can’t be ignored. I need to help them. I don’t want them to lag behind their peers. So we did look at the papers occasionally at home, without mentioning the ‘test’ word and just to cement what they were doing at school (in a fun way). Actually I was quite surprised at how much my boys knew already, especially when it came to grammar. Even I get confused with nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives! They don’t. They know what each of these words mean.

It just goes to show that a school CAN prepare our young children well for these tests, without it being an issue and without it being stressful.

Maybe we are the lucky ones, I don’t know. I don’t expect my boys to have performed well in their tests. In fact, they may have just sat there and not written anything down at all for all I know! But they didn’t mention any exams or tests once, and were their usual happy selves throughout, so it obviously didn’t phase them one bit!

It’s all good.

Equally with my daughter, she too wasn’t worried.

Again, for the record, I do think it’s unfair, the extent of what they’re having to know and understand at 10/11 years old and unlike the Infants, the Junior school have been FULL ON with the Year 6’s for the SATS. Their teachers, both Maths and English, have been thoroughly going over papers and practicing them since the middle of last term…. which proves just how important the results are for the school and how the difficulty levels of these exams have stepped up about ten notches this year.

The kids were fed up with all this English and Maths study, although they’ve made up for it since with lots of fun activities… but none of them were miserable I have to say. No child was stressing, or upset or worried as far as I know. Plus the extra work paid off. My daughter knew what she was doing (mostly) and felt quietly confident. I’d already made it clear to her that there was absolutely no pressure from us. As long as she tries her best, that’s all that matters.

I’d read stories of Year 6 children in some schools being in floods of tears after the first SATS paper! My daughter came out of school that day like she does every other day. Happy. She said she missed out two questions, shrugged her shoulders and said it was quite difficult, but she thinks she did OK. And that’s fine by me.

Honestly, the SATS aren’t that important… only for the school’s purpose (makes them look good, or not) and for the Government. They will make little or no difference to my daughter’s life as she moves on to secondary school. Working hard for these SATS can only stand her in good stead though for future schooling and again, I wouldn’t want her to fall too far behind as this can affect a child’s confidence just as much as pushing them too hard, in my opinion.

It’s got to be a fine balance.

I think we got the balance just right this time.

My three beautiful children have done their SATS and come out of them unscathed.

I’m so proud 🙂

Mama Owl

Twins Milestone – Going to school alone

Because my twins Oscar and Hugo have always been incredibly shy, they find the most familiar of settings uncomfortable sometimes.

School has been one of those settings.

Considering kids go every day, for a shy child, school can still seem slightly daunting, however familiar they are with it. It’s the fear of the unknown… there’s bound to be something new happening each day after all, and the fear of being singled out, asked a question or asked to read out loud etc is real.

Oscar and Hugo are now in Year 2 and 6 yrs old. It’s not been an easy ride as they’re the youngest in the year group too…. premature August borns. But they have settled in and their confidence is growing all the time, albeit slowly.

Within their comfort zones, with their close group of friends and their regular teachers, they’re great. They do have each other too to lean on in times of doubt.

Up until the start of year 2, neither of them had been to school without the other. They’re in the same class… something I insisted on and had to fight for when they started school initially, and it’s worked well. But going to school without their twin just hasn’t been an option really, because of the shyness, and because they’ve always been together. It’s a whole other new experience that they just haven’t seemed ready for.

It hasn’t really mattered though to be honest because during reception and year 1, my boys were pretty much ill at the same time. They had colds together and bugs together… it may have over lapped a day or two when one possibly could’ve gone in, but at such a young age I was of the opinion that I wouldn’t want to cause them stress unnecessarily. They were just about coping with school so I didn’t want to upset the apple cart, so to speak, by forcing one of my boys to go into school on his own kicking and screaming.

This year though I made a promise to myself that if one was fit and healthy enough to go to school then he should, even if his brother was off. Year 2 is a big step up academically so I didn’t want them to miss school and fall behind, plus I believe they’re strong enough to cope now.

Last term I had to put this to the test quite early on.

Oscar and Hugo both picked up quite a bad cold and were off school for a day or two together. Hugo improved but because of his asthma, Oscar was in no way well enough to be in school….. so the day came.

Both myself, Scott and my daughter Poppie chatted with Hugo about it the evening before. We explained how he should go to school because he was well and that Oscar needed to stay home because he was ill. We had already discussed this at length over the summer, so that both boys knew it might happen but when it came to it now, I wasn’t sure how Hugo would take it.

To my surprise though, Hugo seemed ok with it. Excited even, and this hadn’t waned by the the following morning. He ate his breakfast and got dressed, all while I was reassuring him that he would still be doing his normal activities at school, even without Oscar (they sit on different tables anyway and play with other boys in a large group so it’s not as if they’re glued together).

But when it was time to go, Hugo’s mood shifted. The reality kicked it. He said he didn’t want to go without Oscar and began to cry.

My heart sunk and I felt so upset for him but reminded myself that I couldn’t just keep him home, however much I wanted to at that moment.

It was getting late though and I didn’t have time to faff about, we needed to leave. But I had to handle it right if I was going to get him out of the door!

I cuddled and squeezed him tight and tried to make going to school on his own sound fun. Different. Exciting! I suggested that now he’s a ‘big boy’ and doing so well at school, his teachers wouldn’t want him to miss any lessons and how great he would feel once he’d done it. I said anything really to encourage him and he gradually came around.

Just out of the car at school with a renewed excitement. 

I could see he was trying to be strong as he slowly, reluctantly climbed into the car looking sad. My heart went out to him. But once we arrived at school he spotted a friend and they ran in together and he didn’t bat an eyelid. Woohoo – wasn’t expecting that! I thought he would go to pieces at the door but no. I was so relieved. I did ask his teacher to keep an eye on him in case he felt a bit ‘lost’, as I reminded her this was his very first time at school without his twin and a big moment.

I felt emotional as I walked back to the car. It was a big deal for me too… a milestone in the lives of my beautiful boys. I then started to overthink… what if Hugo was on his own at lunchtime and on the playground at playtime? I had visions of him hiding in the corner somewhere, desperately missing his brother.

I fretted all day. Oscar even had a little cry at lunch time when we were discussing what Hugo would be doing at that moment. Bless him. He was worried about his twin too.

I literally couldn’t wait to pick him up.

I needn’t have worried though. Hugo came running out of his classroom absolutely beaming and full of himself! He’d had a great day and couldn’t wait to tell me all about it. It was wonderful, I felt so happy for him.

Hugo had learned that he could do it. He could go to school on his own and it would be absolutely fine. I’m sure it gave him a whole new sense of belief in himself, that he could do anything!

Proud just isn’t the word. Bless my little boy.

One down, one to go!

Then just before Christmas, the tables turned and this time it was Hugo that was unwell. That meant that it was Oscar’s turn to go to school by himself.

Oscar struggles more with his self confidence than Hugo. He’s  more shy. Even though they’re similar, Hugo has always been that little bit easier to manipulate. Oscar is very, VERY stubborn. When it came to talking him round to going to school without Hugo for the first time, I knew it wasn’t going to be quite as straightforward.

He didn’t want to go. He was absolutely adamant. He wanted to be with Hugo and stay home. He told me in no uncertain terms that he wouldn’t go. I could see the worry on his face.

I didn’t want to insist, I felt sorry for him because to me, he’s so small and vulnerable. But I knew he needed to do this now for his own development and growth as an individual. No excuses. It would be good for him. He was acutely aware that Hugo had ‘done it’ already, which helped, but it still took quite a lot of coaxing to get him dressed and into the car on the day.

I had to resort to “Mummy will get in trouble if I don’t take you to school” tactics in the end when he wouldn’t budge. It was traumatic and stressful but at last though, he seemed to concede. I must admit I felt a bit evil (for want of a better word)… for ‘forcing’ him to go. All sorts of emotions were going through my mind. I was angry at the ‘system’ momentarily, for making me HAVE to take my child to school when all he wanted was to stay at home with Mummy and his twin brother.

He was reluctant to get out of the car. I was hoping and praying I wouldn’t have to take him in crying, that would’ve been the worst, but eventually he did get out and went into his classroom without any tears.

It was me who choked back tears.

Oscar not looking so sure.

Again I fretted all day but again, like Hugo, when I picked him up, Oscar was very happy, probably not AS happy as Hugo was, but he’d had a great day and I could see how chuffed he was with himself which made my heart melt. We did it! He too could go to school on his own now. Although he did say he wanted Hugo to go with him tomorrow!

I cannot express how delighted I am that both boys have achieved this big milestone in their little lives.

I’m also pleased with myself that I waited until now to do it. There was no rush and even though it wasn’t straight forward, I do believe they were ready. Had I done it when they weren’t ready, it could’ve caused them long term distress which I was not going to risk. No way.

Big boys now…. and I’m so very proud of them x

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