Thursday, August 18, 2011

Let Me Have It

Okay, let's hear it. Mamas, teachers, and internet peeps, what is your advice for Curtis and me as we send our firstborn to elementary school?

I took this picture today after Jackson's pre-meet-the-teacher hair cut.


Lindsay said...

My sister is a preschool teacher and definitely recommends preschool! I'm more of a home-education type. My advice? Pray about what's best for your sweet kiddos and let God direct you to the best program (whether outside or inside the home). :)

Sugar Mommy said...

Don't listen to what anyone else says. Go with your God-given instinct. ;)

And here's a GREAT tip for lunch making made easy:

And here are some fun ideas if you want to spice it up:

God's blessings on Jackson and you for a wonderful Kindergarten year!

Holly said...

Just have fun! And be a parent that comes to the class parties and trips. And laugh a lot and listen a lot...and let him know how proud you are of him. And have fun! Just to make sure you remember.

This is a great time! (Also let him learn at his own pace--we "worried" for Tabor because he was so young--a July baby-- and he was behind the curve then JUMPED forward three giant steps by the end. Looking back, we need not have worried.)

Lindsay said...

Oh goodness! I just saw the caption on Jackson's photo. So, scrap my last comment. Haha! My advice is to pray a blessing on him before he heads out the door for least every now & then. I heard about this idea from LifeWay's Home Life magazine a couple years ago & thought it was great! Just take a verse from Scripture and pray it over him. You could do this for your husband too. I can't wait to implement this when I'm married and have kids. :)

Lisa said...

Invest in a good electric pencil sharpener!

Big Mama said...

Bring Kleenex and wait to cry until you get in the car.

But seriously he is going to be great. School is the beginning of so much new fun!

MeBelieving said...

From the view of a teacher, be involved at school. My students whose parents help out at school are academically and behaviorally better than their peers. Ask lots of questions. The more you know, the better you will feel. Teachers are happy to answer. I love my first time parents.

I know you and Curtis will be on y'alls knees.

Jackson is going to have a blast. The Kinder teachers have been working hard this week getting ready.

Have a great year!!

3girlsmom said...

Walk him in the 1st day. Do the whole video camera/pictures thing. Leave AB with someone so it can be all about him. DON'T cry in front if him. After the 1st day, let him take the lead. But be willing to tell him how much you trust him to walk in alone and that you are sure he will do just fine without you or dad to walk him in. Your confidence in him will help him. After school, go get the biggest snack ever. Make sure he can open everything in his lunchbox without help. Be near the front of the carpool line so he doesn't get nervous. BAWL your eyes out and eat plenty of chocolate that day...wait, that's what I did.

You'll make it, mama. He will have so much fun! It's such a big transition, but a sweet one. I love their firsts. Next year, I'll have one starting middle school AND one starting kindergarten (along with one in 1st grade). I'll be a wreck - I can already tell. Love you and will be praying hard for you and Jackson!

Dana said...

I'm about to start my nineth year of teaching but don't have children of my own. Discount anything that does seem to jive with the parent side of this. And sorry its so much....

1. Check on the school rules in terms of walking him to his classroom. If they allow it the first week, walk with him but ease the distance you walk each time. Example: On the first day, walk him to his classroom and go in. On the second day, walk him to the door but don't go in. The third day, go the the end of hall. The fourth day, walk him to the door of the school. The fifth day, let him go on his own from the car. It will help Jackson feel more independent and you will not have to drop him out of the car during the first week. Not all schools will allow this so ask the teacher the first day (or call the school on Friday) how long you can walk him back.

2. Also, elementary car pick up lines at the end of the day can be LONG - especially the first few days of school. I had duty every day of my teaching career. Try to get there early so you don't have to wait as long. It's better to wait before hand and then just go than to wait forever as the cars inch forward.

3. It's OK to cry - just wait until you leave. It makes the transition into the school day easier for Jackson and for the teacher. He will react to how you are reacting.

4. If at all possible, try to see if you can leave sweet little sister with a friend. If you can't, at least hold her or keep a very close eye on her. Not only is it Jackson's big day but its also easier for the teacher to corral just her students and their parents. The first day is chaotic in a classroom. Maybe include Annabeth that afternoon by having her help make a surprise after school snack for Jackson. That will make the clock hands turn a little faster for you too.

5. If possible, write Jackson's teacher a short note at the end of the week telling her how much you appreciate her. It's a hard week for teachers and it wll definitely help build a great relationship between you and the teacher.

Tara G. said...

As your child walks through the doors of the school, remember that you are still in charge of, responsible for, and accountable for his education. You've chosen what you have determined is the best for him right now (because you're his parents and know him better than anyone else), but always re-evaluate to make sure he is still getting exactly what he needs. Be assertive in looking through the materials so you can have great discussions at home, reinforce or even counter what has been taught. Pray, pray, pray, and delight in Jackson's new stage of life. You are the best parents he'll ever have to bring him out of childhood little by little to be a man of God.

Wifeof1Momof4 said...

Let Jackson go, Let Jackson enjoy ... don't let him see you cry. :)

My 5yr old started K last year and cried all the way to school the first day ... when I picked him up that afternoon, he YELLED, it was the best day EVER and LOVED school all year.

I'd post some pics for you, but I need to update my blog. :)

Deanna said...

We could all probably write volumes on things we wish we had/hadnt least I could anyway.
My kids are all older teens now and in private school. We've done public school and homeschool as well. But over all the ONE thing I can say that I wish I'd done differently, no matter which school,is that I wish I'd prayed more for my kids, their teachers, their friends. I prayed that they'd have a good day, do well on projects etc but really diggin into some serious warfare prayers, I can't honestly say I've done that near as much as they've needed it unless it was a full blown crisis.
So my advice is pray-in that you'll find the answer to every situation, emotion, conflict, no matter how basic or complex. The only one who knows your child better and cares for him better than you is THE ONE who created him.
But You already know all of this. Its a big day! Enjoy it - OH and ALWAYS take a first day of school picture-both of them together-in the same place if possible- you'll be glad you did later!

ems d said...

My top tips are
1) Buy a nice lunch box - it is key part of being cool at that age.
2) Sew iron-on name labels on EVERY item of clothing you have an urge to keep
3)Be prepared emotionally to see Jackson suddenly seem an also lot older -My daughter seemed to mature greatly in that first year
4) Pray and trust their little lives to God (how much easier said than done is that one!)
5 ) Most of all -enjoy!

Kirsten said...

Say goodbye once and be done. :) I can't tell you how many parents will give their kids a hug and say goodbye, the kids are fine coming into the classroom, and then the parents run back for about ten more minutes of hugging and crying and sobbing "You're such a big girl now." Then the kids start crying, causing the other kids to start crying, and me having to personally escort the parents to the door.... :)

Good luck with everything! I'm sure it will be a big week for your family, but God will be with you. :) said...

Well I read but rarely post. My kids are almost all grown and highschool...but I still remember the kindergarten days. My best advice is to take lots of kleenex when you drop him off. It's a huge day, the beginning of 13 years of "first days" and sometimes they are easy and sometimes they are hard. We had such a great summer this year (before my sons sophomore year) that it was hard to see him start back to school. I miss him!
As with any new beginning, he will come home a changed boy. I don't mean that negatively but he will meet new people and they will teach him things both good and bad. My best advice is not to freak out. I can remember freaking out with my eldest. I should have let the small things go and focused on the big things.Character always wins out and although my sweet girl turned out wonderful (in spite of me), I could have been more diligent about focusing on character issues.
Emjoy your boy, enjoy his teachers (good and bad they all need encouragement) and enjoy watching him change. You have given him such a good it is time for him to grow some little wings and fly.

Rhonda said...

We have two boys who are elementary level. For us, the big thing is to not pressure them to get it perfect. Yes, we expect them to do their best, but for our boys, math and reading are struggles. So we patiently practice, and when they are frustrated, we walk away from it. Have fun! Enjoy it:) It will go quickly.

McKenzie Lee said...

I've done this 4 times in the past 7 years and it NEVER got easier. I cried each time. However, you asked for some advice and I do have a little!
1. I always show up on the first day with a hand written note telling the teacher how we have prayed for her and how much we know God will bless our child through her. I include my "mommy card" which is a business card with ALL my contact info. on it. I hand these to anyone who will have my child when I'm not there.
2. I have my girls help me bake cookies or fresh bread of some kind on the Sunday before, and they give it to the teacher with a picture attached of thier sweet face on it:)
3. We have a special prayer time just the 2 of us on the first day before the feet even hit the floor. We ask for a friend who loves Jesus and one who does not so we can tell them all about Him.
4. To do number 3 I HIGHLY recommend setting your alarm early and climbing in the bed with them all warm and cozy...
5. I go to the halmark store and buy a weeks worth of the 99 cent cards and put one in the lunchbox everyday telling them how proud I am and add a scripture.
6.Please dont laugh:) but I drive to the school a few hours into the first day and lay a hand on the building for prayer of protection for all the kids and teachers inside.
7. When he gets home the first day have a "you did it party" with who ever will come and balloons and cake and all the nine yards of crazy fun!
I could go on and on but I'm not sure you are even still there:) Love all you Texas Jesus encourage me daily.
Have a good healthy cry!!!!
In Christ,
Allison C. Lee

Pam said...

Remember his most important lessons still are learned at your address, not the school's.

Also, remember to pray about the best choice for each child each year. Just because you've sent him/her to one place does not mean it will work for every child you send there. A one-size-fits-all education is a misnomer.

Praying for you and for sweet Jackson as he embarks on this new step of his journey.

the4leegirls said...

OK my middle schooler signed in on MY computer so my last comment will show up in her name with her picture. Amazing how fast I can go from a good memory of her in Kinder to irritated...middle school stinks:) lets talk about that one...

Christy said...

School is so fun and exciting, as it's really a time for you to let him start to practice all you've taught him through the years in a setting outside your home. He'll form his own independence based on the fantastic foundation you've laid, and you'll get to see both his intellect and his faith grow. It's a great time for you and your family to help him see that God is with us everywhere (even in school) and to connect his faith to a "secular" event like education.

Don't just pray over him or for him, pray with him each morning. Have him say a little prayer and let him know that if he is nervous or confused he can always say a quick prayer to God during the school day.It's amazing how much knowing this, and practicing it, can have a positive influence on their school experience.

When you see him after school and he's gushing about a new friend or a cool activity or something he's just learned, remember to take the opportunity to model your faith by saying things like... "wow God sure made your teacher creative" or "God loves to bring new friends into our lives."

Anonymous said...

Here's a few things I did that I believe make a big difference:

-I prayed for God's will in which teachers he'd get each year.

-I continued praying for those teachers (& administrators)through the year & I let them know that I did.

-My son & I prayed together on the way to school every morning.

-I put a short 1-2 line note in his lunch box each day reminding him of my love for him, the Lord's love for him, how proud I am of him, or other words of encouragement. Always included a scripture too.

I can't say enough about prayer...pray for yourself & Curtis, pray for Jackson, pray for the teachers, pray for the other children & families. Pray, pray, pray.
And do trust your heart - you know your kids better than anyone else. Be their biggest fan & encourager ALWAYS. And CHERISH, SAVOR & BE in the moments - they really do go by as quickly as everyone says they do. :/

I move my precious son to college tomorrow. I'm still praying like crazy & God's faithfulness is still tremendous. HE is so good!

Blessings & Love,

Nesha said...

I know he will be prayed over and loved over!
Listen to his comments as the guide to what to do or not to do. I still do that now with my 10 & 13 yr olds. Of course, listen to your mom instincts.
They are really tired when they get home regardless of 'rest' time. Patience on that one.
They all learn at their own pace and way- just figure out which strategies work for him and use them.
Let him pick out the lunch box, backpack, where to put the pencils, etc. They feel a sense of personal acheivement with that.
Have fun! Enjoy every little milestone that will happen this year! Can't wait to read about them.
It is a bitter/sweet year for me with a 5th grader (last year of Elem.) & a 9th grader (HS). There will be tears here on our first day as well, as I am so proud to be their mom and who they are turning out to be!

Kristy said...

I think I lost the first time I tried to goes again...sorry if it duplicates!

I am normally just a lurker...but this advice is worth breaking out to share! haha

Most important advice...TAKE A PICTURE! With booksack on in front of front door or somewhere at you house that can be constant as long as you live there. A friend of mine did that and at her boys' graduation parties she had frames with all 13 pictures and it was truly priceless! Thankfully my firstborn was starting Kindergarten the next fall so we have been snapping the first day picture ever since! It is so fun to see them getting as tall as the front door!

And the only other advice is to kiss and go...our school actually calls the car pool lane (with a sign and everything)..."the Kiss and Go Lane". Walk him to the class and then FLEE...yes I mean flee like the devil is after you! It will be easier on you both!

I will warn was much harder on me with my 2nd child (probably because he is the last!).

Praying Ps 29:11 on all you first school year mommies..."The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace."

Good luck!

happymcfamily said...

We just sent our 5 and a half year old girl to first grade a few weeks ago, but it's her first year at public school (we home-schooled kindy). So sending her off for her first day of first grade was sort of like sending her off for her first day of kindy.

My thoughts:
-if you have Netflix, stream the Cosby show First Day of School episode for something fun to do.

-Pray on your way to school every day for both of your days. We walk to school most of the time, but it could be done in the car too. Either way we have to keep our eyes open ;-)

-Keep a positive attitude. Don't encourage complaining or gossip. We are blessed that our girl loves her teacher so much that she wants me to have her phone number (which I do) just to call her whenever she pleases (which I don't. ha.) When I ask about her day I am mainly looking for what she did, who she played with, what she liked or didn't like, etc. I am not asking her to tattle on the boy who spit on the cafeteria wall again. Know what I mean? I don't want a play-by-play of all the bad things other kids did just so she can make herself feel high and holy.
Also, if for some reason you do have a problem with the teacher, don't let lack of respect show in front of your child because that will be reflected in his classroom behavior toward her.

-Be involved. Teachers love it and it's a great way to get to know the teacher & other parents and students in class. I don't know about you, but I like to know who is influencing my child 5 days out of 7.

-Talk about his day afterward. When you ask what his favorite part of the day was every day, be prepared for the answer to be lunch or playtime. I always follow it up with, "And what was your favorite learning part?"

-We tie a little star with a Bible verse and note on her lunchbox. If she is buying lunch that day, we tie it to her backpack. I missed one day. She noticed.

-SCHOOL IS NOT FOR KISSING GIRLS. hahaha. During the first week of school when I asked my girl who she played with, she mostly said the same girl. Finally I asked what she was playing. "Run away from the boyfriends." What boyfriends? You're too young to have boyfriends. "Well I don't have any boyfriends but she has lots of boyfriends and we play run away from the boys so they don't kiss us." THAT'S RIGHT baby girl, DON'T YOU DARE let those boys kiss you! ha!

Congrats Jacks!

Barbara Head said...

I am a grandparent, so maybe I'm too old to be giving advice, but the advice from Dana(the teacher) was absolutely perfect. We just helped drop off our oldest grandchild at her new college dorm and believe me I was an emotional wreck. The last hug we had was outside the dorm and I was on the verge of tears. She whispered in my ear "please, Mimi, don't cry" so I sucked it up.

Katy said...

My boys are 11 (6th grade @ jr. high), 9 (3rd grade). I did young 5's with both of them, knowing I would never regret it! That program is no longer offered in our district and I feel blessed that my kids were able to do it!

Once my youngest went to 1st grade, I applied to work in the district. I work breakfast & lunch & sub in the autistic classes. My goal is to get to know who is educating my kids and who their friends are. When I started working breakfast last year, kids were tired and grumpy, but I made it a point to get to know them while they ate and to tell them to have a good day at school.

My husbands goal is to have our house as the fun house so our kids want to stay home and invite their friends over. I am very strict on who's house they go to to play. There are many they aren't allowed at for many reasons.

Anyone can come to our house and hang out. We always play games of kick ball. Many kids come from split homes and we work on purpose to show them a family structured home.

My oldest struggles in school with different subjects. I have to be the one to speak up for him because the teachers/staff don't want to do the paper work and testing so they are hush hush! Know your rights as a parent!

You are your child's only advocate, fight for that child and his education!

PS Make shutterfly books for each birthday of their previous year of all the things they did. Then when they graduate from high school, you won't be looking for pics and sticking them to a poster board for the grad party. You can nicely display them on a table! SCORE! It's nerdish, but I know I will be thankful I did it!

Rikki said...

I think the biggest thing for my kids was to be involved as much as possible. They loved that I came to parties and drove for field trips, etc. I wanted to know what was happening at the place my oldest ones were spending so much of their time, you know?

Amy said...

I am a mama & a teacher ... and my best advice is that grades and performance are not eternal ... but my reaction to them has had some long-ter consequences ... the best advice I ever received from a homeschooling mama was to write down what my goals for my son were during a give year ... when I had a list of skills she reminded me that just because I was making academic goals, I should not leave Jesus out of the equation. If you by chance send your son to a Christian school ... here is my one piece of advice there ... sometimes our children spend so much time talkiing ABOUT JESUS in a day, they forget to talk TO HIM.
These days are precious. Take time every single day to enjoy him! Blessings!!

bethany said...

This is funny. I just asked this exact same question on Facebook and here it is answered for me! No advice for you Amanda (I'm sort of freaking out myself), but I'll definitely be reading all of these comments!!

Michele Helms said...

Be involved at school....listen and encourage. Before you know it he will be headed to HS...crazy. Be intentional about your parenting. People ask me all the time as I travel around speaking....."how do I develop a good relationship with my 13....15....17 yr old?" I am not saying that it is impossible at that age....God can do anything!!! but I am saying that if you want an amazing relationship with your teenager...if you want a teenage boy who is polite and it NOW...INTENTIONALLY!!!!

Jocelyn said...

This is a link to a wonderful education blog post on back to school readiness. It is solid advice! :)

Jody said...

It would drive me crazy when I would ask my kids how their day was or what they did and I got one word answers (ie...good, nothing etc). You mean to tell me you were at school all day and that is all I get. My son doesn't enjoy school as much as my girls so when I could drag info from him it was often negative. So, I started doing Three Good Things. When they get in the car, they have to tell me three good things about their day. Recess and lunch can't be answers. It can be something specific that happened at recess or lunch, though. This has really gotten the conversations about their day going and it often leads to the "not so great or fun" stuff that happened, but we start out on a positive note and the communication has really opened up.

Also, I like to send the principal and teachers emails when I notice something good happening around the school...something was organized really well, a teacher or staff member went the extra mile, kids were really well behaved at a program, etc. This allows for a regular dialogue and should the occasion occur where I have to communicate something that isn't good, it is better accepted.

Amanda said...

My first went to Kindergarten last year...with your sis-in-law! The best thing I did was use a permanant marker to draw a heart on her palm. She was a little nervous so I told her if she started missing me while she was at school to look at her heart and remember that Jesus loves her and would be with her the whole time, and that Mommy and Daddy love her and couldn't wait to pick her up to hear all about it! We used the heart for the first several days of school actually! And, although Lindsay will tell you I didn't follow my own advice very well...try not to cry in front of him. If you think you can't hold it together, wear sunglasses so you can slip them on in the classroom if you have to! :) Good luck! He will do great!

Christi Brown said...

I am a blog stalker! I love reading but wanted to give you a little tip!

Sometimes school all day, everyday, can be hard for a little boy. My son struggled and a couple of friends (with boys) and I would pick a new scripture every week to pray over our boys before school. It was one of the best things I ever did.

Subsequently we homeschool now but I still pray scripture over him.

Jackson will do great!

ThirtysomethingMom said...

I've enjoyed reading the responses to your post!!!I am a teacher...this is my 17th year. I just have one child. I love what 3girlsmom and Dana said.

Jackson will let you know after the first day what he wants you to do. Try real hard to honor his wishes. My daughter loved getting out of the car and walking in by herself on the second day. Also, I agree with everyone about participating as much as you can with the class parties or events. Enjoy that because as they get older they really don't want you to particpiate as much.

I didn't cry when I left my daughter on her first day of Kindergarten because she was ready to be there. I had so much confidence in her teacher, too. But, I did cry the first day of middle school(last year). She looked so scared and unsure. I would have given anything to have walked her to class that day!

Phil 4:13 gets me through every first day of anything!!!!

Best wishes and God bless your school year!

Deanna said...

When I was preparing to send my oldest to kindergarten, one of my dear friends told me that she truly learned what it means to "pray without ceasing" when she started sending her kiddos to school. I would have to agree with that! :)

Lisa said...

Just ride the wave. If you stop to think about it too long, the emotions can overwhelm you. Also, let yourself cry as you pull away from the curb. That's when the dam broke for me with my two oldest, and I'm banking on that happening with my youngest in about four years. And most importantly, stop for a regular sized Rolo McFlurry after you drop him off. Snack sized just won't do in a situation like this!

Laura said...

Amanda, after our kids are all ready, we read a psalm. There are 180 days of school here in NC, so we read the psalm then the last 30 days we read a proverb. Then pray for a blessed day. This has made a huge difference in our mornings.

Katie said...

Don't go to the local grocery store right after you drop him off on the first day. All the moms will be crying, which might make it worse for you! Plan something fun to do instead. ;)

teri-free2bme said...

...lots of GREAT advice on these posts!!!

Mine is about after school homework... Make it your habit to get it done first thing after school... let Jackson enjoy a healthy finger food snack as he does the work. My experience is the children are tired after school, but only get more drained by the end of the evening (if you put it off 'til then). Knock the homework out of the way a.s.a.p to develop good study habits as he gets older. :-)

Take lots of pictures, too- they grow up so fast!

Stephanie Arnett said...

Don't give teachers coffee mugs unless you are putting a starbucks gift card in! ;) Be prepared that he may get in trouble for stuff you don't think is a big deal, just emphasize being respectful to your teacher.
You will have to explain things about other people's lives that yOu arent ready to explain, just emphasize love.
Get ready to laugh your head off and cry your eyes out on many occasions. Kinder flew by for us with Abby last year, but it was great!!

WendyB said...

As both a mom and a former teacher, I can tell you that you are beginning one of the most fun adventures of your life!
Here are my little advice nuggets:
Offer to help in whatever ways your schedule allows. An extra pair of hands and eyes for class events, a special guest visitor to read at story time, all are fun and helpful.
I so appreciated having parents drop off a few boxes of kleenex, hand sanitizer, gallon size ziploc bags, etc. Don't assume the teacher has a budget for these - my daughter is teaching second grade straight out of college this year at a private Christian school, and she even has to buy all her own construction paper. It's a hardship, and most teachers spend their own money without complaining.
Leave Jackson with a confident and cheerful smile on your face. He will pick up any of your anxiety or emotion and wonder whether everything really will be all right.
When he comes home from school, ask him questions about his day that can't be answered with "yes" or "no." Try, "What was your favorite thing about your day?" and "What was the funniest thing anyone said?" and "How did you show kindness to someone today?"
Check his backpack every day. Notes and other random stuff show up regularly - you don't want him to be without whatever supplies he might need. If you can afford it, sometimes send an extra item that's requested - invariably someone will forget or be unable to send and a child can miss a project.
Remind him to cover his sneezes and coughs.
I love the idea of sending him out the door with a verbal blessing. I still do this with my 22-year-old, only at night when she is asleep or almost asleep. We live on 2 different continents, so I treasure those nights when we're together at home and I can creep into her room and put my hand on her head. I do believe a parent's blessing means a lot to a child - even when he/she wiggles away and rolls her eyes - and mine still does! :)
Enjoy your girl time with Annabeth while he's at school.

Honeycutt Family said...

My oldest is starting Kindergarten on Monday, so I'm being nosy and reading the comments myself to hopefully glean some advice! :)

Lindsey said...

Congrats!! You've made it this far. I'm a teacher and excited for you!! Enjoy everything.
Pray for Jackson and PRAY FOR THE TEACHERS!!! Be involved! Take lots of pictures!!!

Kristen said...

A mom friend gave me this advice a couple days ago. She said not to focus on the stickers E receives that day or the color of card she receives (green for good day, yellow for not-so-great day, red for...that's the system at E's school). It definitely needs to be addressed but doesn't need to be the first thing we talk about or the first thing I look at when she gets in the car. Being a rule-follower, I really took that to heart.

Martha said...

Introduce yourself to the other Moms! Everyone is nervous at the beginning, but other Moms are such a a great resource for information and help the day you run late and can't make it to pickup!

Rachel said...

Hey Amanda...

*Dwell on the positives of Jackson heading to school.

*Start practicing his school bed time/wake up routine now.

*Be prepared for a very tired child who may or may not verbalize much the first couple months (this is a generalization and may not apply to Jackson.)

*While it is great to be involved in school/classroom activities, don't feel guilty when you see other moms that you feel do so much more than you at school--they may have multiple children in the school and may not have preschoolers at home.

3 little boys and I still have my hair said...

Such an exciting time! My boys really enjoy school (2nd and Pre-K). The first day I walk them in, get them situated, kiss them bye and then leave.

I enjoy picking them up that first day, hearing about all the new things. Be excited, be encouraging and let him tell you whether he wants to be walked in, etc. after the 1st day.

We follow the old, "If you get in trouble at school, you get in trouble at home." But also, don't be afraid to speak up, ask questions, etc. to get to the bottom of a situation. You are his advocate.

Be prepared to be amazed at all that he will learn this year! It is so remarkable what they pick up in such a short time. Enjoy!

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

The first day of teaching second grade, one of the moms said "How do you like your Starbucks?" and then every once in a while, about once a month, her little girl would walk in and hand me a Starbucks.

So if you are going for Favorite Mom in the Class status, that one works.

Becky said...

Good advice. I need it. Will started this past week and I'm still adjusting myself. I tried not to cry in front of him because I didn't want him to worry that something was wrong with him going. But, I cried the night before and once I got in the car after leaving him. Jared and I each picked out a verse for him and gave it to him on a card for him to take in his pocket. And if you can read the book "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn, super sweet, I think it helped me more than him. I hope Jackson has a fabulous first day!

Karen L. said...

Moms In Touch. and lots of kleenex

His Jules said...

Amanda, all of the advice you have been given is wonderful. I dont think I can add a thing, but I want to share with you something I did with my three when they were school age. Every morning as we rode to school, we would pray over each childs day and for the grandparents, other prayer needs etc. I always prayed a blessing over each child at the end for their own special needs/affirmations. This is the single one thing my children say they remember most growing up, our morning car prayers... even after they started driving we prayed before they left each day.

Good Luck and I will be covering you all in prayer through this special time.

Meghan said...

i have found that asking questions gets very limited answers. I get all the good stuff when my daughter and I have quiet time, usually after dinner, or during homework time when she is trying to stall. I never bring it up past the "how was school" right off the bus. Another suggestion, when your daughter starts school let her pick out her clothes for the week on sunday. It cuts down on morning drama.

Siesta OC said...

Oh I am so excited, I still remember loving Kindergarten. My favorite time was going to get the milk for the class (two people were assigned and I got to be one of them one month.)
I don't have kids, but I would imagine, talk about it. Talk about the school, his friends, what they did.
Oh, and b/c this was learned by people that do have kids and passed on to me. If he has a friend issue (like attitude - not problematic) don't let it become your issue (as in attitude) b/c as said parent said, 'they were friends the next day and I was still mad.'

Kellye said...

As a parent, I know what a big step this is. As a Kindergarten teacher, I want to tell you that most of us that are Kindergarten teachers feel called to this very special job. We think Kindergartners are some of the most wonderful people in the world. It is my honor to get to be a part of their development. Your baby is in good and loving hands! Also, I am so touched by the number of people who mentioned that they pray for their teacher. Thank you! It brought tears to my eyes.

Kristi said...

I'm a homeschooling mom, but our basic feelings are the same on this. I still can't believe that I have one graduating this year...and I'm his teacher! lol (I've got a 7th, 5th and 2nd grader, too) Here's my advice:

1. Get a schedule and KEEP IT! If that's homework 1st thing, then do that every day that it's possible. If that's doing homework within 1 hour of coming home...then do that every day that's possible! (you get the point) Schedules have really been a big day saver, not to mention sometimes a mental saver for me and mine. This will be even more true when AB starts school. If you develop the pattern and expectations of your schedule now, you will not regret it later! Like my Grandma used to say: Begin as you mean to go on!

2. Participate in every way that you possibly can. It'll matter, even if you don't see it right away.

3. Remind yourself that your precious gifts are NOT in educational Olympics. They do go to school to learn, but they are not in a competition. Expect them to do their best...not someone else's. This sounds simple, but I know how easy it is to fall into comparing and competing. Take a breath when you find yourself feeling that, then just turn it over to the Lord and STOP.

4. Enjoy every single moment of this. Based on your previous posts, you already know how quickly this goes. Even if you have to make notes to remind yourself of that, do it. Having a senior has made me really take a deep breath and cherish every moment. How awesome it would be if we, as parents, could, and would, do that at every opportunity.

Congratulations, Jackson! What a blessing you are going to be to your teachers and new friends at school! Have fun!

kay said...

On the first day of school each year I had my kids hold a sheet of paper that said like 'Jackson's First Day of First Grade' etc. We did this for all sorts of other first too. They love too look back at these and laugh at their ourfits but it helps having the signs because they remember exactly what day it was.

I also reminded them that someone was looking for a friend just like them every year and they were the answer to someone's else prayer.

God doesn't make mistakes. He will have a great class and teacher for Jackson all ready for him.

The more active you are at school volunteering in PTA and in the classroom the more Jackson will see that see that you value education.

My son is 28 and he is still friends with people he met in kindergarten as is my daughter at 33.

in a world surrounded by men said...

I didn't read the entire list of comments, but I was a homeschooling mom until a year ago when I sent all my kids to public school. You didn't mention if Jackson is going to public or private - but the book "Going Public" by David and Kelli Pritchard was an awesome read and applies to both. They are Young Life staffers and have eight children - all who went to public school. Great tips to navigate child rearing and school.

R said...

thank you for this! i enjoyed reading these...and they're timely for me...our firstborn starts kindy monday, too! :0)

Carrie Beth said...

Amanda -
I have a 3rd grader and 1st grader (& 3 year old & a baby due in a few weeks). Here are a few things I have learned -
Be Involved - that is how I have gotten to know the teachers, parents and students. Go to field trips, offer to come in for special crafts/activities or volunteer in other areas of the school.
Find out Favorites - ask your teacher what her favorite drink, snack, treat is and occasionally surprise her with something. For example, I will sometimes show up with a sweet tea from McD's in the pick up line or put together a basket of "office supplies" for the teacher. I also ask if there are things they need/want for the classroom.
PRAY without ceasing!
I read a book a few years ago, The Mentoring Mom, and she talked about how valuable the time is when you pick up your kids. I don't answer my cell phone, I turn off the radio and I tune into them. Once we get home, they get distracted and I don't get any answers. In the car, I hear all about recess, lunch, things they learned, etc.
We follow the "get in trouble at home if you get in trouble at school" rule also. If something started to be a problem for us, (not wanting to do homework, talking too much in class, not getting up cooperatively in the am etc.) I would start a sticker chart at home and for every day they did what they were supposed to do, they earned a sticker. We'd determine how many stickers = reward. It was amazing how well this worked vs. punishment.
We also do homework as soon as we get home from school. It really helps to get it done. If we wait, it is always a "chore" to get them to do it. This helps us have the rest of the night for fun.
Dinnertime is PRECIOUS to us and a great way for us to find out more from them about friends, teachers, etc. I think the Hi/Low of the day is a great talking point.
I don't know if AB still takes a nap, but I held my younger kids off to take a nap after we got home from picking up the older one. That allowed me to have 1 on 1 time with him. It was priceless.

Enjoy and take pictures! He will love it.

Jackson said...

Amanda - the great thing about kinder is that the teachers always like volunteers. On the second week of school, I would send a note to the teacher and arrange a standing "volunteer date". Even a couple of hours a week can help! ANd Jackson will feel special that you are there, and the teacher will be blessed by you. Remember that GOd is with him, and that Jackson is a light unto his little world. He will impact his world and you will be astounded.

PS - One time I went in and there was nothing for me to do, so I said "How about a sonic?" The teachers LOVED it!

Jackson said...

THis is Gulley - I am not sure why it says Jackson. I am so low tech it is pitiful.

Lindsee said...

I have ZERO advice (obviously), as I have ZERO experience as a mama, but just wanted to say I'm praying for you. And for all the new kiddos starting kindergarten on Monday and their parents! I'm excited for them. I will say, and obviously Missy would agree, student teaching in kinder was my FAVE.

Get ready to sing the days of the week song. : )

The Thrill of Hope said...

We just sent our first born off to kindergarten last week. So I totally understand where you are right now.

The day before he started I had my closest friends and their kids come over for a play date- which is what we have done at least once a week for the past 5 years! And things were going to change. It was a bittersweet time of my friends brought a picture of her and I pregnant with our now kindergartners and the tears started flowing! But we ended our time laying our hands on our kids and praying over them. Praying for them to RADIATE JESUS as they walk through the halls, make new friends and interact with teachers. Prayed for protection for their sweet innocent little hearts and that we let them fly, a little :)

Also, a wise woman told me not to let him see me cry. Which was hard for me to do :) But I felt like having that smile on my face made it easier for me not to cry. After we dropped him off at his room and said our goodbyes I grabbed another mom/friend and we balled!

And finally, once you see him get off that bus, run into your arms with the biggest hug and tell you how much fun he had- you will be ready to send him back for another day. God has given me so much peace knowing that my son is having a blast and learning so much at school.

I blogged about "the night before" here...

I will be praying for you Mama.


Anonymous said...

Forgive me if I'm repeating anything, but what helped my youngest son & I the most last year when he started kindy was a book called, "The Kissing Hand". Basically you put a heart sticker on his hand to remind him throughout the day of your love for him. I did a little red sharpie heart that I'd kiss every morning & it really helped him :) I also snuck a family picture in his backpack that he could take out & look at during recess. That along with LOTS OF PRAYER got us all through the big adjustment!

Laura SQ said...

I have no advice (so helpful, huh?) but I just had to say what a great picture that is! What a handsome boy!

Dionna said...

Make it a special morning for Jackson. Take his picture, hug him lots, give him a special breakfast (something fattening and sugary like donuts or waffles :)) - and be attentive to his emotions. If he wants you to stay a few minutes and you can...stay. If he wants you to go...go! (And that's the hardest part!)

Then, be attentive to your own emotions. Cry in the car if you want to cry. Let yourself feel what you are feeling - then move on. It's a rite of passage even though bittersweet. And God has given you the health to see him go off to school and to start turning into a young man. Enjoy each phase for they are all blessings.

Anonymous said...

Not that the Mama Bear in you won't but be ready and willing to fight for what is right for YOUR child. Being Christians sometimes we have to intervene in things being taught, books we do not believe our children should be reading etc.. It doesn't always make us the most popular parents but we aren't there to win popularity we are there to be representatives for our children's morals. Please understand we are always polite but firm. We are not trying to tell them what to do we are just asking that alternatives are available to us who disagree. Unfortunately it happens more than we like but these are OUR children and WE are responsible for them to God. So when we have to go to bat for them we do. Our children always know we have their backs and let us know when topics make them uncomfortable. It has made our relationship much closer especially as we entered high school and hit some very rough topics in the classrooms.

My other suggestion would be to find (or start) a Moms in Touch prayer group. I cannot tell you how important this group of ladies is to me. We pray not only over our children but issues in the school district. We had a rather big problem in our district this last year that I firmly believe our prayer over brought a positive outcome to. We also do a small outreach to the teachers/administration each year and let them know we appreciate them. Many have sought us out to have us specifically pray for them. One teacher said "I can't tell you what it means to me to know every Wednesday you ladies are praying for me. Some days are just so hard but you help me get through." Wow now that's God!

As if this wasn't long enough the last thing I will add is enjoy every beautiful moment! Be a room mom, go on the field trips, take every chance to be there that you can. Not only do you get great memories but you will get to know the other children and this helps out will know the little stinkers from the little angels when Jackson says Mommy can Johnny come over to play?! ;-)

2222 said...

I've been reading your blog for a couple of years. This is my first time commenting. I wish I had some advice. My oldest is heading to kindergarten in 2 weeks, so I'll be walking thru this process as well. From what I've read we are not supposed to cry in front of the boys. Got it...okay...I'll try. Enjoy your one on one w/ your baby girl and thank the Lord he's only going to kindergarten and not college. :)

Lisa said...

I will so be praying for y'all! This year, I had the first day of middle school for my daughter and the first day of first grade for my son in a new school. Sweet mercy! Give yourself permission to cry after you've dropped him off. My son's sweet teacher has this posted on her wall: "Praise, praise, praise. Don't push!" and I think that's great advice. Most important, find your schools' Moms In Touch group ( I ended up starting the group for our school and it has been God's greatest blessing as I pray weekly with other moms. :)

Renee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renee said...


Knowing your heart through reading your blog, I am sure you will be a great "school mom." Most of what you learn will be through personal experience. However, here are my tips, both from a parent and a teacher perspective (I teach 6th grade).

1. As a parent, it is tough to hear when your child comes home with hurt feelings. Everything within you will want to rise up and defend your precious one. The problem is, this doesn't teach kids how to problem-solve, and all the other kids either end up in the "good kid" or "bad kid" category. Most kids, as you know, can be both on any given day. I work hard as a parent to try to help explain why someone acted like they did. "Did you know her dad has been out of work and the mom had to take a second job? She's probably feeling a little neglected and a little scared right now" Or "You know, he's not very good at sports and I think he feels bad about that when he is with the other guys, so he probably brags because he wants to feel like he is good at something, too." It's still important to empathize with your child and let them know you understand their hurt; just make sure to give them the full picture so they know the world does not revolve around them, and most of the time, kids who hurt others are hurting themselves.

2. From a teacher perspective, don't believe everything you child says about us, because we don't believe everything they say about you! Kids don't always represent grown-ups accurately. We teachers learn to filter their comments and stack it up against what we know from working with you. The past two years have been very stressful for me personally (both daughters with medical dramas, dad had a heart attack, husband lost his job, found out I need surgery, etc.). I did my very best to pull it together each day and be fair and fun, but some days I was exhausted and hurting and I'm sure it showed through. Notes and thank yous and parents who see us as human beings make a world of difference!!

3. Above all, school works best when it is the teacher and the parent working together for the sake of the child, not the parent and the child working against the teacher. Most teachers honestly love their students and truly desire good for them. Enough said!

Blessings to all!

Missy said...

So many things I could share, but as I told you earlier...I tell my parents every year that I will only believe half of what they tell me about home if you only believe half of what they say about school. :) And, instead of asking "how was your day, or what did you do today?" ask specifics..."what book did your teacher read today?" "What did you write about?" "What did you play on on the playground?" They do so much throughout the day it is hard for them to process and break down their whole day on their own, so a generic question usually results in "nothing" or "I don't know." :) Oh, and ...the first week is exhausting. So be prepared for meltdowns and early bedtimes.

Jeannie said...

Each new school year,I take a picture on the morning of the first day with my son holding up a paper that says "first day of _______ grade." I have done it every year and it makes for a great scrapbook page. He is starting his junior year of high school and we still do this. I love it and he goes along with it!

k and c's mom said...

I am writing as a classroom teacher of 22 years who is now an elementary principal:
Get a class list and pray for the students/parents in his class.
Always support the teacher in front of him/have private side conversations with the teacher to find out what happened.
Send the teacher notes of encouragement and find out what her favorite Starbucks coffee drink is. Drop it by often in the morning! Let her know you are praying for her.
Find out ways you can help in the room to see how your son interacts and acts in that environment.
Read information sent home carefully and make sure things are done/sent on time so your boy is not missing out on anything.
Take him lunch and sit among his peers. It is amazing what you will hear and learn from his classmates.
Totally drink these days in and don't wish one of them away: they will pass far too quickly by themselves.
Take lots of pictures. He is going to have the time of his life!

Connie said...

Enjoy this time with him.

Participate in whatever activities you can, he will LOVE having you there and will be so proud of you.

Kindergarten is so much fun and a great time of learning new and interesting things. Learn along with him!

Angel Haynes said...

Every school day all the way through 12th grade no matter what you have going on in your heart and mind, when you see J or AB, make a conscious effort to make your face rise, eyebrows and everything. Smile as big as you can and tell them how happy you are to see them. My kids can be walking to the car after a long hard day, and usually, when they see my lifted smiling face, they relax a little and start smiling at me. I want them to know that no matter what they've been through, I'm cheering them on and SO happy to see them! My kids are 9th, 6th, 4th, and 4th grade.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

Keep communication flowing back and forth with the teacher. Oh! Check his backpack. There may be things that never come out of it.

The Skaggs said...

Don't have any advice - I'm not there yet. BUT, I've been reading your blog for awhile. Praying for you and your little man. Hope the day goes great!!

Melissa F. said...

Hey Amanda:
if today is the day...all the best to you!

Fran said...

Thinking about your sweet boy today! Can you even believe its already here? What a handsome little fella he is! My advice?? Just love every moment of every little thing along this journey. Have fun!!! Be filled with lots of patience and tremendous joy and gratitude for the milestones ahead. It goes all too quickly.

And of course prayer.

So much love in TN,

cinthia said...

Get ready for moms with girls to say things like, "Chelsea finished that project last Saturday." And for your repsonse to be, "What project?"

cinthia said...

Oh, forgot a tip. When reading starts, keep a stack of index cards and put Scripture verses on them. Put them in the lunchbox, one per week. If they memorize the verse by the end of the week, they get ice cream! I have all those lunch-smudged Scripture cards in an apple recipe box from Cracker Barrel on my kitchen counter and mine have been done with school for years.

cinthia said...

Final one: Prayer box. My kids decided their bed-time prayers needed to include every kid in their class, the teacher, the cafeteria lady and so forth. It was a good stall tatic. I got a box (my grandmother's old organ donation box from her church) and started a prayer box. We put every person's name we thought of in the box and each night we pulled one person out. That was our special person to pray for each night, the person God gave us. We kept a journal of who we pulled for 12 years of school--middle school saw the end of that tradition. Amazingly, each of us generally pulled people from the same family-do, and that with over 500 names in it eventually.