After almost three years of unschooling / homeschooling (after a really bad experience with kindergarten and 1st grade in a public school in a different district), we’ve decided that my oldest son needs to be back in public school. He seems to need more structure than I’m able to give. He is all registered and will be starting fourth grade. We know he is behind where he needs to be, however, the school has been very helpful in working with us.

Last Friday we had an evaluation to get an idea on where he is educationally. Not surprisingly, he FLEW through all the math portions and struggled with the reading. They said that he has a great foundation for reading through and it shouldn’t be TOO difficult to catch him up in that area. Before the school year begins they will be creating a program for him to get him caught up to where he needs to be.

He’s fine with all of this. Doesn’t appear to be nervous, is looking forward to the structure, and probably being around other kids his age too I bet!

I think he’s had time to mature which will hopefully make this school experience a positive one.

I have to admit, I am freaking going out of my mind with excitement at the prospect of school supplies. Not looking forward to buying a whole new set of school clothes as they have a strict dress code.

So any advice, not only how to make this easier on my son, but overall, how to be a really helpful and productive “school mom”?

posted on June 20th 2011 at 3:34PM CDT

Just introduce yourself and volunteer as much as possible. Field trips, class projects, dances, PTA, etc. The best thing you can do is get involved and teachers are always looking for more help!

posted on June 20th 2011 at 4:06PM CDT

Would I even be able to do any of that with the little one in tow?

posted on June 20th 2011 at 4:08PM CDT

The parents at Cassidy’s school do. Maybe not the field trips but the class help, PTA meetings, fundraisers, etc shouldn’t be an issue.

posted on June 20th 2011 at 4:10PM CDT

I’ll have to find out the next time we have a meeting at the school!

I already bookmarked their website lol.

posted on June 20th 2011 at 3:37PM CDT

I’m glad they have a dress code. Looking back, I think I worried more about what other people thought of my clothes than any other thing. What a waste of time and money!

If I can give you any advice, I guess it would be to try not to worry too much. You’re a great mom, he’s a great kid, and it’ll all work out. :)

posted on June 20th 2011 at 4:08PM CDT

It’s a yay and a nay. I do like that it’ll be easier and faster to get ready in the morning and the clear division between “school” clothes and “other” clothes. That, it will probably help get in that school mindset when wearing those specific clothes.

Not fond that ALL his other clothes will rarely get worn especially in the later Autumn and Winter months because it’ll be so dark out.

posted on June 20th 2011 at 3:39PM CDT

I’ve always been a “school mom” and the only thing I can tell you is just have patience with him as he adjusts. He is going to feel like an outsider at first, because he won’t know any of the other kids, and he may come home wanting to be taken out…just give it time and he will adjust. When I took my daughter out of private school in the 1st grade and put her in public school, the classroom was 3 times the size and she would have panic attacks every morning. After about a month, she got used to it and LOVED having more kids to hang out with!

posted on June 20th 2011 at 4:09PM CDT

Well he knows a couple of the kids from just the area and he did go to this particular school for 1-2 months (can’t remember) when we moved into this house.

He seems WAY more positive about it than me actually! He is super confident he will catch up, make friends, etc. I’m surprised by it!

posted on June 20th 2011 at 3:58PM CDT

What is the dress code like? I’ve gone to public school in this area my whole life and never had a strict dress code.

posted on June 20th 2011 at 4:06PM CDT

The school started doing this about a decade or so ago.


– MUST have sleeves (as in, short-sleeved or long-sleeved only)
– MUST fit properly. Can not be more than one size too big or too small
– ONLY can be in the following colors: white, khaki, navy, red, and powder blue
– NO stripes, patterns allowed.


– MUST be fitted at the waist, can not be more than one size too big or small
– NOT allowed to drag on the floor. MUST be proper length
– NO holes/rips/tears
– No sweat pants, jogging pants, knits, or saggy/baggy pants
– Shorts are permitted if they hit the knee.
– Following colors ONLY: navy and khaki. NO DENIM


– No hats, caps, hoods, etc, indoors
– No flip-flops
– No lights/music on shoes

That’s just a bit, too tired to type it all out heh.

posted on June 20th 2011 at 4:35PM CDT

i’m not a mom so i can’t really give a good comment or advice on this but just reading that dresscode made me want to curl up and die lol

i’ve always gone to public school and while we did have a dresscode it was very lax. no sleeveless shirts of course but we were allowed jeans, tshirts, patterns and stripes (that is such a weird thing to now allow!) we couldn’t have hats indoors or hoodies, but we were allowed flipflops and lightup shoes!

i honestly feel that constrictive dress codes crush a child’s individuality and creativity at a young age.. :(

posted on June 20th 2011 at 4:37PM CDT

grr.. typo *such a weird thing to NOT allow

posted on June 21st 2011 at 4:52PM CDT

I’ve never had much of a dress code… it was basically “don’t wear anything gang related”.

posted on June 20th 2011 at 8:05PM CDT

that’s interesting. i mean it’s been awhile since i was in elementary school, but my youngest brother never had that strict of a dress code. where is he going to school? feel free to text/facebook me if you dont want to share that info here.

i honestly hope your son enjoys school. my brother michael was very behind when he was in 1st grade- in a privet catholic school- and his teacher wanted to hold him back. my mom transferred him to to the public school and they did everything they could to help him get caught up. he even made friends easier.

posted on June 20th 2011 at 4:11PM CDT

The big push now in education is SRBI/RTI which basically means they’re going to look at data about how your son does (the tests he already took) and personalize his instruction based on that, giving him intervention as needed. Since you said he’s behind in reading, they *should be taking him out of the classroom to work with a small reading group, at least a couple of times each week. They should track his progress, and once he’s caught up he won’t need the intervention anymore. This is what my mom does in elementary school math, and kids tend to LOVE her groups. She also does enrichment as well, and if he’s ahead in math he end up doing that, too. Gone are the days where elementary kids are all expected to be at the same level, so don’t even worry about that. I’m not sure where you are (can’t remember!) but Connecticut is one of the leaders in this field (where my mom and I both teach, I’ve taught high school for 8 years). Anyway, depending on where you are, they may not be totally on the ball YET with SRBI, which stands for scientifically research-based intervention. But hopefully they are!

As for being a good “school” mom, I’ll speak from my experience working with high school kids- be involved! If the teacher has a website, visit it frequently, make sure you read the handouts, talk to your son about what’s going on and volunteer if you can!

This is coming from a HORRIBLE “daycare” mom because I never know what’s going on there… I’m struggling through the end of my own school year and had no idea that it was picture day at daycare 2 weeks ago. Seriously, who does pictures in June? For 1 year olds? Oh well, I’ll be more focused when he’s actually in school! Come on summer!

posted on June 21st 2011 at 7:02PM CDT

I wouldn’t even describe what they did as tests, they were basic worksheets. However, I do believe they were surprised how well he did with the math portion!

To my knowledge they will be taking him out of the classroom to get him caught up on reading and any other subjects he may be behind on. The evaluation only focused on literacy and math.

I bookmarked the main school’s website, once we are told which teacher(s) he will have, I’ll try to get any/all contact information from them lol.

posted on June 20th 2011 at 7:49PM CDT

Hi! I’m not a Mom (although I’m an aunt) — and just thought I’d mention that participating in a summer reading program at your local library can not only be a lot of fun, but get your son reading — this will help him get a jump on things once the school year starts. :)

posted on June 21st 2011 at 7:04PM CDT

Thank you! I loved those programs growing up.

He has a TON of books, his bookcase is overflowing! However, he finds reading “boring” which creates a never ending spiral of NEEDING to read but finding it so boring so he then avoids it, repeat daily.

I’m hoping that the school will find a way to make reading more fun for him because I’m at a loss.

Drives me crazy because I LOVE to read!

posted on June 20th 2011 at 11:04PM CDT

Be involved. Do as much as you can in his class, volunteer for class parties, etc. Speaking as a kid who had parents that did nothing in my class in elementary school- it will matter to him. He’ll like to see that you’re involved and making an effort. Plus those kids always think it’s cool when their mom comes in to help out. :P It’s kind of like parental show and tell.

I gotta say- I kind of like their dress code. Studies show that it creates a good learning environment when all the kids are dressed similarly. They’re not worrying about their clothes not being cool or being uncomfortable, because everyone is wearing the same things. :)

posted on June 21st 2011 at 7:18PM CDT

I’m really hoping to be on top of things this time around, before, working full time (and overtime), dealing with my family (living with my father, dealing with my mother and sister), plus everything else… I just couldn’t be there 100% for his educational needs.

THIS time around I am HERE 1000000%.

I’m hoping to do as much as I can with the little one (as in AT the school physically).

I’m excited that Danny is excited about me making his lunches, “Just like Dad’s!”.

posted on June 20th 2011 at 11:51PM CDT

I’d look at what opportunities his school has for volunteers, ask them where the little man’s company is acceptable and then talk with Danny about those options. I used to volunteer with my younger siblings’ school and they liked it. I helped in the library and at lunch, and really enjoyed all of the kids. Some of the moms brought tots along on occasion. I also worked with classes that weren’t theirs because it was fun and rewarding.

The library might be good for the three of you. Ours was relaxed and rarely needed quiet time. Also since that’s the area Danny has a harder time with it might help him out to see you there. A lot of kids who lack confidence in their reading get scared of looking for books “alone”. Other perks: you may get a card, discounts at book fair time and free books. We had a yearly drop off and library volunteers had first pick of the books being collected and then given away.

You may end up impacting other kids more than Danny. Just enjoy :) it’s fun.

posted on June 21st 2011 at 7:23PM CDT

Do you mean the school’s library or the local library? We go to the library a TON (well not this month yet because I owe a TON of fines because Dan lost a book). He also has an overflowing bookcase. The main issue is that he finds reading “boring”. I don’t know how to make the fundamentals more exciting for him because I tend to agree, LEARNING to read “The” “What” “And” isn’t hardcore awesome like reading about Pirates or something lol.

posted on June 21st 2011 at 8:15AM CDT

that’s awesome that your son is going back to school. :) good luck to him and i hope he has an awesome time! :)

we’re thinking of pulling our son OUT of school and doing the home schooling thing. his whole “potty issue” (although prolly not his fault) is just taking it’s toll on everyone and the school not only thinks we suck as parents, but they don’t “take care” of my kid when he needs to be.

seriously, NO KID LEFT BEHIND my ass…

posted on June 21st 2011 at 7:24PM CDT

How old is your son? What is going on?

posted on June 21st 2011 at 7:55PM CDT

he’s six. we don’t know why he does it, but he refuses to go #2 on the toilet and goes in his pants instead. they leave him in it all day unless he makes a big enough mess that they don’t wanna deal with, then they call us to come clean him. and they called child services on us for it.

it’s been… one fight after another with them. not only are they blaming me for screwing him up, but my family does too. it’s so awesome, lemme tell ya >.>