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Mom's Time Out

School days

Mary Angel

(9/2015) It is officially the countdown to the first day of school in my house. There are definitely two different camps when it comes to this time of year. There are the boys and their countdown to public school and the girls and their countdown to homeschooling. There is of course one more camp, the mom and dad camp, truly a completely different camp. So here is the way my family prepares and counts down to the first day of school.

For the boys it is a mix of nerves and excitement. About two weeks before school starts back up they get super excited. They are calling and texting their friends. Every one of them is comparing schedules and they are either extremely pumped because they have a few friends in each class or slightly bummed because they canít find anyone in a specific class. I remind them that by the end of the first quarter they have made at least a few new friends in each class and they are on the excitement roller coaster again. My younger son is more of a challenge this year. He is way more apprehensive than his brother, since this is the year that he starts high school. He has spent much of the two weeks asking questions of his brother and I, all about the high school experience.

Suddenly there is only one week before school starts and to the excitement is added a mix of anxiousness and curiosity and sometimes nausea. This is the week we require our kids to start getting up much closer to the time they need to rise and shine once school starts. This definitely makes for some sleepy eyes in the morning (we will see how the new freshman does with these early mornings). This final week also involves a mad rush to squeeze in as many get-togethers and friends staying the night as they can possibly convince us of. The final piece for the boys will be an increase, this last week, in video game playing during the week days. Once school starts we have a rule that there are absolutely no video games during the school week. The first actual week of school involves a certain degree of video game withdraw.

This is also the week that all of the kids start getting their binders, folders, and other school supplies organized and in the backpacks. The girls still use backpacks to keep their school supplies organized and handy for field trip days. Towards the end of this week there will most certainly be a massive grocery store run with all hands on deck. All four kids will need to pick lunch items and snacks so they are prepared to pack on that first day. The girls have asked if they can pack their lunches for home schooling this year and I am thinking it will help the day to run even more smoothly.

Two weeks prior to home schooling starting the girls are usually bugging me to see their books and anxious to start the new year. They can even be heard, on a few occasions, asking if we could start early. They love looking through their new books and bugging me about what color binders, folders, and notebooks they will have. They start quizzing me on field trips we might be taking. This is also the time when they start making a mental (and often slightly whiney verbal) list of the things they havenít done over the summer, the things they are still hoping to do, and the friends they havenít seen nearly enough of. For the most part, though, this week for the girls isnít a great deal different from the rest of the summer.

Then suddenly, it is one week prior to home school starting and now the girls are no longer asking to start school early. The more popular school conversations involve trying to get me to have a field trip every week, or would I consider a four day work week, or maybe a shorter school day. This is only the beginning of the negotiations (or so they consider them). Not unlike the boys the girls also have a mad dash to see how many sleepovers and play dates they can jam into one week. As a family we will try to do one more fun thing to end the summer and then it is time for them all to put their little noses to the grindstone and get back to writing papers, doing homework, and studying hard.

Two weeks prior to school starting doesnít faze my husband in the slightest. The kids are playing, bickering, goofing off and snacking constantly, just like the rest of the summer. The only thing that stands out school wise for this period for me was the actual school supply shopping and hard core home school prep. I usually buy the girls supplies in early to mid-September when they are on clearance for the following year. The home school organization can take days or at least hours every day in order to be ready for the first day of school. For the boys I buy the basics and usually new back packs. In high school there are so many heavy books that I find the back packs donít usually last more than a year or year and a half.

When there is only one week left before the start of school my husband and I will get a little pep in our step. We can see the light at the end of the bickering tunnel. Unlike the kids we notice all too well that by the end of the summer the bickering and sibling rivalry is at an all-time high in our house. So for us the start of school means peace and tranquility, at least from the sibling bickering. The school work argument is an article for another time. So for us this is a wondrous time of year, a time to celebrate!

Read other articles by Mary Angel