Monday, 11 July 2011

How (not) to prepare for Home Visits

I have had a bit of a history with home visits from the school. It's always a good idea when you sign up for it. How great for the teachers to meet the child in their own home. How special it is for the child to have their teacher actually come to their house!

Signing up for it the first time round, I had Toby aged 3 and Max aged 1. When the day finally arrived for the teachers to cross over our threshold, we had been up for most of the night with our non-sleeping boys and the morning had not a pleasant one. I had totally forgotten they were coming and, when the doorbell rang at exactly 9am, none of us were dressed or had even cleaned our teeth! Morning breath, I decided in that split second, was even worse than wearing pyjamas in front of teachers so I dashed upstairs and cleaned my teeth before racing back down the stairs to answer the door with a sparkly smile. Needless to say, the house was not spotless and nor were the children. I apologised for our attire (or lack of it) and attempted to prove to them that I was not a slummy mummy. At least I knew I had clean teeth.

Second time around was in a new area, a new house and we had a new baby. Having only moved into our new house 4 weeks previously and with a 1 week old baby (baby Jonah), I was keen to make the transition to nursery an easy one for Max. The teachers arrived and settled themselves into our bare lounge (the boxes were yet to be unpacked - we'd been too busy having a baby). Out came the book all about the nursery for Max to chat about with the teachers. However, chat he did not. In fact, our chatterbox son had turned mute. The teacher tried question after question, but he would not talk. He didn't say hello when they arrived, or goodbye when they left. He did not say one word the whole time they were at our house. We had never ever heard him so quiet. I was sure that on their way back down the drive the teachers were making a mental profile of Max as a quiet, reserved, bordering on rude child...... I am equally sure that he totally shattered that image on his first day at nursery (except the rude bit).

So, would I actually be able to get it right today on our third time around? The allotted time was 9am. The adrenaline pumped through my body as I not only got the boys ready for school but also managed to hang out the washing, dust and hoover the downstairs of the house, hide the inappropriate toys (guns, dvd's) and casually display the appropriate ones (jigsaw puzzles, books), make sure that the house did not smell when they walked in (this is a little concern of mine) and ensure that Jonah was clean and ready for action. I even managed to get dressed and clean my teeth! When they arrived and walked into the lounge (with their shoes, on my newly hoovered floor), I don't think they even noticed the effort I had gone to. Did they notice the Outdoors Activities book I had casually placed on the arm of the chair? I don't think so. Did they see the way I had plumped up the cushions on the sofa (not normally done because the boys spend so much time upside down on the sofa that there is no point plumping up cushions)? I expect not. However, my little star boy managed to chat away the whole time to them, charming them with his smile and a little wrinkle of his nose. He certainly knows how to win people over. He could even write a new 21st century version of 'How to win friends and influence people'. Making me glow inside, he told them all about our vegetable patch (no slummy mummies here, thank you very much!). Third and final time around, I think our home visit was a success.

Now... he just has to continue to be charming for a whole year at nursery.... Hmmmm....

No comments: