Topic: K-12


Each and every summer there comes a moment when I feel a cold hand of panic propelling me toward the school supply aisle at the store. Usually it’s when I glance at the date and realize school starts within a few hours! Panic sets in, and my kids and I desperately search for the exact folder described on their supply list. It’s usually NOT the ones filling the shelves for 15 cents a folder. When I had all six children in school you can imagine the stress, the cost and the wails of small children left with the dredges picked over by much more organized moms.

After a few years my children were required to “shop” around our home before we ever even ventured out to a store. Usually the folders for sale the previous year that were NOT on the list, would be the hot commodity the next year, and often found in a dark closet somewhere in my house.

This year however, I remembered about halfway through summer to check to see if there was anything I could do earlier rather than later to make the start of the school year a little less stressful. I have decided to be proactive and not have my children slide into the first day of school with pencil nubs and chewed up pink erasers. I figure the last two deserve something special since the first four have worn me out.

To my amazement and wonder the school supply lists were already online. I gleefully printed them off and told my boys I had the lists. I was so surprised when I was met with horrified looks and shocked gasps.

“What?! It’s the middle of summer, mom! Why are you even thinking of that?!” Both boys were appalled and ran from the room in shock — not the reaction I was expecting.

With technology driving the way we work, go to school, prepare for school and even grocery shop, it should be easier than ever to prepare for the changing of seasons and transitioning back to the rigors of a school schedule.

I’ve been able to fill out forms, update information and digitally sign what used to seem like reams of paper. There are still some things that must be done in person, like the sports physicals, but honestly I’m waiting for a “doc in the box” to scan the boys via the internet and a video connection. Until then, here are a few tips for making this year’s transition back to the school schedule a little less harrowing:

  • Check online to see what paperwork might be available to take care of now, rather than those first few days. You will be saving trees AND your writing hand from cramping.
  • Find out if the school supply list is available and tuck it in your purse or wallet. Sales are going on all the time, and purchasing a bit each pay day instead of all at once can really help your back-to-school budget.
  • Schedule sports physicals sooner rather than later. Those appointments get booked fast and there are never enough of them!
  • Check the district and school-specific calendar of events, and get those important dates locked onto your family calendar. It’s a little painful to see all that white space fill up, but it’s better than missing an important event or scrambling to shift things around and arriving stressed and flustered at the last minute.

I feel like it’s a marathon once that first day of school arrives. If you don’t have on your running shoes and water staged along the way, it can be much harder to make it through to the holiday break finish line. In the spirit of enjoying life with school-age children rather than enduring it with your hair on fire, prepare, take a deep breath and get ready to enjoy the upcoming back to school shenanigans!