Happy Thursday! I am linking up with Holly and Patti like I do on the last Thursday of every month to answer a few questions about something seasonal. This month we are talking end of summer and back to school.
I would just like to say that IT’S STILL SUMMER!! I know that Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer, but I keep summering until late September. In fact, I officially summer from Memorial Day weekend through late September every year. I do acknowledge that back to school time is like the start of a new year. And I look forward to the fresh start.
1 – Do you have kids going back to school and what does that look like? What is your plan?
My kids and I are starting school 100% virtual. Their schedules will closely mirror their in person school day. Throughout the day, they will meet with their teacher and whole class, have independent work time, and small group instruction with their teachers via Google Meet. I will be teaching my classes throughout the day also. Jeff’s school is going back in a hybrid model and he will be working from home on Wednesdays. So we need 4 separate areas for people to work. Right now the plan is I will work at the desk in the living room/library.
Luke will work at the dining room table like he did last year.
Jack will work at the desk we put in the guest room.
On Wednesdays, Jeff will throw a card table up somewhere in the house. We can also put someone at the kitchen counter. I have a feeling I will have a lot of steps and trips up and down the steps to make sure everyone is logged on when and where they should.
I am working really hard to keep a positive attitude about all of this. I do think we can make the best of it and that I will do everything I can to make sure everyone is learning and thriving. I am thrilled that my kids have a break in the middle of the day for lunch and recess. Even though I hate it, I am going to pack lunches the night before so they can eat quickly and get outside to play and burn off some energy.
2 – Do you have any current back to school traditions?
We always take pictures on the front porch on the first day of school. Last year we had to do them in the front yard because we were getting a new roof that day.
On Friday afternoon, we always go out for ice cream or frozen yogurt to celebrate a great week. This year we will probably go to the pool since our pool is staying open later.
3 – Did you have any back to school traditions growing up?
We always took first day of school pictures on the front porch. We usually got new backpacks and lunch boxes. My mom would take us to the store and let us pick out our own school supplies – fun folders and notebooks, etc.
4 – New lunchbox? New backpack? Both?
My kids got new tote bags for preschool and they still use them all the time. I highly recommend these! (The kids use the regular size and I use the large size for our pool bag.)
I decided they would get new backpacks in kindergarten (LL Bean junior backpacks) and third grade (LL Bean regular or deluxe backpacks). I was going to get them new backpacks for middle school too but Jack doesn’t want one. He has an Under Armor backpack that he loves and is in great shape.
5 – Any special back to school meals?
Nope! I am working on creating a monthly meal plan for September. I usually plan by the week, but I think I’ll add more variety if I go monthly. We’ll see…
6 – What are the back to school outfits?
Usually my boys pick out an entire new outfit that consists of a polo shirt and gym shorts. That polo shirt doubles as their shirt for fall picture day – win win.
This year, they both picked out Vineyard Vines t-shirts and are excited about them. They are comfy and will look nice for that front porch picture.
7 – Especially this year how will you stay organized and get into a routine?
Oh, I have no idea! I am hoping that the boys’ school day schedules will pop them right into a routine. We are in the process of rearranging to create my library so I’ve dedicated an entire bookshelf to our virtual learning. Here’s a picture before it’s totally set up, but it gives the idea. Our printer and the kids chromebooks will go on the bottom shelf. The top two shelves will hold the books, resources, and school supplies they need to be successful. That way everything will be in one place at the beginning and end of the school day.
8 – Do you have any end of summer plans?
You bet I do!! Every year the boys and I take a trip in August and leave Jeff at home. Sports are usually starting up and he gets busy, so we get out of his way for a little while. For about 4 years we went to see my sister in Hilton Head. One year, we went to Connecticut and Massachusetts with my mom to visit the Basketball Hall of Fame and the Iconic Illustrators Trail museums (Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss, and Norman Rockwell). I highly recommend that trip if you can go. It was amazing!!
9 – What are you and your kids looking forward to this school year?
My kids said they are looking forward to seeing their friends, even though we are totally virtual. It was so sweet (and a little heartbreaking) that they just want to see their school friends’ faces. I am looking forward to a schedule beyond “it’s time to go to the pool” and “it’s time to go home”. I am also looking forward to seeing the sweet faces of all 475+ kids that I teach!
10 – Do you give teacher gifts?
You bet I do! Until this year, all of my kids’ teachers were my colleagues and I watched them work their butts off to teach my kids and every other kid in their classes. I give gifts to classroom teachers, instructional assistants, specials teachers, and any specialists my kids work with. For big groups (instructional assistants and specials teachers), I’ve done a few different group gifts. I’ve done a snack during their team meeting, coffee and bagels or donuts, lunch for the team, a bunch of fun magazines for their office, Papermate Flair pens, and notes from the kids and me. For classroom teachers, I’ve done gift cards and more personal gifts if I feel like I know them well enough.
See you tomorrow for Friday Favorites! Have a great day full of sunshine and books!