Sunday, September 11, 2016

Welcome back to school...sigh

I recently read a story about how to prepare your child for going back to school. It was full of all sorts of interesting and helpful suggestions, tips and advice for helping your child make the transition from the care-free days of summer to the regimented routine of a public school system.
When I was a child, the only thing we did to prepare for going back to school was go shopping for books, paper, pencils, erasers, (wine for mom and dad to celebrate our return to school) and even some new clothes – which, of course, you could not wear on the first day because it was not considered 'cool' to look your best.
Instead, you wore the same ratty jeans you had on at the last day of school from the previous year. Like a fine wine (the kind parents use to celebrate back to school) you had to let the new clothes sit and 'age' for a while.
At least a week, then you could wear a new shirt. A few days later you would venture out in your new jeans and then your new shoes. Eventually you would head out with all of the new clothing on at the same time, but by now school had been in session for at least a couple weeks so you were not branded a geek for wearing new clothes on the first day.
And if memory serves, there was a whole bunch of other reasons you were branded a geek. Or so I have been told anyway.
Anyway, the article recommended all sorts of things to help the youngsters get back into the school groove before school even starts.
They suggest you start preparing your children two weeks before the big day by doing things like establishing a routine, explain expectations, hold those expectations to a realistic level, talk to your child about school etc.
All good advice indeed. When I was a kid heading back to the seventh level of hell, er, I mean school, the only prep we had was seeing those horrid back-to-school commercials on TV.
They would start a couple weeks before the nine months of torture would resume and had the never-failing result of ruining the last vestiges of summer you had yet to enjoy.
Who could enjoy late August when you knew your care-free days were numbered? Not I.
As for my parent's role in preparing me for school, if I recall it went something like this: School starts next week.
The end.
That was about it. A quick reminder I was about to lose my freedom to the dungeon masters of the public education system for another year.
There was no advice on how to get used to going back to school, there were no pep talks, no cushioning the blow – just one day you are enjoying summer, the next you are chained to a desk learning that most evil form of math - algebra.
The first day of school we would find our name on a list taped to the side of the school that let us know what kind of a school year we were in for.
The list told us what our homeroom was and what courses we were taking and when. Groaning and gnashing of teeth was heard throughout the day as people saw their short-term future printed before them in black and white.
You would then run around to all your friends to see if you shared any classes with them which either led to rejoicing or more of that gnashing I was telling you about.

But it only took a few days to get back into the routine and in the back of my mind was always the reassurance that summer vacation was less than 300 days away.

Copyright 2016, Darren Handschuh    

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