Every day has lessons, but are we ready to learn? I think about that a lot when I spend time with my 7 year-old, who just started 2nd grade yesterday. Not surprisingly, she was nervous about returning to school. We spent a lot of the summer having serious down time. It might have been better to have had her attend a bunch of camps, but it did not happen this year. She spent some time at a swim camp and also at a children’s Bible class while spending time with one set of grandparents in The Bahamas. After coming back from that trip, she spent a lot of days just cooling out. She could have read more and played with her mother’s iPad less. She could have done a few more creative things rather than hang with her cousins when they visited. We did some maths but could have done more. We wrote some stories but could have done more. She could have played outside more when the heat was not too high instead of watching TV. She could have had more play dates with school friends instead of hanging a lot with neighbouring kids, who do not go to the same school. One part of me said that real down time will be so hard to come by as she gets older. Another part of me said that too much down time might make the re-entry into schooling a bit too challenging. We shall see.
Yesterday, when school re-opened for orientation, it was just a half day, and we tried to get back into a more disciplined mode when the little one came home. No TV. No iPad. Rain fell heavily most of the day, so we did not venture out too far. We practised piano–just started a month ago. She then put on the accompanying CD and listened to that while I tried to play along to the exercises. That lasted for about an hour, which counts in my book as a good practice session.
Inspired by the sight of Serena Williams at the US Open, my second grader went to put on a wig and prance around during the afternoon. We played Connect Four, and did some counting along with the play. She does not like losing, so tried to find ways to stop me having my turn so that she could win.
We then played Calisto, a game that involves fitting shapes onto a board. For over an hour, we tried to figure out how to make patterns. We were at late afternoon, and my Calisto opponent wanted to check out some play time with her girl friend up the lane. No problem, I thought. She went off and had a good time, playing for a couple of hours, doing make up.
My wife had taken the day off and had headed to a group session at church in the late afternoon. By the time that my wife came home, just after 7pm, my second grader was getting ready for bed.
So, it seems that the transition back to school went well on day one. I did not see any signs of stress after the return to the classroom. Whatever nerves there had been were hopefully calmed. Today, will be the first full day, so let’s see what that brings.