To start off today, let me just say to you parents that wake up early and get your troops ready for the day, in order to get to school on time – I have a greater respect for what you do. I had my first stint of it today and I almost failed, and we didn’t even have to drive through traffic – we walked from a house on the school property! How you all get it right everyday, I can not even begin to imagine.
Anyway, enough about that – let’s get into some good old junior school memories shall we. As most of you can read – we home educate our children and so that means they have never been in the social environment of a school classroom. So, to give you some back story – my girls had been asking if they could just go and experience school for a day in Cape Town and I was not comfortable with any of the environments that could probably allow it. But also, I kind of knew it would just be allowed because I don’t know anyone there anyway. Plus, from what you’re about to read – there aren’t many schools like my Primary/High School that would “just allow” that.
So, on preparing to come to Zim – I contacted the Head Mistress at Midlands Christian School and just flat out asked, if my girls could be in the school as students for the last academic week of the second school term. (To my SA friends, Zim schools have three terms and not four. So school holidays start in the second week of August) I figured I had nothing to lose and if she said yes, YAY!!! My kids could have a little of my childhood imprinted on them.
So, obviously you can gather the answer was yes and so my kids were highly amp’d and rearing to tackle their individual social environments without each other and without me. My nerves were on end because all I was hoping is that they would be able to cope. What if I hadn’t done a good enough job educating them? What if…… what if? Blah blah blah – then I slap myself and remind myself why I’m homeschooling in the first place and all is well with the world.
Back to going to school.
So I bundled my two girls and made them wear matching track suits so that it could be a type of uniform and off we went.
Guys, I can not describe to you what it was like to step onto the corridors of my primary school years and have the following happen….
1. 95% of the children we walked past, greeted me with a “good morning ma’m”. It made me feel both old and yet so honored because now, I’m the mom walking through them. But also I really felt amazed because I have walked many a public school, or semi private school in Cape Town and not once have I been “deliberately” greeted by anyone younger than 12 years old. I went to a school that groomed us with respect and manners for adults from very young.
2. Because my kids were obviously different and I was walking with them – we were like rare species walking through their environment. The staring was hilarious.
3. The memories that came flooding back as I passed each classroom I sat in for various years, was overwhelming! Grade 1 with mrs Flanagan, Miss Comb. Grade 2 with Mrs Khola. Grade 3 with Mrs Edwards (Iraina went into that classroom), Grade 4 with Mrs Stratford, Grade 5 with Mrs Pswarai, Grade 6 with miss Worthington and finally Grade 7 with Mr Watt. Nostalgia101.
4. There are extra classrooms that were built specifically for Shona lessons and Remedial lessons. I remember going for those because I struggle with Comprehension.
5. Blackboard no longer exist, they have White boards and projectors now. Upgrade from our Green painted blackboards.
So, after boring you with the details of the start of the day – there’s just so much more that happened that it’s going to be a really long one. So hand in there.
I was extremely excited to hear that this same “first day” was also the schools ‘interhouse sports’ day. What an incredible treat.
So the girls got to start the day in class and then move over to the fields and be a part of a porting event.
I bundled Jude up and went over to watch them participate. And extra bonus was that the high school was also having theirs – so I took panoramic pics of the various events happening.
My girls got to try out hockey and netball. What was hilarious is that neither one of them knew how to play any of the sports and so it was interesting to see how they handled the opportunities to try them out. The teachers and students were amazing at accommodating them, but I must admit that I was terrible in that I asked Iraina to come off because they were losing badly. The poor girl wasn’t even holding her stick properly. I felt so bad after doing that because I found out later she had taken a while to decide to go on. #majormomfail
What I so enjoyed seeing was that the girls had clicked in really nicely and had made their own little set of friends and it wasn’t at all hard for them. Here are some of their moments. (The girl in the one photo standing next to my Aislyn, is only right old…… she looks me in the eye peeps. She’s one tall kid)
Before I move into what happened later, here are the panoramic views of the fields
First the hockey fields
Then the rugby and netball fields
So, as I was enjoying watching the kids do their thing (and try my hardest not to get involved in any way) the teachers casually mention that there’s going to be a teacher vs parent match in the netball and that I should represent. What?!? I was honestly not prepared for it at all and plus I had Jude along with me and he knew no one! Like, no one! So I wrestled between embracing the full “school” experience or being a chicken and sitting out. Those that know me – obviously know I chose to get into the game. So, off I went, changed into whatever sport gear I had and rushed back to represent the parent side of the netball match. Let’s be clear that I haven’t played netball since I was at least 10 or 11 years old. I had to ask my opponent what the rules were again.
Needless to say, we had a fat laugh because half of the time I was playing, Jude kept on running onto the field and the ladies weren’t holding back. So I had moments where I was defending with Jude on my hip and actually getting it right. Lots of people were laughing, but because I had nothing to lose and Jude thought it was the best thing to be on moms hip while she ran as round the smaller part of the pitch – we had a win win.
Side bar – parents won #woohoo! And I was one of the oldest #bicepcurl
Many of you might have read about “the talk” series I have jotted down with my kids. Well I had one of these moments pop up during the morning. Aislyn, my oldest, was super chuffed at around mid morning that, “four boys like me mom”……… I casually responded that that must be a nice feeling but she must remember it’s mainly because she’s the new girl. She shrugged me off and went back to her friends.
Inside I was like, “respond well Shaveh, this is going to pave the way for the future conversations with her about boys. Respond well. Calm down. Cool as a cucumber” (I was semi freaking out inside, that we were already here. But I reminded myself what I was like a t 10 years old……)
So the netball match is done and we wander off to watch the soccer match between teachers and parents (I wasn’t having any of that. There were boys on the field and I didn’t was Jude getting run over on that huge field. I was the chicken this time) so I’m standing on the side lines, and Aislyn comes running up to me again and says, “mom, guess how many boys like me now?…….14” I respond casually again and say, “that’s nice kid, but let’s not make too much of a big deal about it. Shall we?” She responds, “ok, moooooom”.
I carry on chatting to a friend from high school, Kim B. and Aislyn runs up with a little Spar Letta in her hand -“mom a boy gave this to me”……… “ok” A-,”can I drink it later?” “Ok?” She runs back to her crew.
Once again, get back into conversation and then she comes again with another drink and says that it’s also from a boy and that she’d like Iraina to have it. (Breathing really slowly and counting to 10 before responding. The teachable moment was not about to happen then and there.) she runs back.
Not even 5 minutes pass and she returns with a Crunchie Chocolate and says, “another one mom, but this one you can share with Dad tonight”
It was in this moment that I thought I should say something, so I tell her, “Aislyn, you do know that you’re going to need to tell your Dad about this right?” She confidently responds, “yup, I’ll tell him at supper time” and skips off.
I am between two trains of thought in this moment.
1. My kid is getting gifts from boys! And boys she doesn’t even really know! What is wrong with this picture? She’s too young…… oh wait-take a breath. I got my first chocolate from a boy when I was her age – sooooooooooo
2. My baby girl isn’t afraid to tell me about boys and what they’re giving her! Woohoo, open communication please stay that way. I love that she trusts me and that I’m not a scary mommy that she doesn’t want to share this with. #mommywin!
Well, needless to say that the rest of the day was filled with chit chat about new friends, no homework, how fun school was and can we move to Zimbabwe. (I wish) all the while we gently chatted around the boy experience and that it’s important to put relationship first before choosing someone just because they bought you something. Also, having to watch the attitudes between the girls because the one got more attention from boys than the other…….. dum dum dum. Oh the joys of parenting girls.
Honestly, I thought that I would chance taking a drive into town, but after being given the run down of what to do at a road block and to be aware of the traffic lights and cops and the fines and, and, and……….. let’s just say I stayed at the school until someone else drove me because I didn’t have US dollars to risk making a mistake.
Tomorrow the girls get to do school for real and I spend quality time with my little boy. I’ll also touch on some memories around the junior school. It’ll be interesting to know if some of you remember some of the little things that we did.