Day Fifty-Three: Back to School

It is officially back-to-school season around here. Schools tend to start earlier down here, I’m not sure why, but I think it’s a good thing. I actually think the summer break is too long, and it would be nice to have a shorter summer break and a longer break in the winter. It’s too long to be without a consistent routine, and even the very best mothers start to run out of ideas after almost three months.

A friend of ours is an education expert, and he explained that for kids in low-income districts, year-round school has been shown to have a positive impact, but for kids in more affluent areas, kids actually benefit from having a break, because they do other activities, or take vacations that end up being educational, or are exposed to other positive things. I don’t know much about these things, but that makes a lot of sense to me.

I have always loved starting a new school year. I love the new, perfectly clean notebooks, the new pens and pencils, everything perfectly organized and full of such possibility. I have always believed that beginnings are very important, because they sort of set the tone for how things will go. It’s not that it’s impossible to change things, something that starts bad can get better and something that starts well can turn to s***, but it’s more the idea that an object in motion tends to stay in motion and all of that. New beginnings are new opportunities, new adventures, and although they can be scary, there is something magical about that.

Because of this, I tend to make a big deal about the beginning of the school year for our kids. I read up on ideas for school lunches and try to cook and bake and plan so that the first few weeks things run smoothly. I read articles about helping kids transition back to school, and sometimes I even turn to Pinterest for advice. I try to get everyone on a schedule at least a full week before we start. I drive to the school to make sure I have the timing down. I put a laundry system in place that I always think will guarantee I won’t end up washing three loads at 11 pm Sunday night. I’m not writing all of this because I want a gold star or anything like that, I’m not even claiming I do this because I’m a good mom. I’m attempting to demonstrate or explain how excited I get about going back to school. I mean, how excited I am that my children are going back to school. Right?

I am excited for them. I think they are going to love their new school, even if it does bankrupt us, and I can’t wait for them to see it. They are all wonderful, curious souls, and it will be wonderful for them to get back to a more developed routine.

I’m also a little bit envious. Not because I want to go back to grade school or preschool, although if I had to, I would want to go to their school. I miss having real structure to my day, having a place to go to accomplish something measurable, interacting with other people who are not my children, learning something. I’m going to miss them too. I actually really, really like my kids, and although we did camps and activities and other things, they were home with me a lot this summer, and we got to do some pretty great things. They are ready to go back, and it’s good for them to go back, so I am excited for them. I’m also going to miss having them home during the day.

This is one of those posts that got way off track, and is inspiring a lot of thinking, so I think I’m going to break here, sleep on all of this, and come back to it.

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