Back-to-school time is one of my favorite times of year. I get nostalgic about the excitement I felt as a girl and even as a college student every fall. Fresh starts. New pens and post-its. The crisp, clean pages of an untouched notebook ready to be filled with notes.
Growing up as one of seven kids, I had what you might call a minimalist childhood. We always had everything we needed, but we definitely survived on hand-me-down clothes and shoes, even if they once belonged to the opposite sex. It made back-to-school time all the more special because we were treated to something new–a pair of shoes or a fresh pair of jeans of our very own.
Now that my oldest daughter is about to embark on her own school journey, I get to experience the excitement of the back-to-school season anew. There are the jitters, but there’s mostly excitement.
Here’s what I’m doing to prepare for the first day of school:
Getting school supplies.
Have you heard of Target’s School List Assist? You type in your zip code and voila! There’s your school supplies list. Target magically culminates all of your supplies and all you have to do is click “Add to Cart” and it’s done! But, you know, there is the drawback that you don’t get to peruse through the Lisa Franks.
Our school also has a service put on by the PTA where you can order a package of your school supplies from them, this is another convenient option if it’s available to you. While you’re shopping, if you’re able, throw in a few extra highlighters or post-it notes for the teacher–they do the thankless job of purchasing a lot of their own supplies and can always use extra!
Getting some good shoes.
She’s got to have good shoes for tromping around the school and showing kindergarten P.E. class who’s boss. My dear mother-in-law just treated my daughter (and me!) to new running shoes like these. They are genius and great for the young student in your life. They’ve got a little whale picture inside–the head of the whale is on the liner of the left shoe and the tail of the whale is on the liner of the right shoe, so my daughter will be independent in getting her shoes on the right feet. She feels like she’s putting a puzzle together every time she gets her shoes on and I won’t worry about the mean kids teasing her for having her shoes on the wrong feet. Ah, the little things I fret about…
Splurging on a personalized backpack.
I like to think I’m normally super practical and this is not exaaaaactly along those lines. I think they might call it “living vicariously”? Garnet Hill has a sale going on until September 6 (or while supplies last!) where you get a free (normally $20) matching lunch box! (DOUBLY LIVING VICARIOUSLY.) There are also good choices at LL Bean or Pottery Barn Kids. P.S. LL Bean has their 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, so if anything happens to it, like, ever in your kid’s life, you can exchange it for a new one.
There are families in our community who regularly go without the necessities and who don’t have money to buy extra things like school supplies, fresh shoes, fancy backpacks, or even school lunch. As we enjoy the excitement of the coming school year, I encourage you to share your excitement with a family in need. You can do this by participating in one of our great community’s school supply drives like this one, held by Orchard Place until August 31, or this one, held by the West Des Moines Human Services until August 14.
Another idea is to fill another kid’s lunch card while you’re adding money to your child’s account. Did you know that in some schools if a child has a negative account balance, they’re given an alternative lunch? I.e. a cheese sandwich and a side; i.e. pointing out their struggle to all their peers. Agh, it makes my heart hurt. If you’re in the Des Moines Public School system, you can donate to an account by going to this link. Other districts may require a call to your school administration office, but I’m sure they’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.
Enjoying the last few days of summer.
You wanna go to a splash pad and have Lunchables for dinner every night this week? Yes.
You want to go for a bike ride when it’s 85 degrees? SURE!
You want to eat a popsicle at 8:30? Mmmmmno, mama needs her sleep. 🙂