Parents Perspective

Back to school...finally!

Back to school...finally! 33870
My kids, like, oh, a million others in New York City, headed back to school today and let me say, this day couldn't come soon enough. Elsewhere in the country, schools have been in session for weeks already--in Virginia, say, where I have relatives, or in Kentucky where I grew up. But in New York, thanks in part to a pileup of Labor Day followed by the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, we seem to be starting later this year than any time in memory, even as the debate over whether the school year should be lengthened rages on. For our kids, the normal back-to-school excitement tipped over into the Anxiety Zone about a week ago, around the time the temperature changed from summer to fall(ish). And for me, the last-minute flurry of preparations (clothes shopping, drawer-tidying, pencil-collecting, laundry, laundry, laundry) has lasted a week longer than is typical--which is about a week more than I'd like.

We were all ready to get to it. The kids packed their backpacks and showered last night, anticipating having to to get up almost an hour earlier than they had been rising all summer.  We were striving for a relaxed morning today and I think we achieved it. At least Leo looked relaxed as he headed down the street with my husband to meet the bus. But he may have just been sleepy. His bus comes so early this year he'll have to work hard to get the right amount of sleep (10 hours per night according to this age-by-age sleep chart), especially with his late-night reading habit.

I love the unhurried days of summer...how my kids lounge in their PJs on some days, and on other days go to camp and try on new personalities, make new friends and experiment with new skills and activities. But that all got tired about three weeks ago. And I didn't relish having to remind them, endlessly, about the math packet or the reading assignments designed to a)prevent summer slide, b)torture kids, c)make parents feel like nags or d)all of the above. I'm not eager to give up summer vacation altogether, but I would welcome seeing it shortened if it meant that summer could truly be summer again, free of math packets, liberated from abc's, full of zzz's. What say you? School all year 'round, vs a full-on summer vacation? Weigh in!