Let's Talk About: Starting

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A little perspective.

Happy October from the crew at Kleos HQ.  We can’t believe September is over! There is always so much going on in September that we simply refer to it as ‘start up’.  And whether you’re a new Kleos team member or a new Kleos student or parent, the reality is that no matter how much we try to prepare you for your first start up, you will never truly understand what it will be like until you’re in it.  And a whole lotta you are in it right now.

The thing  about September is that it is loaded with back-to-school connotations and what that conjures up for each of us.  Some of us were the kind of kids who combed the flyers for back-to-school specials, made definitive lists of the mandatory new school supplies, packed our backpacks, planned our first day of school outfits the night before and were ready for that first fresh day with a spring in our steps.  Some of us were not quite so excited at the notion of back-to-school. Maybe we had a stomach ache the night before thinking about riding a new bus or what class we’d be in or how far away the bathroom would be or how we would survive another year of gym class (just me?). Maybe we were indifferent or oblivious to all the ‘what ifs’ the first day of school would bring.  Or maybe we were somewhere in the middle, a mix of excited nerves and anxious worries. Whatever the case, each of us had our own back-to-school type. 

And here’s the hard part for us parents and teachers, whatever type of ‘back-to-school’ you were, you can almost be guaranteed your kid does not fall into the exact same category as you.  So consider this, what type of ‘first dayer’ is your kiddo? And then, and this is definitely the harder part to get real with, what type of learner is your kid?  

Back in 2007 when our journey into home learning started, I just assumed that the way I liked to learn was the way the Big E liked to learn.  I’d always relished the industriousness of school. Sharp pencils, crisp blank worksheets, or ohhhh copy work into clean new lined notebooks (am I dating myself?), colouring maps and labelling provinces.  So gratifying! What could go wrong? I mean really, was there any other way? The short answers were lots and yes.  

When I say that we spent the better part of that first year sequestered to the kitchen table, me demanding ‘pick up your pencil’ on repeat, my voice escalating to an embarrassing pitch, often resulting in tears (usually mine), it’s no exaggeration.  Let me be perfectly blunt - I was a terrible home learning mum that first year.  And while this was a bitter pill to swallow in some ways, and while I could have thrown in the towel and said ‘this isn’t for us, this isn’t working’, I sensed deep down that this was still, first and foremost what E needed.   So I pressed on, looking for clues to what he needed and how he learned rather than continuing to teach him the way I wanted to learn. By not letting our first start up define our journey we made some amazing discoveries along the way.  

The long and short of ‘start up’ in September, whether it’s your first or your 5th, is just that - it is a starting point.  It’s not the end point, or the perfect point, or even the messy points we encounter in the middle of the process. In the beginning, we (and that’s a big picture WE) have to drop the idea of getting it ‘right’ and explore the new landscape.

If we accept that September (or your first term, or maybe even your whole first year) is a starting point and if we trust that this is a process that we are moving through together, with our kids at the centre of everything we do, then this whole journey of discovery (and that means what works and what does not), is worth it from start up to stand down.  

Most of all this start up, give yourself permission to get it wrong and get messy.  And when it does, know that you are not alone in the process. Kleos has a team of people ready to dive in and help you wade through whatever challenges come your way.  We promise, it will be worth it in the end.

Michelle Hussey