Back to School They Go!

The blogosphere is filled right now with posts on how to transition the kids to their new school schedules and how to pack healthy lunches and how to get into a good routine and basically how to make your life easier during this transition period.

I’m pretty much doing it all wrong.

We did not start our kids on earlier bedtime and earlier wake-up times a week or so before school started, gradually working them up to the school schedule. We didn’t buy new backpacks and lunchboxes. We didn’t stock the pantry with healthy lunchbox items. We didn’t make them review their math facts or brush up on their reading skills. We didn’t even take them shopping for first-day-of-school outfits (although we did get school supplies and shoes, thanks to Payless!)

We pretty much let them enjoy summer up until the last possible second, and then, BAM! We went to a concert the night before school started and left a babysitter to put them to bed at an early hour. Then we got them up at the crack of dawn and had them pick out outfits and pack their luches and sent them off on their merry way.

Well, it wasn’t QUITE that easy. My son’s middle school bus came early, and we were just walking out the front door to snap a photo when we discovered the bus was already at his stop. He took off at a run, but the bus drove off without him, driving right past our house as it did so. Ironically, our neighborhood has two busses (yeah, we are a bit overrun with children) so the other bus saw the whole thing and stopped for him and offered to take him. It. Was. BIZARRE. What bus takes off and leaves a kid on the first day of school? I guess this is trial by fire, right? You better bet he was down there a good five minutes ahead of schedule THIS morning!

The next shift went much more smoothly. The girls were excited and eager to get their day started. Both were dressed and ready to go with 20 minutes to spare.

Someone didn’t want to be left behind.

We had time to get a lot of photos, and then at the bus stop we got a few more.

My son at 12 thinks he’s way too cool to pose for a ton of photos with the neighborhood, but he obliged me just one shot when he got home from school yesterday. He’s a good kid. He humors me.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend my approach to back-to-school transition, but I just couldn’t resist eking out every last minute of summertime that we possibly could.

So, now what??

Having the house to myself for an entire seven hours was definitely . . . different.

It. Was. Just. So. QUIET.

And it is AMAZING what you can accomplish when you aren’t hopping up every 30 minutes to settle an argument or fix someone something to eat or clean up after their own sloppy attempts.

Savannah was lost without the kids at home. After we got back from the bus stop, she stood at the door and whined for about five minutes, then walked around aimlessly for another five minutes, and then took up residence under my desk, where she remained for most of the day.

Yes, my desk is that messy all the time. Don’t judge me.

This is her new favorite hangout, and it suits me just fine. I rather enjoy the company.

All things considered, we are transitioning quite nicely. As much as I love summer, I have to admit that this routine is much more conducive to getting my work done, and it’s nice to know that the kids are somewhere that they can be challenged and inspired.

I hope everyone else is getting settled into their new fall routines! I’m enjoying the calm before the storm. I know it’s only a matter of time before we’re running amuck in birthday celebrations and holiday preparations. But for now, I think I’m liking September quite a lot!

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18 Responses

  1. Oh goodness! We had good intentions to get the kids started on a regular bedtime schedule working our way up until they were going to be at school year bedtime the week of school starting. It failed. There was tons of last minute spending the night at grandparents & aunt’s houses that really threw a wrench in that plan. Our kids slept on our futon in the den most of the summer falling asleep to movies (cringe). The only thing we did a couple weeks before school was start making them sleep in their beds again. We did go 1st day of school out fit shopping but we already had good shoes.

    I have to agree with you about the quiet. This is my 1st year with both of them gone all day and at first I thought oh my goodness what am I gonna do with all my time!? But I get more photographing and blogging done so that’s good.


  2. I see no reason to ruin a perfectly good summer by prepping the kids a week early. I’ve tried all the approaches and no matter what they are still going to be tired that first week, still not going to want to get up that early, still overwhelmed with new schedules and homework, etc. etc. Now shopping is FUN so we always have a few good BTS outfits and also for the snacks and food. But waking them up early just so we can what….??? No thank you. In fact, on Labor Day my teenager slept til 11 and I totally let her !

    1. Glad to know I’m not the only one! lol

      I do realize that some kids NEED that prep time, like kids with autism and issues like that. I’m not dissing the idea entirely. But I am just not that disciplined, and fortunately my kids adjust just fine.

  3. We love BTS shopping so we did that in bits and pieces in August. But other than that, we were out of town for 2 weeks prior to labor day weekend and then just lazed around over the weekend. The Friday before school started was the first day since July 1 in our house that we did not HAVE to do anything. It was awesome.

    I always found it difficult to go to bed early. I would lay there awake for hours. So, we instituted the “you are just going to be tired” method this week. Slightly earlier bedtime the night before and GO. My middle schooler (who gets up at 6:15) was plently tired last night and went to bed at 9. I think it will work out.

  4. I had good intentions, but that last week was just so busy, we didn’t get the “early to bed” thing done, either. In fact BTS prep didn’t seem “normal” this year for us b/c they’d gone on a trip to Alaska and we’d bought a bunch of new “fall” clothes then. Also, I learned last year that by the time jeans-weather arrives, it is quite likely that they’ve changed sizes! Urgh! Summer’s t-shirts and shorts are just fine for now! Anyway, happy writing! It is so much easier to complete a thought with them at school! I, too, love it that they are somewhere being “challenged and inspired!” It was time!

  5. My girls are still pretty young (5 and 3) so we still keep a pretty consistent bedtime even in the summer. However my oldest just started all day kindergarten this year and we had to move bed time up by half an hour, she was struggling with no more nap.

  6. We had a late night too the night before school – decided to have a BBQ which took ages , but was fun so took their minds off school and made the most of the last day. X

  7. My husbands work schedule changes every 4 months. This change has been the most difficult to adapt to. I haven’t gone for a run in four days. So if you can get out the door…I will too! In a month or so I would like to hear how those new shoes are treating you!

  8. My kids started back yesterday too. We did some prep work to get ready but I think it was more for me than for them 😉 . I love the photos, your kids are beautiful and the little grade signs are a great idea! Happy September!

  9. Our school transition was much like yours (minus the concert). Every year I say we’re gonna start the school schedule at the beginning of August and every year we end up just jumping into the new schedule on the first day of school.

    Love the dog under your desk. When I read your post about searching for a dog, I got the impression you weren’t much of a dog person but it appears she’s found her way into your heart! Love it!

  10. I am so glad that I am not the only one – from trying to get them ready for the first day of school, to the state of my desk. Thanks for making me feel more normal!!!!! ;-))

  11. We don’t have a transition into the start of school. It just happens all of a sudden! Since I am a teacher, I’m not in too much of a hurry to start back either so we are all pretty much in denial until that morning! We’ve now had 11 days of school and a one 2-hour delay for fog, and my daughter has 3 big tests tomorrow. It feels like we never had a summer break; like we’ve been in school the whole time.

    Yeah, once the kids hit a certain age, they are “too cool” for first-day pictures; my 14 yr old, a freshman, didn’t want us to take a pic because she’s “getting too old” for that. We got one anyway! On the other hand, my sophomore in college will pose for a picture anytime. Your kids are getting big!

  12. I love this post. I would love to see you do some kids fashion posts. I am clueless about dressing myself or my children. I hate a lot of the girl clothes that look like a rainbow threw up. Help!

  13. Haha! I love it – girl clothes do sometimes look like a rainbow threw up on them! I agree it is sometimes harder to find appropriate clothes for a girl. How do you do it? Blog away Jo-Lynne!

    We always have the best of intentions when it comes to back to school, but it never works out. Like you I’d rather eek every last drop out of our lazy summer days! It’s still over 90 degrees here, so it doesn’t feel like fall. I’m thinking summer isn’t going anywhere any time soon. sigh . . . . .

    Sheri O.

    1. Really? I never think they look that particularly put together, lol. I wish they’d let me dress them in Gymboree and boutiquey brands forever, but they would rather go to Justice. Puh!

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