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Aug 25 2016

Back to School: Once More Into the Breach

Back to school_ once more into the breachDespite the sultry temperatures outside, the calendar doesn’t lie and so this morning Jack hopped on the big yellow cracker box to start 7th grade. It was a glorious summer, hot and sunny and fun and relaxing and chaotic and crazy and all things summer should be. But damn, I am glad school has started again. I’m ready for a little more routine, and I’m really ready for a full flute studio again. I am NOT ready for winter, so I shall enjoy my sultry temperatures as long as humanly possible.

This year I am making a stand. I am backing away, far away from the responsibilities the boys should be shouldering. By ages 12 and 15 they are relying on me a great deal more than they should, even taking twice-exceptionalities and puke poor executive function into account. Example. On Tuesday I was upside down scrubbing a toilet, sweating through my own stink, hair dangling into my eyes and mouth, when my darling son asked me to make him a smoothie because his braces had been tightened the day before and they hurt. Right. Lemme get right on that. Care for a little scrubbing bubbles in your smoothie? Because I am not yet a horrible mother, I did make him the requested smoothie (long after I had finished cleaning the bathrooms and my disgusting self), but walked him through it in such a way that he’ll be able to make his own if he ever wants another one again. I’m also sick to death of being the alarm clock for the both of them, a nagging alarm clock at that, so last night I splurged and bought the loudest alarm clock I could find; it even has a pad you put under the mattress to shake the everlovin’ heck outta the bed (<–yes, affiliate link, but dude, if this thing works, we’ll all be singing hallelujahs). Apologies to the neighbors for the 113 decibel alarm you’ll be hearing next week.

I have a good feeling about this school year, and I hope it’s not just the remnants of the lovely summer talking. One kid has an exciting multi-disciplinary college level co-op class for the year (along with math and writing and mom bugging him about covering other stuff), the other has cool new classes at the middle school. Both boys will be enrolled in Tae Kwon Do just as soon as I have my teaching schedule sussed out. As of today, everything is peaches. I may have even seen a rainbow-farting unicorn frolicking through the fog on the other side of the pond behind our house.

But I hesitate to relax, even a little; previous school years have beaten that into me. Don’t let your guard down, ’cause that’s when the other shoe not only drops but kicks you in the naughty bits. It’s a mean shoe, with pointy steel-tipped toes and glitter. The bruises it leaves take months and years to heal, if ever, and the glitter never goes away. So I don’t want a visit from The Shoe Of Glitter and Pain, thankyouverymuch.

My one tool against all of this is experience. I know what to say and how and when and to whom, and most importantly, if at all. I have resources and connections and a tribe.

And the one thing I want to share as we all start this school year?

We all have those. We all have experience and resources and connections and a tribe. Not a single one of us is diving back into the breach alone. As we muscle up and gird our loins for the next 9 months, I want you to imagine an entire mob of people who have your back. Instead of torches and pitchforks (as much as we’d like to sometimes), we’re carrying research, support, and wine (<–yes, affiliate link, of course!). WE GOT THIS, PARENTS! We’re going to be strong in the face of epic homework battles, we’re going to be strong in the face of IEP meetings, and we’re going to be strong in the face of a society that doesn’t understand why homeschooling is oftentimes the last and best option for G2e kids. We’re going to virtually band together and make this school year free of The Shoe of Glitter and Pain. We’re going to take care of ourselves so we can fight for (and also with) our amazing kids without running ourselves into the ground.

School Year 2016-2017. Now with less glitter, more wine, and a lot more tribe.

Let’s do this.

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7 comments

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  1. Christine

    This…

    “But I hesitate to relax, even a little; previous school years have beaten that into me. Don’t let your guard down, ’cause that’s when the other shoe not only drops but kicks you in the naughty bits.”

    …is exactly how I’m feeling right now. My son is going to a gifted magnet school for the first time and my daughter is attending a new project-based school and my preschooler is going to keep on keeping on at daycare, and everything looks great in theory, but I’m bracing myself for the other shoe. I’m trying to shake that feeling but it’s hard.

    1. Jen

      Breathe, work hard, plan harder, have patience, have faith (however you define it). That’s pretty much all we can do.

  2. Ingi

    In Australia, we are in second semester land, and having just been kicked by the shoe of glitter and pain at parent teacher night. We about a bazillion assessment tasks due. I’m really, really tired and really sick of winter (we don’t even get the fun of snow – it’s just fricking cold).

    But I admire your optimism and am off to click on the link for the big-ass alarm clock, having drunk too much wine last night. Sending you all the executive functioning skills in the world xxx

    1. Jen

      Ah bugger that! 🙁 I’m sorry.
      And…um…please, I gotta know? How cold are we talking here? 😉
      Hang in there, luv.

  3. Kathleen

    <3

  4. Melanie Luce

    Let us know how the alarm clock works. Need a solution for child #2 in our home. I fined #1 a dollar everytime she missed her alarm and I had to supplement. Worked great–she loved her money. Child #2 seems to not have quite the same attachment to her cash. And consequently never had cash, so it is hard to enforce anyway.

  5. Amanda

    Starting the homeschool adventure with my 7 year old – hoping and praying it goes well!!

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