School. Some kids love it. Some kids hate it. I have three kids, and therefore the law of averages says there will always be someone who does not care for it. Olivia is the one. She goes because Harlan and I tell her she has to. School is her job, whereas school to me was always an escape. I got to learn, sing and play with my friends. School was freedom to me.
We keep a countdown on the calendar that marks the days until school starts again. This year Olivia, Benjamin and Rebecca are beginning a new chapter… third grade! They will have lockers, new teachers and classrooms upstairs. One minute, the trio is excited about school starting, and the next they talk about how nervous they each are. I know that summer vacation is important for kids and anyone who works at our schools. I also know that routine and structure are important too.
Third grade! How did this happen? Just yesterday, Olivia was holding onto the table leg and thinking about taking her first steps. Wasn’t it just last week that Benjamin marveling at what the wind could do to the leaves on the lawn? Rebecca was exclaiming at how cool her puzzle is because it was about Rosh Hashanah … was that last month? No, all of that seems to have happened a lifetime ago.
Third grade brings so many new challenges for our family. There will be another day of Hebrew School each week, choosing an instrument or choir at school, more homework and probably a better social life than I had in high school. So many changes coming our way! I get dizzy thinking about all that the next 10 months is going to bring our way. Changes and challenges multiplied by three.
The first few weeks are going to be the most challenging. There will be Olivia and Benjamin in one classroom again this year. Rebecca is in a different classroom. We will have to learn two different third grade classroom rhythms. We will all find a way to make this coming school year a success.
The Montessori Method is part of what makes the triplets’ school such an inviting place. There is recess every day unless it is too cold, raining or too hot. Physical education is three times a week. The kids learn yoga! I love how inclusive their school is and how each child feels important. I also love how the school finds the best way for each student to learn. And it is only steps from our home.
This year, our family is starting the school year different than in the past. Harlan is home all the time now. The past nine months have been a learning experience for the five of us. Harlan has so much more time with the kids than he did before. He is now home for homework time. He can plan dinner. Having Harlan home has made a huge difference in the way our family works. Each member of the trio has adapted to this new family dynamic. Sometimes the house is louder than ever with Olivia and Rebecca performing a skit or dance for us. Benjamin is a riot doing his comedy skit when he makes his voice sound like a very old man talking about what life was like when he was a boy.
Just as we have in the past, we will walk the kids to school on the first day. I know that the kids will be shy at first with their teachers. I also know that having their friends there will make the transition easier. Knowing other older students helps ease the transition as well. Knowing other families will answer any questions we have about what to expect in third grade helps Harlan and me. We are a community. We create a village for each other. We are Montessori.
Jennifer Steuer is an Albany mom whose busy household includes her husband, Harlan, and 8-year-old triplets Olivia, Benjamin and Rebecca. Follow her on Twitter @Got_Triplets.