Saturday, August 19, 2006

Back to School

I've decided that school is far more work for the parents than it is for the students. And I'm not taking about homeschooling, either (that's another story entirely). Right now, I'm talking about regular school.

A few years ago Staples (or Office Depot, I forget which) had a commercial that they ran in August and September with the song "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" playing throughout. Parents were skipping through the store throwing school supplies in the basket while the kids were walking sulkily behind. Jay and I used to think that was so funny. What parent wouldn't be excited about sending the kids back to school after a long summer of too much together time? Well, that was before I had school aged kids, and I'm not laughing anymore.

School is, for parents, a marathon that begins with a sprint. This week and last, I have been doing my sprint. I have taken the kids to the doctor, held them down for their rounds of vaccines and badgered the doctors to fill out the proper heath forms. I have beaten my way through the crowds at Target to a picked-over school supplies area, clutching my list of teacher-requested items and checking each off as I toss the things in the basket. I have cleaned out closets and resized clothes, taking stock of what is salvageable. I have purchased new uniform items, mended old ones, and tried pair after pair of shoes on the kids, making sure that they can put them on by themselves and that there are absolutely no "sharp things" or "itchy spots" to bring trouble down the road. I have assembled earthquake kits with loving notes and books to keep the kids occupied until I can reach them in case of emergency. I have negotiated with the children over which themed backpacks and lunch boxes are appropriate for kindergarten (or any grade, for that matter). And you know what? I am ready for summer again.

I am definitely not marathon-ready. Yet, that is what is in front of me. Nine months of field trip forms, homework packets, lunches and more lunches, keeping track of credits left on milk cards and which teacher allows which items at snack time. Then there are the special events. Halloween costumes and parties, valentines (oh, the dreaded valentines), teacher gifts at Christmas time, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Not to mention the waking at the crack of dawn to get everyone fed and in uniform by 7:30.

All this is not worth the few hours of relative peace that the emptier house provides. Bring back summer! Bring back lazy days of hanging around the house, swimming and doing basically nothing. Would it be wrong to allow my children to grow up to be uneducated sloths because their mother was too lazy to send them back to school? OK, so maybe that is taking it too far. But I'm just saying it sounds pretty good right about now.


Michelle said...

Yes, that does sound tedious.

But the commercial was pretty funny.

Jen said...

That does sound nice but I also love it when Jeffrey runs through the door after school filled with the incredible things that happened that day at school. Things that happened on his own with no mom or dad around. Or of course when Hannah walks through the door and when asked how her day was I get the one syllable "fine". Yes, it'a a challenge and stressful but our children are learning and growing on their own terms w/o us interferring and that will make them amazing people. So, yes it is the most wonderful time of the year. Plus I really like those few hours on my own!!!!:)

Renee said...

My daughter is going to private pre-school, with the uniform and lists of goodies. Geesh I didn't know Crayola made so many types of crayons!

nutmeg said...

I was trying to figure out today which was harder....getting all those school supplies/uniforms/shoes/shots/haircuts/socks/etc. Or......buying all the stuff for homeschooling and organizing that (out with the old, in with the new) and setting up a schedule, etc.

I think it's a tie. :)

Sometimes I think this time of year is crazier than Christmas!

Tina said...

This is the time that I'm grateful for just two children because that is enough organizing I can take. I think I would go crazy if I had more to do than I already do. What is funny is that I was more organized this year than any other and did my back to school shopping in July, both supplies and uniforms. But then my mother assuming that I am last minute Sally again this year went school supply shopping for me on Saturday. It was hard to tell her that I didn't follow my pattern. She looked so hurt because she thought she was being a huge help. I did say that I hadn't gotten everything so that she could contribute something. She bought some fun stuff; I had just purchased the basics.

What I failed at this summer was getting the summer work completed that they were assigned prior to leaving school for the summer. OOPS. Oh well, life goes on and they will be just fine.

Brenda said...

I agree it is a very tedious job getting the children ready for school. Believe me as they get older it becomes a bit easier. The kids are older and there is a sense of self responsiblity that comes into play. That alone is interesting to see. It was amazing to watch My eldest, Stephanie, prepare for her 1st year in High School. Talk about having your heart in your throat.