Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Back to school

And they're off! School started this week for my small Bears. The LB's first day was Tuesday and the GB's today, Wednesday. Each headed back to school in a cheerful mood, looking forward to new experiences. Each seems to be happy with his or her class and teachers. I know they will both have a wonderful year. As for me, there's a little bit of freedom several mornings a week and I am already using it wisely: this morning saw me shopping at Target and World Market. I had places to go and things to buy. This is my second year of having both kids in school some of the time; this year it was much easier to say goodbye to them both, especially the GB. She's growing up too. There wasn't a single tear this time; she saw her little girlfriends and left me in the dust, which is exactly as it should be.

Back-to-school is one of my favorite times of year. It's almost like Christmas for me. Do you like it too? When I was growing up, I dearly loved school. The routine of it, the structure, the clear expectations. I enjoyed playing school at home too; a neighbor worked as a school secretary and would bring me discarded textbooks to play with. I made attendance books and worksheets and hall passes. I was a benevolent but firm pedagogue. Later, I became an actual teacher, which was harder than teaching my dolls, but I loved that too. School was my happy place. I had mostly good teachers throughout my education; I still keep in touch with my kindergarten teacher. If you're willing to write to me, for better or worse, you have a pen-pal for life.

One of the best things about back-to-school time was the smells. I loved the smell of chalk and I think kids today are missing out with white-boards in most classrooms. I think I became a teacher in part because I love chalk. And new books, new yellow #2 pencils and Pink Pearl erasers. I love the smell of Elmer's School Glue. I disliked the smells of mucilage and rubber cement, but I loved the minty scent of Elmer's Paste, in the little pot. I love the smell of Crayola tempera paints and finger paints. Do you remember the smell of finger paints? Oh, I love that. I loved paste wax on the gym floor and vegetable soup on "Energy Day" (for conservation of electricity, a carry-over from the 1970's fuel crisis) in the cafeteria. And finally, the smell of fresh asphalt always makes me wistful; where I grew up, early fall was the time to re-seal driveways and parking lots, and the smell of freshly-laid asphalt baking in the warm sun always reminds me of going back to school. What are your school-smell memories?


  1. There little back packs hanging are so cute in the picture, I used to love the start of school, all the new supplies pens pencil cases and notebooks and new pack lunch boxes. Happy days
    Clare x

  2. I think the only thing I loved about back to school was the new stationary ... my school days weren't the happiest. But your two bears sure look happy to be setting out on a new school year :)

  3. How cute they both look heading back to school. I also loved the smell of new
    books, pencils/crayons, and dare I say ink lol I got to use nib pens way back
    when lol.

  4. I also loved the Elmer's paste in a pot with the brush! Not so sure about the smell though! I loved wearing a new dress on the first few days because after that it was uniforms all year long. I also loved the new packs of lined paper and the boxes of crayons that all had their points!

  5. Aw, how wonderful! They seem to be in very cheerful moods. I also love the picture of them on their way out the door with their backpacks. I hope they have a lovely school year. :)

  6. Oooh I loved school too. I used to play schools at home with my toys and my sister. I loved stationary and exercise books and being taught and my teachers and, oh, everything!!

    I loved this post Jennifer. Wistful, happy. I'm glad that your little bears are enjoying school too.

    Leanne xx

  7. I also used to play school with my dolls - of course they didn't do much work but I had lots of fun setting up the seating arrangements and making little books! I still love the smell of stationary and joy of joys I am now the art coordinator at our school so it is down to me to order and organise our art stock room - bliss! Your Bears looks so confident and happy - hope they've had a good first week back x Jane

  8. Hi Jennifer, Lovely back-to-school post!!!Your bears look so cute and it's great that they loved going back-to-school!!!Have a fab day!!!

  9. Our schools don't start for another couple of weeks! I'm so glad that the children went off so enthusiastically! It's hard though! Even though you've done you're job still touches a sore place inside!
    I loved the walk down memory lane as you talked about all th school smells! Thanks. Joan

  10. It's always an exciting time for children - yours clearly love school and look so adorable heading off : )

    There was just my daughter and I at home and I used to dread the day she
    had to start back at school. She's 17 and a college student now and I still
    hate to see her go back after the Summer holidays (which, here in the UK isn't until September).

    I adore the smell of poster paints, crayons and plasticine : )

  11. Well I never enjoyed school quite as much as you did but I did look forward to getting new clothes and shoes. Mostly my mom sewed our clothes which made them even more special. Getting to see old friends was fun too. After about 2 weeks though the fun usually wore off and then I'd start looking forward to May. Good memories though. I home school my kids now and even though it's different. It's a good sort of different. Hope your children have a wonderful year!

  12. I'm glad your little bears are so happy to be starting school. You have a nice mix of homeschool and classroom time - something that wasn't available back in the Dark Ages when I homeschooled my kids. :-)

    My school memories are mixed, especially when it comes to my younger years. Mostly I was bored out of my mind. If it hadn't been for the little library and the excitement of ordering books every month from the Arrow Book Club (I think it was through Scholastic) I think I would have become a problem child. :-)

  13. I always sort of hated the first day of school when we were forced to wear a dress, which was no longer "a thing". I liked to dress up, but I was stiff and uncomfortable the first day. I went to a country school, and everyone knew everyone else and where they lived, and who was related, who had the best animals and who rode horses. I remember when I first started there (9 years old) we had to draw a picture of what we liked best about coming back to school. I drew a picture of the school bus because it was new and FUN! to ride a school bus to school. My classmates thought I was nuts as they hated the long drives to and from school. I learned to hate them too after a while (no better place to be picked on than on a bus away from the scrutiny of teachers and a bus driver who was more focused on the road). I enjoyed school though, and loved to meet up with my friends to skip rope! It seemed ALL the girls skipped and we'd have great lines of girls running through the ropes together singing the rhymes. There was a strong sense of comradery amongst my fellow schoolmates, and I find it interesting that so many of the kids that went to that school have linked up again through Facebook, whether they were friends back then or not. Lots of memories from that time :) Wendy

  14. When you takes me RIGHT THERE!
    I do remember the smell of new notebooks...
    You must have been a wonderful Teacher, Jennifer...
    Such a caring, loving, tenderness in you...
    I truly enjoyed reading this post...
    Now....what did you buy at Target?? Ha!

    Linda :o)

  15. How lovely that both your children enjoy school so much. My Miss M loves school too - she returns to school on Monday and is very much looking forward to it! I loved the smell of the paints at school and the chalk too, but I really dislike the feeling of chalk on my hands. I agree with what someone else said, I bet you were such a lovely teacher to have.
    Marianne x

  16. Funny, I don't remember any smells from school! Primary school was good though when you went back because the wooden floors had all been polished over the summer and you could see your reflection in them for about the first half hour before they got all footprinty!

  17. Oh Jennifer, you brought back great memories!!! Chalk.... those were the days! Now our kids will remember the smell of dry erase markers!!
    The smell of crayons, the smell of erasors..... snnniiffffffff..... the smell of glue.... now you have me all excited :) I go back Tuesday!!
    Tammy x

  18. Jennifer it is so long since I went to school I cant really remember many smells! The school dinner smell will probably never leave me and disinfectant!
    I used to love the autumn term when my boys were little, so much to look forward to.

  19. So many memories! I distinctly remember the lunchbox/banana smell. It's not altogether unpleasant. Lunchboxes always smell of bananas somehow.

    I love September and always feel more new-year-ish then than I ever do in January. It's a time for new challenges and projects. I'm really happy your bears settled back in well. x

  20. Friendship are my best school memory's, I ended up as a pre school teacher, seems to be a lot of us in blog land. Glad yor kids had a good start to to year.

  21. What a sweet post, I am glad that your kids arr off to a good start on the new school year and that you get some time for yourself too. I had a bit of a love/ hate relationship with school myself. I loved the start of a new school year, covering my books and getting new staionary and supplies was one of my favourite things, I still like buying new stationary now :)

  22. Such a lovely, sweet post!

    I am not sure if I am looking forward to the kids going back to school, I think I just get so scared of them growing up - where is the time going?!?! My middle girl will be in full time from September and that scares me a lot! But she is so ready for it. I do love all of the preparation, new uniforms, new books, new bags and also to catch up with all of my mum friends, finding out what they have been doing over the summer. It's great you will have three mornings spare - enjoy!x

  23. They look so cute and ready to go! Glad to hear they were excited about school! My daughter will start preschool for the first time in two weeks and I am a little sad, nervous, happy, all of the above I guess. I actually caught myself tearing up today as I thought about it. I think I will feel better once we get that first day behind us. I hope my daughter does well. She is very attached to me and we have only ever left her with my mom for babysitting. They grow up too fast. I welcome any advice, as I am so new to all of this. Thanks!


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