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Entering Kindergarten Sept 2016: Moms Chat

  1. Pancakes

    nectarine / 2152 posts

    @MamaG: My DD has been more of a night owl/late morning sleeper (like her parents, hah!). I'd say she falls asleep anywhere between 8-10 pm (she stays up reading in bed), and then we often have to wake her up in the morning. Today we dragged her out of bed at 7:50 because she's kind of a slow mover in the mornings and we have to leave for the bus around 8:35. On the weekends she'll often sleep till 8:30 or 9!

  2. Mrs. Yoyo

    blogger / pomelo / 5345 posts

    @MamaG: We try to get him in bed at 7:30 (sometimes it's closer to 8) and he's up at 6:30. So 11 hours on a good night. He might sleep in until 7 or a bit later on the weekend.

  3. Mamaof2

    GOLD / pineapple / 12757 posts

    7:30-6/6:30am

  4. 808love

    pomelo / 5448 posts

    She sleeps around 8:15pm and we wake her around 6:30am but I'm having a slightly hard time with that. I just started using an alarm so that would wake her. She would prefer to sleep until 7am. I would prefer she wakes about 6:15am.

    They are finally celebrating 100 days of school with LO next week. LO had fun making the crown but I didn't have the ruler so I had to eyeball measure it a bunch of times! I feel like I passed a parent test.

  5. looch

    wonderful persimmon / 25154 posts

    What's new everyone?

    I am trying to start thinking about summer camp/activities, but my work situation is kind of up in the air, so I am going to wait a month and see if anything is clearer in March.

    Normally, we've been doing 8 weeks at a nature center, but I am trying to come up with something new this year, since we've done this camp the last 3 summers.

    We also don't have anything planned for April recess, going away isn't on the radar right now but we need some kind of option, even if I end up taking 2 days, my husband takes 2 days and we use grandparent care for 1 day....not sure yet.

  6. Mamaof2

    GOLD / pineapple / 12757 posts

    I put a deposit down on the same summer camp DS went to last year - he loved it and both kids will go this year. I don't have to give them final dates until June 1st.

    Our break is only Thursday-Monday over Easter and we usually head to MD to see family and friends

  7. 808love

    pomelo / 5448 posts

    Big vacation (Canada/west coast) going down in spring and then just relax during summer as my summer breaks are very short. I hesitated in committing to a summer camp though we usually do that every year. I wanted to keep it open to maximize time with LO as she is growing up so quickly!

  8. tinyperson

    GOLD / pomegranate / 3762 posts

    I go back to work in May/June, but my workload and projects/deadlines are up in the air, so I'm a little worried about planning. It's hard to come up with vacation plans when you don't have deadlines to work around. Plus all the summer camps in walking distance are for 5 or 6+ and LO is 4. I don't drive and DH works within walking distance of our home, so would have to drive her somewhere, drive home and then walk LO2 to daycare and then go to work across the street. 😳 We have a friend who has a home daycare not too far, but still enough of a walk to make it tricky (and she doesn't take babies, so we'd still have two drop offs). My moms said if we need her, she can come and fill in, and we have a retired nurse friend who has said the same thing, so we can figure things out, but it's stressful!

  9. lamariniere

    eggplant / 11924 posts

    Right now my son is in week 2 of his winter break and we are away. We have another 2 week break around Easter and I'm not sure what we will do then, but we may go away for another week. Our summer is relatively short since school ends at the end of June. The plan is to enroll DS at his old daycare (where our younger LO goes) and we'll also be traveling for a few weeks. There are a couple of camp options, but they are quite expensive compared to what daycare will charge and I really don't have the time or the desire to shuttle my LOs around to 2 different places. At least with daycare they have a fun summer program, he'll be with his sister and he can be re-immersed in German.

  10. T.H.O.U.

    wonderful clementine / 24029 posts

    @lamariniere: Thats great he can go back to daycare for another summer! We dont have that option!

    Right now she's going to do 2-3 weeks summer camp at the school. But they do a lot of big field trips that I'm not totally comfortable with for a 5 yr old. Then for the bulk of the summer I'm hoping my sister (teacher on summer break) will keep her and we will give my sister some extra money.

  11. Mrs. Yoyo

    blogger / pomelo / 5345 posts

    My son will be doing a few weeks of day camp, and between our PT nanny and a couple of trips, the rest of the summer will be covered. I was torn on whether to send my 3-year-old to camp (youngest they will accept) but I think we'll hold off another year until he's got some preschool under his belt.

  12. looch

    wonderful persimmon / 25154 posts

    I think I decided that for my April break I will do a 3 hour tumble camp. It's something like $250 for 3 hours per day, 5 days. I think that will be enough that I can also take a day off and have him be busy so I can do an appointment or whatever I need to during that time.

    Summer is still up in the air.

  13. T.H.O.U.

    wonderful clementine / 24029 posts

    @looch: Wow! That seems expensive compared to around here for half day camps. A lot of parents here were complaining about $260 for an entire week full time 9-4

  14. looch

    wonderful persimmon / 25154 posts

    @T.H.O.U.: Well, that's cost of living differences for you. Percentage of income, it's probably not that different.

  15. lamariniere

    eggplant / 11924 posts

    @T.H.O.U.: yeah, the daycare is apparently accredited for kids up to age 10 (for after school care) but so far they haven't had any kids older than pre-school age. I think a few other families with two kids (one older in school this year and one younger still in daycare) plan on doing the same as us. So it will be nice for DS to see some of his old daycare friends too.

  16. Baby Boy Mom

    pomegranate / 3766 posts

    I'm also trying to figure out summer plans slowly. For spring break we have family coming in, so we're just going to hang out in the city. But summer is 10 weeks, which is a long time to be home with 3 kids. Last summer we did 3 weeks visiting family, 1 week camp, and the rest home combining bigger excursions with lots of neighborhood playground time, but I had a newborn so it was different. This year we need more of a plan, but it's at least $400/week for camp and that adds up quick.

  17. looch

    wonderful persimmon / 25154 posts

    So, I booked my son for two camps for April break, 2 days at the nature center and 2 days a tumble gym. Wouldn't you know that last night, the city camp program brochure came home and now, I am kicking myself because these options are cooler and CHEAPER! I guess I know for next year, lol.

  18. Mamaof2

    GOLD / pineapple / 12757 posts

    @looch: you cant cancel the other ones?

  19. looch

    wonderful persimmon / 25154 posts

    @Mamaof2: I can't cancel them, I can get a credit for use another time.

  20. Baby Boy Mom

    pomegranate / 3766 posts

    Lately I've had some conversations with the administration and the PTA president and we have basically zero parental involvement at our school. I'm going to try to help them set up some systems that will hopefully improve that...at this point really anything is an improvement.

    Are any of you class mom/on the PTA? Would you mind sharing what your responsibilities are or what you do at the school?

  21. T.H.O.U.

    wonderful clementine / 24029 posts

    @Baby Boy Mom: Our school has a ton of parent involvement. I'm currently a "room mom" but probably not doing a great job. Here is a rough list of our duties

    Elementary school loves our Homeroom Parent volunteers! Your

    teacher will greatly appreciate all of the hard work that you are willing to

    contribute to help make this school year successful. The following is a list of

    your duties. You may have some parents that are willing to help you with

    these tasks along the way.

    1. You will need to attend the beginning of the year Homeroom Parent

    workshop. It is scheduled on Tuesday, September 27 th . At this

    workshop, you will get a lot of the information needed to help the

    school year run smoothly.

    2. You will be responsible for coordinating the following for your class

    (some teachers may help with these):

    *make a class roster for all parents (name, phone numbers, emails,

    etc…)

    *recognize your teacher’s birthday

    *gather volunteers to work your assigned booth at the Bash Family

    Fun day

    *collect the class items for the Tisket-Tasket basket that will be

    auctioned off at the Bash Family Fun Day

    *coordinate with your parents to supply food for Faculty meeting or

    *Friday teacher lunches - PTO collects donations and you can buy your teacher lunch on fridays. They cater from various restaurants.

    *coordinate your teacher’s holiday gifts (Christmas or other celebratedholiday)

    *coordinate Teacher Appreciation week gifts and festivities

    *help with planning class parties if teacher requests help

    *help to get class “fun photos” for the yearbook page

    *attend as many PTO general meetings as possible and report backto your class parents

    *help with any other events that your teacher may need support for

    You do not have to be available to volunteer or help in the classroom. It is helpful to get to know the teacher, students and other parents but not necessary. Your job is mostly working with the class parents (via email, phone, text, etc…) to get contributions of food, time and moneyto make each of the above work successfully.

    With good communication and organization skills, you will make agreat homeroom parent!

  22. looch

    wonderful persimmon / 25154 posts

    @Baby Boy Mom: I am the room parent for my son's class and I also give tours of the school to prospective parents. Everyone is "on" the PTO, but only certain people chair events and are on the executive board.

    Some ideas of things that are low commitment but have a high response are things like coming in to be a mystery reader. It's 15 minutes, you come in, read to the class and then leave. The kids love it, I just did it on Friday and they were all hugging me when I left. Also, we did a Halloween parade, the parents came and helped get the kids dressed, then we walked outside on the school grounds and then they helped with a craft. It was a success, we actually had to tell parents we had enough volunteers.

    I think you also need to figure out what the goal is of the parent involvement, is it to do things with the kids during the day/at night or is it to fundraise?

    Then you kind of need to break it down into three groups so you can better manage expectations of what people are able to do: the parents that have money but no time, the parents that have time and no money and the parents that don't have time or money. You're going to see the same parents involved over and over again. that's been my experience as well as what I've learned in talking to friends of mine with kids in school.

  23. T.H.O.U.

    wonderful clementine / 24029 posts

    Also I think trying to figure out where to focus first. Do you build up school wide support through a PTO? Or just do smaller stuff classroom by classroom through homeroom parents.

    I know our PTO does a lot. They do fundraiser to do school events (one was a literacy art event), they raised money for school playground equipment. They lobbied with the district school board to match the funds they raised to get some astro turf on one of the playground fields that just wouldn't hold sod.

  24. MamaG

    GOLD / pomelo / 5153 posts

    @Baby Boy Mom: I'm a general PTA member and a classroom helper (not the classroom parent). As a general PTA member, I make my best efforts to attend the PTA meetings. Ours are generally combined with food and entertainment for the kids. I don't serve on the board or any committees. I do support their activities as best possible.

    As a classroom helper, I volunteer an hour a month in the school to help our teacher. I do computer lab help. Others come and read/tutor or do other activities. I also work with the classroom parent for our parties to help supervise, direct, and herd kids.

    It's often easier for me to give $$ as I work full time, but when I can get myself away and into the school I do. I think it's so important for the staff to see involved parents and for my kid to know that I'm vested in her.

  25. Baby Boy Mom

    pomegranate / 3766 posts

    First of all , thank you all for responding. Some follow-ups-

    @T.H.O.U.: Did you volunteer to be the homeroom parent? Or how was it assigned?

    @looch: I agree with you the PTA needs a goal. I was looking around at the websites of some "better" schools around us, and it seems the big difference is that they fundraise huge amounts which then fund special programming in the school. I know there is no chance of that happening, so tapping into whatever human resources we can get through parents is the next best thing. I feel like the school is run too much from the top down and things are done because they've always been done that way. The only way this can change is if there is some pressure from parents.

    @T.H.O.U.: Yes I was thinking that starting with setting up room parents is the way to go.

    @MamaG: I agree, the staff need to see more parents around. Our PTA is pretty much a 3 person show and there's only so much they can do themselves.

  26. Pancakes

    nectarine / 2152 posts

    @Baby Boy Mom: Sorry I'm late in responding here. Am I remembering correctly that you're at a Title 1 school? Forgive me if I'm wrong. We are at a Title 1 school, and when I look at how much the PTAs raise at schools with different demographics than our school, it can be discouraging. This is my first year as an elementary parent, so I don't have a LOT of experience, but these are some things I think they're doing well:
    -Our PTA membership is $5, and this year they set a goal for all of the teachers to join. All of the teachers that have joined have a little picture of the school mascot next to their door with their name and "PTA member." I think it's a great advertisement and encourages whole school involvement. They also set a goal for general members and put something up in the front lobby. Oh, and the first meeting is on back to school night, which makes it easier for people to attend and see what it's all about.
    --The PTA does 2 fundraisers per year (one fall one spring: a walk-a-thon and a carnival). One of the incentives for joining the PTA is a discount on carnival tickets.
    --The PTA does a lot to recognize and thank teachers and staff, so we've provided dinner on parent conference nights, muffins for teachers on the 100th day of school, etc. The hospitality chair just sends out a sign-up genius in advance.
    --PTA members can volunteer at the book fair, to help with a Thanksgiving food drive done for families in our school, to count Box Tops for Education, etc. Many of these are one-time short commitments.
    --Which reminds me: when you register to join the PTA, they have us check off which events we'd be interested in helping with. They asked if each parent would set a goal of volunteering for 3 hours during the school year. Obviously some do less and a few do way more, but, I think they do a great job of offering different opportunities for families to be involved, no matter what resources they may have.
    --The PTA president and the principal send out a monthly newsletter to the whole school, which lets everyone know what they have accomplished and what is coming next. It's a great way to keep people informed.
    --I think our PTA president basically lives at school. It's definitely a lot of work for her, even though we do have parent volunteers. I only have our school to compare it to, but if we have 150 PTA members, probably 20-25 are doing almost all of the volunteer hours.

    I think starting with some sort of fundraising activity and some sort of parent volunteering (book fair, mystery reader) is a great place to start. I know that our school definitely depends on the extra money we make from fundraising. It sounds like anything you do will be an improvement from what it is now!

    Oh and by the way, I have no idea if we have room parents, to be quite honest. I should probably find out...Also, sorry for writing a book!

  27. T.H.O.U.

    wonderful clementine / 24029 posts

    @Baby Boy Mom: our school very much Chase operates with pressure from the parents within. I volunteered to be home room parent. The pto put on an "orientation" night.

  28. looch

    wonderful persimmon / 25154 posts

    @Baby Boy Mom: yes, agreed, pressure from the parents could drive change. I think just getting parents into the classroom could drive that, without it even being monetary. That's where I would focus, at least for now.

  29. Baby Boy Mom

    pomegranate / 3766 posts

    @Pancakes: Not late at all. This is all very helpful!!! Yes we are also Title 1. It's an interesting experience because we have a lot of recent immigrants, so to a certain extent there is a language barrier but then I think of my son's class and we have parents from all over the district (it's not our zoned school), and so I know they are at least somewhat vested in it. I'm wondering what the funds you raise are spent on? If you know?

  30. Baby Boy Mom

    pomegranate / 3766 posts

    @T.H.O.U.: That's awesome. Can I ask how you volunteered? Did they send a notice asking for a parent? Before the school year started?
    Also, what did they tell you in the orientation? The list you copied above was pretty thorough I think!
    Sorry so many questions, I'm just trying to figure out logistics...no use reinventing the wheel when schools all over the country have functioning PTAs.

  31. T.H.O.U.

    wonderful clementine / 24029 posts

    @Baby Boy Mom: Sure!

    I think when we had the open house before school started, there was a list that we could check off asking if we were interested. The teacher then approached me asking if I wanted to volunteer because I had asked about it. I had already talked to another parent at the open house and she said she would help out too.

    The PTO Homeroom Orientation was really helpful. They provided us with a packet of information about what we were responsible for and ways we could help our teachers. It was nice that everyone was getting the same information at once. They also went over the bigger PTO events that they put on and needed our help with. Also smaller things like collecting box tops. One other nice thing was they went over Sign Up Genius so we knew how to use that to collect volunteers from the parents.

    One of the other REALLY big things that our PTO did that I Think could be a free first year activity, was to host a "New Family Orientation". While the school hosts Meet your Teacher open house, the teachers dont have time at those events to go over all the details of the general school with new families. The PTO met one night in the cafeteria to go over things like how to sign up for a lunch account, how to sign in as a visitor, how to volunteer, where things are located at in the school etc. I still felt like I had a lot of questions after that meeting as a new parent at the school. Next year I would like to help them put together a power point or something to help with the information from year to year (the presentation we attended was just verbal and kinda all over the place).

  32. Baby Boy Mom

    pomegranate / 3766 posts

    @T.H.O.U.: This is great. Thank you! Something like that would have been so helpful to me. From the day we registered in the spring, until the first day of school it was radio silence. We didn't even get a school supply list until that first week!

  33. MamaG

    GOLD / pomelo / 5153 posts

    @Baby Boy Mom: Our state has a PTA organization. It might be worth working with your president and then the statewide organization to get ideas on how to build up the structure and get more involvement. Not that we aren't good resources, but I would assume each state has an organization and there has to be people in your area willing to lend a hand.

  34. looch

    wonderful persimmon / 25154 posts

    @MamaG: That is excellent advice...our school is brand new, but there is a PTO Council for the city, so they are able to advise on a lot of topics, like what you can and can not ask parents to pay for and what you can do in terms of social media, as an example.

  35. looch

    wonderful persimmon / 25154 posts

    Bumping this back up, what's been going on?

    We had our second marking period meeting and I am so pleased with my son's reading progress, but I am not so happy with his math progress! They're up to doing word problems and I know my son can read the text, but he's getting the answers wrong because he doesn't understand what to do with the tools to solve it (ten frames and number line). So, I plan to go online and get some more of those single problem worksheets and print those out and work on them with him.

    I've also noticed that the really cold weather and lack of outdoor recess is making a negative impact on my son's behavior. I don't know quite how to address it with the administration, any ideas?

    How's everyone else doing?

  36. 808love

    pomelo / 5448 posts

    @looch: Good to hear updates! Maybe you could you let the teacher know you are concerned about physical exercise during winter months and perhaps ask what they are doing for PE with a related comment to suggest indoor exercise videos for PE or recess (hint!). In addition, can you take your son to indoor play gyms after school? What about a small trampoline for the house or kids exercise videos? We have to make a conscious effort to incorporate active play for LO because I guarantee she's not getting 'enough' just by being at school.

    Good to hear about the reading progress. Our school doesn't use 10 frames but I know what that is and I see them on her online math program. I wonder what she would do if given a 'real' one.

    LO has grown by leaps and bounds in her writing since school started. Still stalls and whines occasionally to start but once she gets going (with no escape route at home) she amazes me. I wonder if she is this difficult at school but part of me doesn't even want to know! Yesterday, she said she was thinking about changing her future career to be an author. (Aww...no rockstar/hair stylist/engineer?)

    She learned to play chess independently (but still doesn't know checkers) and is into making unpublished DIY youtube videos, and singing. No definite summer camps/plans on the horizon still. Maybe two weeks at Christian based summer camp while I'm still working then will get time off to have some QT.

  37. MamaG

    GOLD / pomelo / 5153 posts

    We are just back after Spring Break and amazingly my daughter seems to be turning a corner in behavior. Maybe all the talking I did during Spring Break sunk in. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    We are waiting to hear if we got accepted/picked to be in the Spanish Immersion program starting in first grade.

    Our girl also just finished up a performance/musical before the break. They did two school day performances and one evening. She (and her classmates) did great. It was so fun to watch them sing/dance/act. And I'm over the moon that our school still values the arts!

    @looch: what is the policy for outdoor recess?

    We are in the South, and they stay in if its under 40 or wet. But I know there was a day in January (I happened to be there for lunch) when it was wet, but warm. They took them out and just walked the sidewalks so they would get some fresh air and a little exercise. Thankfully our team of teachers recognize the need for fresh air and getting some wiggles out.

  38. T.H.O.U.

    wonderful clementine / 24029 posts

    @looch: Hi! Do they have a gym or anything where they can go? Her school is using an old portable for PE time some days. They also have a covered breezeway between two wings that they can do some things if its raining.

  39. T.H.O.U.

    wonderful clementine / 24029 posts

    Another question related to thread about writing numbers/letters backwards.

    She's still really struggling with lower case b and d. And her 9 and 6 sometimes 7 too. Her teacher started grading her worksheets and marking her math problems "wrong" when she writes the correct number backwards.

  40. MamaG

    GOLD / pomelo / 5153 posts

    @T.H.O.U.: Yup, we have the same issues. b, d, p, q and g are big offenders. We also struggle with 6, 9, 4, 7 and 3. so far we aren't seeing any grading notes from the teacher. She might circle the error at best. We do have her correct them when we see it. I also have her practice the error, by writing it correctly several times.

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