Tuesday 20 March 2012

School social

When I was a mum to babies and toddlers I had this idea that once they went to school I would have ALL this time on my hands. From 9am until 3pm they would be tucked up at school learning and I would be free to do something un-kid related. I never even contemplated after-hours school events.

I've since realised that was a complete dream. You see school and preschool these days has become a timetabled jumble of meetings, social events, days, etc, etc.

Back when I was a kid, my parents were asked to come to school just a handful of times a year - Easter Hat Parade, Education Week and Speech Day (possibly a Carols night thrown in there). There may have been a school fete once a year too. My mum did a couple of extra things like helping a struggling boy with reading and working in the canteen.

So far for Lil-lil in her first term of school the parents have been asked to attend:

  • a welcome morning tea, 
  • a welcome BBQ on a Friday night, 
  • a Sunday class picnic, 
  • an information night, 
  • a home reading workshop, 
  • a social drinks night at a local pub, 
  • Grandparents Day.

This is just term 1, people. There is a plethora of events filling the calendar for the rest of the year.

Tie that in with the events for term 1 at Goosey's preschool:

  • Welcome night
  • Committee meeting
  • Harmony Day afternoon tea
  • Working Bee
  • Yard Sale
  • Bandage Bear morning tea
  • Farewell afternoon tea for a leaving teacher.

That's more than one school event every week for the first term. This doesn't take into account that parents are asked to come to Lil-lil's class three times a week to help with reading and maths games, plus come to help with excursions. Or even being a member of the P&C or other committees. It certainly doesn't factor in the never-ending stream of birthday party invites. It's lucky that I have a fairly poor social life at present, cause how else would you fit all this in?

Now, I'm not complaining. I'm enjoying being a part of their schooling life, but man, it does seem to be a LOT. Here I was thinking with so many parents working these days that the pressure would be off, but it has definitely increased since I was school. The whole school community thing is so much more than 9-3 and that's surprised me.

I'm not a joiner. I'm not the person who puts their hand up to be on the committee. I don't even really enjoy making small talk with the mums while we wait for the kids to come out. In spite of my non-joining qualities I'm really trying to be enthusiastic about all this and get excited for the kids.

What happens at your school? Is this just the way it is nowadays?


  1. My girl's school has had an info night. And some workshops for parent helpers (which I am not ... not sure if that's 'me' really).

    I have been to the odd assembly (at my girl's insistence) and we do have a school disco coming up where I hope parents can dance. But that's it.

    Social drinks at a local pub? That sounds slightly OTT. I think expectations placed on parents in this regard are a bit much, some parents work FT and are so time poor - their family time is too precious for this kind of stuff.

    1. I agree that family time is precious and it often gets put last.

  2. WOW! It's all I can say. I have been hearing many similar stories from friends who's children have started school this year and in the last couple of years. It's all a bit overwhelming and it concerns me somewhat, but also excites me. I guess it's nice to be part of a community so welcoming and involving... even if it does mean putting our own lives on hold for say... 10 years! xo

  3. I definitely think people underestimate the role of parents in education - these days.
    I know many, many people who believe that they "just have to get them to school age" and their lives will simplify.
    It seems to me, the complete opposite happens.
    I know many women who yearn to go back to the simpler days of two or three little ones under their feet at home all day - setting their own agendas and pace.

    Schools are asking a LOT more of parents these days.
    The whole school-parent partnership is totally different.
    Kids' social lives are out of control and structured bloody everything has taken over.

    My Mum wouldn't have known where my classroom was or my teacher's name!!
    I take my hat off to parents trying to 'do it all'.

    I also see the other side too - as a teacher.
    I won't rant on here about parent expectations, government standards, overcrowded curriculum and the twenty thousand new roles a teacher is expected to fill.

    Aaagh - I think I'm getting myself worked up here!!
    Am I ancient - wishing for the good 'ol days???!!!

    1. I would love to hear your thoughts Shar! Always good to hear from the teacher's perspective.

  4. Wow! Thats a lot in one term! Im a primary school teacher at a private school and our school wasn't as social as that... So I think it's just individual schools and how they do things

  5. You guys are busy! I do class reading, the tuckshop and both the pre-school and school's marketing/PR and websites - so I add to my own burden, really. But the social functions are way more 'ad hoc' at our school / pre school. x

  6. WOW!!

    Your preschool is so active! Abi just started this year, and there has been only 1 event, which we skipped anyway.

    When my kids start primary school, I dream of going to the gym for a long work out, showering in peace, hitting the shops without a pram, catching up with friends for coffee, coming home to a clean house, prepared by my cleaner... This is NEVER going to happen, IS IT!

    You sound like a super mum to me! God I have no idea what's ahead of me, haha.

  7. I'm slowly coming to accept that things are just going to be busy until the kids leave home!! We have grandparents day tomorrow, and have had 4 other events at school so far where parents are expected to be involved. Preschool is not quite as busy, thank goodness.
    I am looking forward to school holidays to have a couple of weeks at home!

  8. Gah, catholic school here & there are masses almost every week which we get asked to go to. Add in mass going on a Sunday & I am seeing WAY too much of M & V's school!

    At least it is an excuse to look vaguely respectable some days...


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