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The Pain Of School Year Re-Entry

We are one week and one day into the new school year. We started out well. We started out excited and ready and all bright and shiny. 

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That rapidly declined into something out of a horror movie. 

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I’ve decided that there is no pain like the pain involved in school year re-entry. It’s borderline tragic and I might not make it. If I don’t, thanks for reading along on this little blog. You’ve been great. 

1. Bedtimes. During the summer we pretty much participate in free range parenting. I don’t enforce bedtimes or drag the kids out of bed early in the morning. That’s part of what makes summer great but it also makes school year re-entry torturous. 

2. Alarm Clocks. I hate alarm clocks. I had to disable my snooze on my phone so I wouldn’t be tempted to hit it 27 times every morning. 

3. School lunches. Last year I packed 2 lunches every day. This year I’m packing 4. It sucks. 

4. Bus stops. The first week of school means that the bus is late. It’s just how it works and we all know to expect it. But it sucks. 

5. School supplies. Holy cow, I practically needed a second mortgage just to buy school supplies this year. Over $320 for 3 kids. Not including tech fees, sports fees, bus fees….all the fees. 

6. Homework. Oh the horror of homework. Granted they have way less than they did at their old school but any homework is considered a torture device by my children. 

7. School paperwork. I lost count of how many papers I filled out for each child. 4 times the paperwork. With almost identical information. 

8. Laundry. During the summer my kids lived in pajamas and swim suits. I did very few loads of laundry. I’ve done 4 loads in the last week. And the dryer is broken. I feel like Satan is laughing at me right now. 

9. School uniforms. I like the concept of uniforms. I really dislike paying for them. Especially when I bought them all back in June and a certain child, Zoey, had a massive growth spurt and needed all new ones. Awesome. 

10. Shower battles. Again, during summer I didn’t fight this battle. They swam every day and played in the hot tub nearly every evening. I figure the chlorine and other chemicals got them pretty clean. Now we’re back to nightly showers and it’s sucking out my soul. 

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How Not To Rock Back To School

So my kids start the 2017-18 school year in 2 days. 2 days. And I’m so not prepared. Like really really so not prepared. I could say that it snuck up on me but the date has been set for months. So really I just ignored it and concentrated on enjoying my summer. Now I’m paying the price for such indulgence. I’m normally the uber-organized parent. Let me share my shame with y’all- here’s all the ways I’m not prepared for back to school. I feel like Zoey in this picture.

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1. Uniforms. I’ve been buying uniforms in pieces off the parents FB page for our charter school all summer. Uniforms are expensive and I refuse to buy new for the 2 youngest because I’ll be replacing them every year. Unfortunately what fit back in June does not necessarily fit now. Zoey has 1 polo and 2 skorts and no shorts. So this week has been a scramble. 

2. School Supplies. Yeah. I have half of them. Maybe. I think. 

3. School Lunches. Being at a charter this year means there is no hot lunch daily. We can order hot lunches but they are catered and not cheap. So my kids take their own lunch every day. I realized this morning that we have no bread, no cheese, no fruit, no drink pouches…basically nothing for lunch boxes.

4. Forms. Oh sweet baby Jesus, the forms. There’s an enormous stack of forms that need to be filled out by 2pm today at open house. I’m so tired of filling out forms. So tired, y’all. 

5. School Schedule. Failure. My kids are still sleeping in until 11am. In 2 days they will have to be up at 5:45am. And they are going to be ANGRY. And MEAN. And I have nobody to blame but myself. 

6. Meal Plan. I think I mentioned the grocery shortage above, right? Well that is not just limited to lunch items. The reason we have no bread is because we’ve eaten grilled cheese sandwiches every night for a week. I am so not on top of this right now. I think Matt is considering divorce if I don’t start cooking again soon. 

So for all of you moms out there who are totally unprepared for back to school, take heart. You’re not the only one! High Five! Good luck. And God Speed, my friends. See you on the other side. 

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Charter School: One Year Later

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Tyler just finished his first year in our charter school of choice. I really had no idea what to expect from charter school. I just knew that public school was not an option anymore and homeschooling was not something that was viable for our family. Turns out, this charter school is absolutely hands down the very best thing that could have happened for our family. And this year we hit the sibling lottery jackpot- Mason and Zoey got in via the sibling lottery back in February and Maia was number 1 on the waitlist. We got the call a couple of weeks ago that Maia had gotten a spot. So next year we will have all of our kids in one charter school. Do you hear that sound? It’s the angels singing. I’m not saying that this charter school is perfect. It’s not but the truth is, no school will ever be perfect. You just have to decide what you can live with and what is a deal breaker. For us, any issues at our charter school are minor and acceptable compared to the total nightmare of our assigned public schools. The positives far outweigh the negatives in our experience. 

1. Smaller class sizes. At his old public high school Tyler had anywhere from 28-35 kids in his classes. Sometimes there weren’t enough desks and there were never enough text books. Now he has 15-18 kids in his classes and everyone is really engaged. 

2. Active parents. The fact that there is no free transportation and no lunch program means that parents have to really want their kids to attend this school. It requires a lot. There’s a very active Facebook page full of parents, and everyone is super involved in the school. It’s amazing! I feel like we joined a family, instead of a school.

3. Strong academics. Tyler learned more in one year than he has in the previous 3 in public school. The standard classes are the equivalent of the Honors classes in our public school system. Tyler’s grades went up simply because the teacher spent the entire class period teaching instead of dealing with behavioral issues. 

4. Required service hours. Tyler is required to do 40 hours of service per year. I love this. It forces teenagers to look outside themselves and offer service to other people. And teenagers are notoriously self-absorbed as a general rule. Tyler helped the football coaches collect and catalog gear at the end of the season, he helped them run a skills camp for the younger players, he helped teachers move furniture…he got involved. 

5. Sense of community. Tyler played both varsity football and basketball. He made a ton of friends. Matt and I made just as many friends. We tailgated with the football parents, we did dinners with the basketball parents. I had girls nights with other moms that I met. It’s a culture at this school and I love it so much.

6. Uniforms. Do you know what you see at public high school? Girls wearing booty shorts and bikini tops with high heel sandals. Boys with their shorts down around their knees. Know what you see at charter school? Uniforms. It’s awesome. I love it. No fighting over what clothes they want to wear and nobody knows who the more affluent families are because everyone is wearing the same stuff.

7. Extra supervision. My poor kids. They have no idea the amount of extra eyes that are on them every day. I have good friends who teach in the lower school (grades K-5). I’m friends with coaches in the middle school. I have friends who substitute teach in the upper school, I’m friends with the registrar, and I saw the admin assistant so much last year because of Tyler that she’ll let me know in a hot minute if something is going on. Nothing goes on with my kids that I don’t hear about. I love that. 

8. One campus. This might be my favorite thing. All 4 of my kids will be on the same campus. The lower school, middle school, upper school, athletic center, fine arts building, and STEM building are all self-contained on one property. If one of my younger kids has an issue, Tyler and Maia are right there for help. We never have to adjust to a new school again- Zoey will be on one campus from 1st grade until she graduates high school. I love that!

All in all, putting our kids in this charter school has been the best decision we could have ever made for them and for us. Our quality of life has increased ten fold over the last year. Charter school isn’t for everyone- it’s a lot of work for parents too- but for us it was so worth it. 

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5 Thoughts Mom Have At The End Of The School Year

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We are T-11 school days left in this year for the 2 youngest kids. Tyler is done for the year and Maia has 5 days left. I’m almost there. I’ve almost made it, y’all. I’m running seriously low on energy, brain cells, and cares at this point. My brain has hit the end of the school year wall. It’s a real thing. Don’t believe me? Here are 5 thoughts that ran through my very tired brain in the last few days. 

1. We just spent 3 hours at the pool. That totally counts as a bath, right? They smell good- like sunscreen and chlorine. The chemicals in the pool are even better than soap. They sanitize the pool water from all those little germy gross toddlers so they surely cleaned my kids off better than the kids body wash. Yep. They’re good. No shower time fights tonight. 

2. I have 7 slices of bread, 4 slices of ham, a half can of tuna, a can of olives, and 3 bananas. I think we’re good. I don’t have to go to the grocery store for a couple more days. I can make it work. Ooh, there’s still 8 cheese cubes left. Boom. We’re good. 

3. What kind of sadistic teacher sends a project home in May? Seriously. What is the purpose behind this? I’m not doing this. No. It’s going to require glue. And glitter. And a poster board. I don’t have any more construction paper. I’m going to have to go to Wal*Mart. Why is this happening to me? 

4. If they turn their underwear inside out and I spray their clothes with Axe I can do that laundry tomorrow. I just freed up 2 hours. More margarita time in the hot tub for me. 

5. If one more end of the year event paper comes out of a book bag I swear I’m going to home school next year. I swear it. Well I’ll think about it anyway. Probably not. Where’s my calendar? Damn it. 

T-11 days. I can make it. If there’s a God in heaven I can make it. 

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9 Truths About The End Of The School Year

*Full Disclosure- parts of this post appeared last year on the blog around the same time of year. I’m phoning it in here folks. Phoning it in. But I’ve added some new stuff so keep reading. 

The end of the school year cannot possibly come fast enough for me, y’all. We are limping along, just limping to the finish line. I started out the year so bright and shiny with enthusiasm and plans. I don’t know where I lost it. Somewhere between the Thanksgiving play and the January snow days I assume. The new planner I bought to keep track of all the stuff was filled in faithfully for the first 4-ish months of the school year. But the last 6 months are completely blank and mocking me. I’ve given up. Let me give you some insight into what giving up means in this house by the time we reach mid-May.

1. All the reading logs are falsified. Totally fake and not even remotely believable. As if my 3rd grader read 45 pages of Anne of Green Gables. But the teacher clearly didn’t notice so I assume she’s given up too. 

2. Lunch boxes are no longer a work of art. Last week one kid went to school with a half eaten slice of pizza and half an orange. So basically whatever they don’t finish from dinner the night before gets tossed into the lunch box. Yesterday I tossed $10 at Mason on the way out the door because I had no change and no leftovers. I’m sure he bought ice cream and cookies. I do not care. 

3. School spirit is at an all time low. Spirit nights? PTA meetings? Talent shows? Volunteers for pretty much anything? No. 

4. My kids look homeless. We started out the school year with perfectly coordinated outfits free from stains or holes. At this point as long as they aren’t going to school in their pajamas, I’m ok with it. But if their pajama pants can pass for real pants I’m ok with those too. I’m calling it a gray area. I refuse to buy them new clothes because they will all be wearing uniforms next year so why bother? Even Tyler has given up. He’s gone to school 4 days in a row out of uniform. Nobody noticed. 

5. Their book bags are so disgusting that they could pretty much walk to school on their own. I think Mason might have some kind of a Science project growing in his. I might leave it there and actually use it as his Science project next year. 

6. Morning drop off gets later and later. My kids go to a late start elementary school so the final bell doesn’t ring until 9:15am. At the beginning of the year we were in the car line no later than 8:50 so they had time to get to class and unwind without rushing. These days we are screeching into the parking lot at 9:13 and the kids shoot out of the car like track stars at the starter pistol. 

7. Any further assigned projects that require my assistance will be half-assed. Period. I only give my whole ass to projects in the first 6 months of the school year. Maia had to do a book report that consisted of a poster about her chosen book. She did it herself and it looked good. Much better than the kid who brought in the poster with a DVD of Little House on the Prairie taped to the poster board. Zoey did her own map project this week. I don’t know what it was a map of. I don’t care. 

8. Attendance at year end events will be spotty and entirely dependent on whether or not there’s anything good on TV at that time. End of year picnics, field days, volunteers breakfast, athletic banquets, muffins for mom, awards ceremonies….can’t we do these at the beginning of the year when we all still care?

9. A bake sale planned in May means I will be sending in store bought treats. Guaranteed. And I won’t even try to fake it by arranging them on a nice plate. They’re coming in the original box with the price sticker still attached. 

See how far we have fallen? I’d like to be embarrassed but I’m too tired. I just need it to end. Immediately. 

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