Sunday, August 19, 2012

back to school, back to school

anybody out there a fan of "billy madison?" nope? just me?
"it's too hot for a penguin to just be walking around!"
really? only me?
ok moving on...

school's about to start. for some of you that means shouts of adulation.
for others, dread and night sweats.
for us, it's "yay for schedules!" and "oh, man, we need to get up earlier."
and by "we" i mean me. sleeping in is one of my most favorite activities on the planet.
during the last few weeks and the one to come, we've been getting a bit more organized around here in preparation for school to start.
i thought i'd share with y'all what we do to get ready, because i know the curiosity of it all is probably keeping you up at night. no? you sure? we're an intriguing bunch around here, folks. if you're the type (like me) who sometimes gets overwhelmed with crunch time, don't read on. just insert some funny joke here. i've got nothing for you. i even looked up jokes on the internet. sorry. i'm not funny. i have one about an interrupting cow, but i can't interrupt you over the internet.

i digress.

these are some of the things we've done/hope to get done before or during the first week of school. and if you homeschool or have kids that are too young for school, you can still read on for literary enjoyment.

*make out a schedule for the school day: morning routine and afternoon routine
     --my kids bug me from the moment they get home to go outside and play with neighborhood friends. i finally put up a schedule in the dining room of when we would do what so that they would know what to expect. every SINGLE day we will do homework and take care of school stuff first, then if we have time, we can go outside. that way i could just point to the schedule and remind them what comes next instead of hearing the whining. oh, the whining.

* buy plenty of after-school snacks to have on hand
     --we buy in bulk. and my kids are always starving when they get home. apparently lunch and snacks at school are insufficient for these children who inhale goldfish. so we're up to our eyeballs in animal crackers. they solve a world of problems.

* go through closets and dressers
     --we did this a few weeks ago and it was a mad house. my friend and i decided we would switch the dressers in two of the boys' rooms and have the kids go through clothes while doing it. all four children. taking apart their dressers? HORRIBLE IDEA. worst mistake ever. overdramatic? no. horrible.
i should have done it the way my husband did it when he went through the shoe bins. which is coming up next.
it's also fun to throw away socks without matches. those bug me. i sometimes make them into dust rags. if you get bored while dusting, you can always make it into a sock puppet.
i don't do this myself, but hey, rock it out.

* go through area where school stuff goes
    -- we have a closet under the stairs that holds all the backpacks and shoes. each boy has a bin. my husband was in charge of the bin-organization-extravanganzapalooza. he did amazing. i'll admit i cracked a few jokes about me being the organized one in the family. dead wrong. he had each boy come out one at a time and go through the bin. then they'd organize it, put it away, and out would come the next boy with his. this man's a genius. maybe we should switch jobs. except i can't program a computer. and all he makes is egg sandwiches. maybe we'll stay with our current arrangement a little while longer.
we either give away shoes that don't fit anymore or keep them for a younger brother. the kids ended up with a few less shoes than they started out with. who needs 3 flip-flops? no one. or someone with three legs, i guess.
   --during this time we also go through the closet looking for any random jackets, socks, bags that don't belong, etc. and clear the area for the onslaught of school paraphernalia. our closet collects so much junk that is not actually related to school or shoes in any way.

*write their name on everything.
    --in blood. nah, i kid. but for school we end up with lost things a lot. cups, jackets (in texas it's only cool enough to wear these for about a month and a half). i try to go through things and write our last name on everything i can see. sometimes i go a little crazy and write on my children too, but that's just for fun.

* organize a place for school things
   --we have a closet for backpacks, but a different spot for lunch boxes. three of the boys don't go to school full-time, and i am lazy and like the lunch boxes to be right where i'll make the lunches. i clear out a cupboard space for the lunch boxes and they take up quite a bit of room. i guess i could just clean them out and then leave them in the backpacks. but again, i'm lazy.

*print out a school calendar/write down important dates.
  --especially early release dates. we have those a lot. and at random times. and i don't know about you, but i don't want to be the punch-line to a dramatic tale my children tell when they grow up about how their momma forgot them at school and blah blah blah. nope. i'll be there. on time. watch me.

*prepare a work space area with storage for school stuff
  --we work at our dining room table. but i've cleaned out two drawers in our buffet to keep school stuff like flashcards of popcorn words for the year, readers that get sent home, etc.
if you're planning on using a desk area, get it cleaned off before school starts. a clean workspace is like a fresh start. and a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils never hurt anyone. --i stole that from you've got mail. and sharpened pencils may have hurt lots of people. no statements made here have ever been researched.

*have a place to keep school memos/letters/forms that need to be filled out and sent back
  --i have a desk area where i do all my business of bill paying, form filling, candy eating. that last one i like to do when i think the kids aren't looking. while paying bills. delish! --my favorite way to multi-task. anyway, i have a place where i keep my school memos and reminders that is right where i look everyday. it worked well last year. but i need to clear the way for it again. with one in school and three in pre-k, we get LOTS of letters home.

*make sure their spirit shirt fits
  --my dear friend leanna discussed with me a traumatic event in her childhood where she had to skip wearing her spirit shirt and LOST the spirit stick for her class that week because she did not have a shirt that fit! and then her tooth fell out. (that last part was in no way connected to the first part, but it makes it sound more dramatic, right?) how terrifying! oh, the horror. i don't want my children to be scarred for life by such an event. i think i'll just tell my kids to stop growing so i don't have to keep buying spirit shirts.

here's to a smooth and pain-free transition into school.


  1. Good plan! My big girl starts fifth grade today. FIFTH GRADE!!!! Love that quote from Billy Madison btw.

  2. Love...and would love pictures of each spot but I know there isn't enough time for that. I'll just picture it in my head :)


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