Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Not Ready

It's that time of year.

School starts for Bug tomorrow. School supplies are all bought, labeled, and packed.
Requisite forms and fees have been completed and paid. New clothes have waiting. New teacher has been met, new classroom visited.

Amid the hustle and excitement surrounding the new school year, I seem to find myself in the minority.

I'm a parent who doesn't want school to start.

Before you start and tell me that it's easy to feel that way, because Hubster stays home with the boys while I work, let me say, Hubster doesn't want school to start either.

We are excited for the new things that third grade will bring for Bug: multiplication, cursive (both of which he insists he already knows.) His teacher is great, he already has friends. He'll do amazing things, learn new things, and have a great time.

I still don't want school to start.

It's not just the way that saying "third grade" makes me panic a little about Bug getting older every second. It's not just that school starts means the summer is officially over and winter is getting closer.

I love the time that summer gives us together as a family. Long afternoons in the backyard. Camping trips. Sprinklers, popcicles, the lake, fireflies. We get to enjoy everything so much more because there are no interruptions to our time together. Nothing to hurry our time together. During the summer, any schedule that exists is our own. No early morning rush, no deadlines. I love the uninterrupted expanse of togetherness that summer provides.

I'm not at the end of my rope, trying to keep my children entertained. I'm not desperate to get them out of the house and onto school. I'm not sick of them. They are not (usually) driving me crazy. I love that no matter when I get home, they are there. Hubster can take them swimming or to the park on a whim. If we want to stay up late watching the stars or a thunderstorm, we can. And do.

I've heard criticism of the traditional school year when compared to year round school. People say that with a three month break, children forget what they learned the year before, and by the time summer is over, they are bored. We bought Bug and Monkey an activity book for the next grade, to do a couple of pages in each day. They haven't forgotten things. And it was another activity they enjoyed. And I will tell you, they are definitely not bored. I might have heard the dreaded "B" word once. It was instantly met with offers to either do laundry, yard work, or tiny the basement. The word wasn't said once.

There was something as a child about having those three summer months in front of you, loaded with possibility. The joy of summer was tangible. And I also think there is benefit to children learning to entertain themselves. Using their imagination. And for parents, learning to enjoy their children.

School starts tomorrow.

The backpack is full, clothes laid out, schedule in place.

School starts tomorrow, but we're not ready.


  1. Oh, how I feel for you!! Hang in there mama - just think you prepared Bug to be the best that he can be - and it will go well!

    Sounds like you could use some rocks in your jellies right about now, too.


  2. I can relate to everything you just wrote!

  3. How was the first day??? I read this yesterday, but couldn't comment for some reason. I was thinking about the boys today.

    I agree that I don't want school to start for the same reasons. There is just something about summer...

  4. I can understand why you feel that way.

    I've seen that the parents that really, truly enjoy spending time with their kids are usually at least a little reluctant to say good bye to summer and send their kids off to a new school year.

    The whole idea that kids forget everything over the summer break is ridiculous. Test scores used to be higher, not lower. Graduation rates used to be higher, not lower. It seems to me that kids aren't forgetting what they've learned. They aren't learning it in the first place.