I sometimes day dream about yellow school buses and shiny lunch boxes. I remember how much I loved the first day of school, dressing up in new clothes, carrying my new backpack… HAPPY to go back to school for another year.
I was ONE OF THOSE.
I loved school. No, I loved seeing my friends at school. Yes. That was it. I sort of enjoyed some of my classes. I drudged or yawned through some of the others. I enjoyed ALL the electives (because, again, I was ONE OF THOSE.)
The best part was sitting around with friends before school started or chatting at lunch, or hanging in the library during study period.
Clearly – it was all about the socializing.
Because I’m also one of those social butterfly types. I had a lot of friends, A FAIR AMOUNT of drama, a handful of enemies at any given time and pretty good grades. School was never the hell hole for me that it can be for some students. (That it was for some people that I knew.)
And because I enjoyed it so much, I get nostalgic when “back to school” rolls around and kids start picking out their school clothes and talking about their new teachers. Just because I home school doesn’t mean that I hate public school, doesn’t mean that I don’t smile at all the cool “back to school” stuff in the stores.
But for all the fond memories, beckoning school supplies, and adorable young children lining up to go off to school in their hand picked 1st day outfits, it’s not enough to draw me back to the public school setting.
I didn’t choose to homeschool because of bad public school experiences. I’m not going to choose to public school because of good ones (especially since none of them have to do with the actual quality of education and more to do with passing notes and cute clothes.)
One might ask, “If you enjoyed it so much why aren’t you sending your kids there, too?”
I realize that these are the fond childhood memories I have because those are the childhood experiences I had. My children will have a completely different set of childhood experiences – they will look back and remember different good things and bad things. That’s a part of childhood, it’s inevitable. I just want to make sure that there are plenty of good things. I want my kids to look back and overall say that they enjoyed being homeschooled.
I get to thinking about those fond things again. Hanging out with my friends. The first day of school. New school wardrobes. New backpacks and lunchboxes. Extracurricular classes. We can have all that. We should.
As we prepare for the new school year on August 30, I need to start thinking about these things. We’ve always done a special breakfast on the first day of school, sometimes we take pictures, sometimes I forget. This year I definitely want to take first day of school pictures, in brand new first day of school clothes, with new school supplies, after having a special breakfast. Why? What’s the point?
Memories, dude, memories! Special memories don’t happen by themselves.
The first day of school was special because it was unlike the other days before it – though there were many days like it after it. Our first day won’t be special by itself, unless we make it a day different from the days before it, a day set apart from the rest of the days that are to come.
What special things do you do to set the first day of school apart? What are your favorite traditions or your new traditions you are trying out this year?