I remember when I was growing up, Back to School usually happened around my birthday (August 31, just so you know). Now, my elementary aged daughter is starting second grade. Tomorrow. We're not even two weeks in to the month.
That's too soon for me.
I know many people out there who are just dying for summer to be over and the kids to go back to school. They are tired of their kids complaining of boredom, or the constant kids shows on tv, or the fighting between siblings, or the disrespect, or the lack of structure, or whatever it is that makes one want to send the children away. I get it, I do. However, I am not one of those people. I am not ready for school to come. Here's why:
1. The Germs
We have lived in a perpetual bubble since summer started. Sure, we've gone places and had swim meets and play dates and park trips and had people over and gone to other people's houses. But my children haven't been in the close confines of a germ-infested classrooms where colds and coughs are passed around like candy. We've managed to stay illness-free this summer and I couldn't be more thankful. I just know that when school starts up again that the germs are going to party like it's 1999.
I like to go places. This summer we've taken one to two day trips each week. The kids and I have visited the beach and the zoo and farms and gardens and parks and museums and factories and amusement parks. We've learned and explored and had a blast in doing so. When school starts again, I won't have that flexibility. If I do choose to go somewhere, my oldest will be missing out. Or I'll have to take a shorter trip so that I can be back in time to pick her up to school and she will be sad that she missed it.
Enough said, right? Being on the other side of the fence, so to speak, I'm actually in the no-homework camp. As a teacher, I used to believe firmly in practicing at home what you've learned in school. Now, I realize how much time my child spends at school and what little time together we have at home. I would rather we have quality family time then forced homework activities on items that are covered in school.
My daughter is, shall we say, a picky eater. Packing her lunches has been a test of patience. What she eats at home she won't eat at school because it's too cold, or too hot, or too squishy. She's still picky at home, don't get me wrong, but I know that at least I'll have an option that she will actually eat instead of wasting something that I've sent to school with her. Food waste is a huge pet peeve of mine.
During the summer I don't set any alarms unless we absolutely need to be somewhere in the morning. This is a rare occurrence. During the week I let the kids sleep in. I figure their little bodies can self-regulate how much sleep they need, and who am I to interrupt that. We still have a bedtime, I'm not that crazy, but no set wake-up time. At the beginning of summer they were waking up pretty early, but now that a couple of months have passed, they generally get up around 8. Which I think is great. However, school starts at 8:15 in the mornings, so getting up at 8 and making sure everyone is dressed and fed is not going to be realistic.
I think my children are pretty sensitive. I'm okay with that. I would rather have sensitive children then calloused souls. Just sayin'. Back at school there are all kinds of characters. Some kids are nice and some like to push boundaries and others take pleasure in putting others down. I never know how my daughter will react after a day at school. I wish I could wrap her in a bubble so she's not exposed to any negative input.
7. Sibling Bond
My children have been together all summer. They've had their fair share of quarrels and fighting over toys and crying over whose turn it is and who cheated and which toy was theirs. But they've had to learn how to work together to entertain themselves. They've had to cooperate in order to do fun projects and travel to different places. Sure, they could escape to their rooms (or be sent, if needed), but they'd have to come out and face the offended in due time. Once school starts, life will be extremely busy again and all three of them won't be together like they have been. I'm hoping their bond will still remain strong even as they lose one during the day.
Alas, I'll know summer is really over tomorrow when I drop my daughter off at school. I'm hoping she has a good year and that summer comes soon.