Today was day 3 for us. A few observations . . .
Ds2 (6yo and in first grade) loves school so far. He is advanced academically, so there is no stress for him, and he already knows everything they are doing. However, I worry that pretty soon the novelty will wear off and he will get bored. Socially everything is fine, especially as it turns out our neighbor's son is in his class, so he was very excited about that. So he's quite the happy camper.
Ds1 (9yo and in 4th grade) tentatively likes school so far. He's happy when I pick him up, and says that he understands the work they do in the classroom. However, his spelling has always been atrocious, and there is no way he can keep up with the writing. Some of his spelling words this week include "although," "beautiful," "whether," "language," and "question." His spelling is probably on a 2nd grade level. On his pretest he barely got 3 letters of each word. He's working on it, but it's a real struggle and he's already talking about how he's the slowest, he's going to get an F, etc., and despite our fervent reassurances that his grades on tests mean nothing and we don't care at all, he's still stressed. When the real homework kicks in, I think things are going to get really tough. He doesn't know anyone in his class, but is very social and is having fun at recess and says all the kids are nice.
Also, just the basic organziation is tough for him. He's always been a bit spacey - can never remember to close the door, etc. So remembering specific papers and assignments and to put the envelope in the basket, etc., is tough for him.
I've also noticed, that despite having a May birthday, he seems to be one of the youngest in his class. All the kids on his baseball team are in third grade. It seems like everyone holds their kids back a year now, which is weird to me - if I held ds back, he would turn 18 in his junior year of high school! I get it for later birthdays, but it's almost across the board. Academically he would do better in the third grade, but he would freak if we told him he was moving down a grade.
I'm glad they are enjoying their days, but they are cranky and fighting more when they get home, and I see very little creative play like they used to do all day. Now, granted, it's only day 3, plus we just had a super hot heat wave, and they've been waking up way earlier than they need to because they're excited. So it could be just all those 3 things combined that is causing the change in behavior, not just school.
I miss them terribly, but I do have to admit that I am in a better mood and am more calm with them, having already done all the little things I need to do during the day. So in that sense it's already improved our relationship, but I think things are too soon to tell.
Overall, I am completely underwhelmed with the public school system. I think our particular school does a good job with what they have to work with, and the staff has all been very nice, but the lack of creativity and individuality is staggering. (As is the lack of science, but that's another vent.)