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Since school starts next week for my boys, I thought I’d share five back to school tips that I have found particularly helpful.

Tip #1: Get into the swing of things now

If you’re like me, you’ve let your kids sleep in until 8 am and get dressed around 10 am all summer long. Which is fine right up until the first day of school when the kids need to be up and dressed by 6:45 and out the door by 7:30. So this year I have instituted a “Going Back to School” schedule. The whole family is starting their day just as if school had already started. That means earlier bed times and wake ups, beds made, dressed, fed and ready to face the day by 7:30 am. At least I can get the grumbling out of the way now instead of on the first day of school.

Lunch BoxTip #2 Plan out those lunch menus

I’ve blogged about menu planning before but I think it’s important enough to repeat here. Sit down with your kids and plan out a couple weeks worth of lunch menus which all of you can live with. And, if your child packs his or her own lunch, they have a guide to what to bring for lunch on any particular day. It really nips the whole “But I didn’t know what to make so I took candy instead” argument in the bud.

Tip #3: Go to Back to School Night

Even if you are exhausted from a long day at work, the kids are cranky, and it’s pouring rain/sunny and 150 degrees. Everyone is nervous about that first day of school and it isn’t just limited to your kids.

The teacher is getting a whole new set of children in the classroom, 5 year olds are heading to a new phase of their life, and you need to get a feel for the classroom and teacher. So, it’s a good thing to meet & greet before that first day of school.

Tip #4: Create a Central Calendar

Everyone in the family has a list of activities that come in to the house through a number of ways, i.e. through papers coming home from school, emails from colleagues, party invitations sent in the mail. The best way to coordinate schedules is to use a central calendar. There are literally hundres of calendars available through stores and the Internet for you to use. Pick one and post it where everyone can see it (even the 3 foot tall kindergartner!).

Tip #5: Spend Time With Your Kids

It will be all too soon that they are gone all day and involved in their own lives once school starts. While you, and I, may look forward to that, the excitement wears off pretty quickly. So, take the time now to let your kids know that you love them and that you are there for them (no matter what happens). Enjoy it becuase childhood doesn’t last forever.

Do you have any back to school tips? Please share them with me!

Photo by evelynishere on Flickr

Photo by evelynishere on Flickr

School starts in 16 days, 2 hours, and 46 minutes as of the writing of this sentence.

Can you tell I’m excited?

My 4 year old is going to kindergarten (don’t worry, he’ll be 5 the day after school starts) and my newly 9 year old will start the fourth grade. There are so many things to see and participate in during the school year that it’s fun for the whole family.

What’s not so fun is back to school shopping.

The clothes we can deal with since we know our boys are going to need school uniforms each year. Plus the school has a locker to exchange gently used items for clothes that fit. We take advantage of that service but always make sure to leave something in its place.

I’m not so complacent about the school supply list. When did we become responsible for buying wall balls for the classroom? Or colored copier paper? I can understand the penciles, paper, and glue but sandwhich bags? And lets not forget the hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes. I told the hubs that if there had been face masks on the list our boys would have been homeschooled this year.

And they still might considering the state of California’s economy.

Teacher’s are being laid off and the size of the classroom is increasing. I wonder how our children are going to learn what they need to pass the useless tests that are required by the state? The teachers cannot keep up with thirty or forty kids in the classroom. Parental involvement is becoming required not requested in many areas but how can parents be involved in the classroom during the day if they have to work?

Can you tell that this makes me hot under the collar?

The hubs and I debated these questions while shopping at Wally World* the other day for those school supplies. We couldn’t solve the problems of our economy but it was nice to commiserate at the checkout stand when we handed the cashier our hard earned cash.

Okay, so this post was more of a rant about the rising costs of just about everything rather than an opinion. Surely someone out there feels the same way? If you do, leave a comment!

* Yes, Wally World. In this economy I cannot afford to go anywhere else, particularly when the supplies for two little boys costs me nearly $150.


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