Back to School Rituals

Aug 28, 2010   //   by simplicity   //   Simple Seasons  //  1 Comment

A friend of mine recently posted on her facebook status that she had “completed her back to school chores”.  While I smirked at her tongue-in-cheek comment, I also felt sad that she has a negative view of this time of the year.  I think the best yearly ritual (honestly, it ranks right up there with Christmas for me) is back-to-school shopping and organizing.  My mother was only too happy that I felt that way.  As soon as I had my driver’s license in hand I was in charge of bringing my younger brother and sister out ever August to pick the perfect notebooks, pens, pencils and uniforms.

Every year we’d come home from the store with our new supplies, spread them out on the kitchen table and start labeling them with a brand new jet black Sharpie.  We’d rip the thin plastic wrap off of our packs of freshly-milled paper and put it into our three ring notebooks.  Maybe I’m just a bit obsessive-compulsive when it comes to organizing, but the other crucial part of this ritual was crossing off items from the school’s supply list.  My sister and I would pack and repack our backpacks, making sure everything was perfectly aligned (I have to confess that I don’t remember my brother getting super-pumped about his backpack….he was more of a ‘pen’ guy).  The signal that school was finally, really about to start was the ‘back to school’ photograph that my mom would religiously insist on.  Before we got on the bus or in the car for the first day of school, we lined up on the front porch to pose.  It was a comfortable and predictable way to transition from a loosely flowing summer to the structure of school– if we were returning to elementary school, making the shift to junior high or starting a whole new chapter of our lives in high school, the ritual was always the same.

Alexandra doesn’t have too much to get ready for her first year in Waldorf mixed-age kindergarten, but we’ve made a big deal of picking out a new raincoat (pink), rainboots (pink), indoor shoes (guess what color) and a neat little cardboard photo box to store her extra clothing in at school.  In Minnesota we don’t start school until after Labor Day, so we have a few more weeks of sweet low-key summer before setting everything out on the table and fastidiously labeling all of her items.  I can guess that I might shed a little bittersweet tear when I pose her on our front porch to document that first day and set our own back-to-school ritual in place.

Amy Marotz holds her B.A. Degrees in English and Studio Art from St. Olaf College and her M.A. in Education from Bethel University. After teaching middle school English and Art for several years, she is now enjoying life as a stay-at-home teacher of one. In February of 2010 she discovered Simplicity Parenting while taking a Waldorf parent-toddler class, and has been hooked ever since. Visit her blog at What’s Happening In Alex’s World.

1 Comment

  • Love it. What a simple yet sweet ritual to begin with your daughter.


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