(A third grade update)
Emily pulls her lunch sack from the depths of her backpack. As she walks across the kitchen, she unzips the sack and removes an unfrozen ice pack, which is promptly placed back into the freezer. She then packs a snack for the next day and sets the newly packed lunch sack on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. It's a weekday evening about a month or so after the start of the new school year and I'm pleasantly surprised to witness this act of responsibility.
Over the past few years, we've come to terms with reasonable expectations. I don't expect my eight year olds to be completely responsible for everything school related. On the other hand, coming from a household with two full time working parents, I don't think Rich and I should be held accountable for remembering everything either. We can't. I have to-do lists and reminders scattered around to jog my memory. Something is bound to slip through the cracks if this isn't a team effort.
So we're in this together. The kids and the adults. I guess you can call it a shared responsibility. Is it always perfect? No. But as long as we are putting forth our best effort, no one can ask for more.
The girls have never been what I would call late sleepers. Sure, sometimes on the weekends, there won't be stirring until 8:00 and I suppose this is to our advantage because during the week, they are up on their own. Most mornings, Emily and Allie dress before they even come downstairs. Yes, there is one (ahem) who may need to be reminded to get ready for school but overall I've seen a lot of growth and maturity this school year.
(Emily brushing her hair and reading on a school morning.)
I've also noticed a shift in responsibility at school this year. As third graders, the girls are considered "bigger kids" now and not turning in homework has more serious repercussions. I'm not sure if there is a set rule amongst all teachers and it definitely wasn't highlighted at curriculum night but according to the girls, repeatedly not turning in homework will result in a loss of recess time.
About a month after school started, we received notification for the first book project of the year. The first step involved selecting a "just right" mystery book and having a parent sign a slip to be turned into the teacher stating the book choice. Emily had a book read and the project basically finished before the due date for the slip. The due date for the completed project was three weeks later. All three finished their projects without me asking or reminding them to. They are all very independent and didn't want any help from me either.
I'd say the school year has been going well thus far. There have been zero social issues, which is a huge relief, especially after last year. Yes, there is some chaos, mainly regarding math homework and tests, but we're keeping it together for now.