Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back to School (and the Pool)

The school year has begun for everybody in our house.  I had start-of-the-year meetings to attend last week, and classes at the university started at the beginning of this week.  Susan had her teacher workshops Monday and Tuesday, and she started school today.  Our daughters got registered at their respective schools over the last couple weeks (remember?) and had open houses this past Monday and Tuesday in preparation for their own first day of school, which also was today.  We're getting back into our school-year routine . . . and I've got photos to prove it!

Abigail's open house was Monday afternoon.  She's at the sixth-grade school that Suzanna attended last year but with a different teacher from Suzanna's.  Abigail found her desk and locker and got to chat with her classroom teacher, her phy ed teacher, her music teacher, her gifted/talented teacher, and her librarian.

Hillary and I "chilled" while Abigail put her belongings into her desk.

The next afternoon, Hillary did pretty much the same thing at her school.  She's in the same building as last year, although last year it housed grades K-5, and this year it has grades K-4 (there are lots of kindergarteners in our district this year, so the fifth-graders had to squeeze into a different building to make room).  They were serving cups of ice cream outside Hillary's school, so she got a sweet treat before we left.

Here are Hillary, Abigail, and Suzanna all ready for the first-day-of-school walk from home to their separate buildings.  I walked with them the first few blocks, then Suzanna and Abigail went together the rest of the way to their schools (which are across the street from one another) while I walked Hillary the remainder of the distance to hers (which is adjacent to the university).

We don't have a photo of Suzanna from her open house Tuesday evening because it was quite a different kind of event (and not pause-for-a-photo-friendly).  She's now in a junior high school (grades 7-8) that has three floors--so not only will she be moving from one classroom to another each period, but she'll also be trucking her way up and down several flights of stairs throughout the day.  Her open house let the students and their parents do a "walk-through" of the school day but with class periods of only five minutes each.  We went to Suzanna's first-period room, heard an introductory spiel from that teacher, heard a bell, moved on to the second-period classroom, met that teacher, and so on until we had been to all the rooms that Suzanna will have class in this first term and met all her teachers.

And how was the first day of school?  Suzanna had been worried ahead of time about forgetting where she was supposed to be each period or how to get there or whether she'd make it on time . . . but all went well.  All three girls reported that today was an orientation day: getting school supplies put away and labeled and organized, learning about classroom rules and procedures and upcoming topics of study (e.g., Abigail's teacher read them a story about Egypt, which they'll soon study in social studies; and Hillary's teacher told them about their first science project: an insect collection), and getting reacquainted with old friends and meeting new classmates.

With the fifth-graders out of Hillary's building this year, she and her classmates are the "seniors" of the school!  So they have been called upon to do something that the fifth-graders used to do: be "buddies" for the kindergarteners during the first week of school.  Hillary was paired with a kindergartener to help during lunch, showing him how to get a tray, silverware, milk, and food; how to enter his account number (to pay for the day's lunch); where to sit; and how to throw his trash and return his tray and silverware after eating.

After school Hillary walked alone to the high school (where Susan teaches) to wait for Mommy's day to end and then to get a ride home.  Hillary told me that she liked walking alone: "I got to discuss to myself and tell myself what I liked about the day."  Abigail walked alone to our house, which she thought was fine, except for at intersections because of the challenge of deciding when to cross (judging whether oncoming traffic was slowing down for her or playing chicken with her).

Suzanna's friend's mom gave the two girls a ride to the West River Community Center for swim team practice after school.  Suzanna has joined the high school swim team (remember?), which has daily two-hour practices after school and 1.5-hour practices three days a week at 5:30 A.M.!  Suzanna hasn't been to one of those yet (and has the option to skip them altogether since she's just in seventh grade), but she's wiped out as it is from the afternoon practices.  During the swimming-as-a-club-sport season, her warmup involved swimming 400 yards; during the swimming-as-a-school-sport season, it has required swimming 4,000 yards.  And that's just the warmup!  On Tuesday we attended a picnic for team members and parents and learned that there are weekly swim meets, so Suzanna (and we) will be traveling a lot over the next few months.  Suzanna told me, "I enjoy swimming, but there's a lot of it on the high school team, so I get tired quickly.  And all the stairs at my school don't help!  I enjoy sitting down when I get home."

So, there you have it.  Back to the school-year routine . . . and happy about it!

Today was Susan's first day of school, too, so I had her pose with the other lovely ladies for the obligatory first-day-of-school photos.


  1. I remember grandma morey saving bugs for everyones insect collections. In fact, I quickly learned to NEVER show her any butterflies I caught in her garden. I did just learn the official way to pin insects though, which ended up being easier than I though. Anyway, good luck bug hunting Hillary! It sounds like everyone is getting settled back in to the routine of school. I've always been happy that Minnesota waits until after Labor day to start classes:)

  2. Wow....sounds like they all have alot on their plate. Did it sound like that to our relatives when we were young and going to all of our extra band practices, solo and piano accompanying rehearsals, sports practicing after school, etc?....I don't remember feeling like we were that busy! Glad to hear that all went well and it's nice that you're all so close that you can walk!