I’ve really not had my eye on the ball in 2019, too much going on and at times it’s been a real struggle to keep everything on an even keel. I seem to have blinked and all of a sudden we are at the end of Year Four! I’m typing this post and I’m really wondering how on earth we’ve got to 24th July already.
Back in September last year we were uncertain about how Year Four would go. My son had a male teacher for the first time, would need to walk into the school building by himself and he would need to find me in the playground at the end of the day.
Well having his best friend walking to school with us dealt with the walking into school by himself issue immediately. The boys happily walked in without a backwards glance. It’s even been the case that sometimes I’ve not even received a kiss or a goodbye. That’s made me happy and sad in equal measure. My little boy is slipping away, to be replaced with the independent child he will become.
The parents who I wait with at the end of the day always chuckle about my son. He is pretty much always the first to burst out of the doors from his class. He’s normally got an armful of stuff which is all thrust at me. Apparently, it’s easier to do that than actually put everything inside his bag before he walks out. He’s often smiling, but he’s always eager to get home. Woe betide me if I’m mid-conversation with someone when my son wants to go home!
I didn’t need to worry about my son having a male teacher for the first time in Year Four. He’s loved the experience and the interesting facts that his teacher comes up with. He’s been happy in class and his confidence is growing. Academically he’s still behind ‘target’, but he has an impossible mountain to climb so I stopped stressing about that a year ago. Homework in Year Four has been sporadic and we haven’t had any spellings or times tables to learn since Christmas. His teacher believes that having these lists doesn’t help the children actually learn them. With my son, I’m not so sure. He works best with a set structure and I am dreading these lists being reintroduced as I expect them to be, in Year Five. It’s no good me making lists up as my son knows they haven’t come home from school, so won’t do them.
We’ve seen my son helping a new boy who joined the mixed Year Four/Five class in September. The Year Five boy comes from Macedonia and it was lovely to hear that my son had taken him under his wing and was helping him. For a boy who doesn’t make friends easily, that was a big thing.
Another huge step forward came with my son’s first school residential in March this year. He was away from home for fours days/three nights and he loved the whole experience. There were no tears, just photos of him holding a chicken and an owl and he was full of it all when he got home. It was wonderful, and I was so proud of him.
There was another highlight, and one that I wished I’d been able to see for myself but I was working. The class went to the MAD Museum in Stratford upon Avon a month ago and my son showed his teacher the boy that I see every day. My son was in his element, making a wooden mechanical model and helping other children in his class with theirs. Totally my son’s sort of thing, the area where he really does excel, if only this was measured at school and he’d definitely have one ‘above expectations’ on his report.
Sports Day didn’t go without a hitch but at least there weren’t tears at school. This year the children ran in mixed year groups which really upset my son. I did write a letter to his teacher telling him how my son felt and giving him the history of sports day for my son, but I never got a reply. He did join in and he did run with children in the year above him. It wasn’t a surprise therefore that he didn’t end up on the podium this year, but he came home smiling so it could have been worse. Not wanting to wish my life away, but we’ve only got two more of these to endure! It did make me laugh that the highest marks on his school report were for PE, but not for team sports!
I joined my son on their last school trip of the year when they took part in the local schools’ film festival. It made me smile that even though he was surrounded by four different classes from his school, he still wanted to hold my hand as we all walked into town. I’ll treasure that moment because I’m sure the ‘it’s too embarrassing to be with you’ days are coming faster than I’d like.
The end of Year Four did have a little glitch which could have derailed Year Five before it had even started. Next year the school will have three Year One/Two, Three/Four and Five/Six classes and the children were asked to list three friends they’d like to be with and to circle their favourite. My son and his best friend circled each other, but I did tell him that that didn’t guarantee they’d be together, but at least he would be with one friend. He went into transition day full of hope and came home in tears. He wasn’t with any of the three friends on his list so I sent an email to school explaining how he felt. I had a prompt reply from the head telling me it must have been a mistake and she’d investigate in the morning. Thankfully I was able to tell both my son and his best friend before we walked to school in the morning that there had been an error and they would be in the same class in Year Five.
Today we’ve reached the end of our Year Four journey, there have been ups and downs but we’ve made it through the year. Now we look forward to Year Five, another male teacher and one that it is new to the school, and having a ten-year-old in the house!