“ Have you done the booklist for back to school yet?”
This is what my mother-in-law called to ask me one hot day in early August and I immediately thought, ‘Smaddy come for this lady’. My peace was shattered because I realized, summer holidays aren’t as long as they felt when I was a child. Back to school is just around the corner, which means preparations should have long started.
Our Inside, Pandemic Riddled Summer
I was very happy for the summer holidays and I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, parents, deserve summer breaks as much as kids do. It was nice not having run around like a headless chicken watching the clock forever tick. Most days, even though the summer was spent trying to survive horribly hot days and hiding from the heat and COVID19 indoors, it was restful.
We managed to outside a few times, but we mostly spent it all at home.
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The little one ate like a day-old chick wanting food at every turn and my living room was in a perpetual state of disarray. I’ve been known to toss the iPad in her direction to get some peace from her pent-up energy and those textbooks I planned to have her finish out never happened (mom confessional). All in all though, it was really nice having her around all day every day for a while.
The random movie and popcorn days and nights attempts at making Tik Tok videos and watching her laugh as she tells me some really stiff four-year-old joke were lovely.
But now, that’s coming to an end. Well, hopefully. Cases numbers are rising again. There have been lockdowns and curfews and a lot could still change in just a few days.
As a mom coming into my own with a single young chick, I often feel a bit of awareness when very adult, parent-type things are required of me. With ‘September morning’ on the wings, I have been made to realize I’m a real-life grown-up.
Is that just me? Do any other moms feel like that?
Free Paper ‘Bun’
As a kid, towards the end of the holidays, right up on the heels of a ‘washout’ with a strong round of bitters or worm medicine, Caribbean parents tell you that yuh ‘free paper bun’.
It means, your free time has all been used up and it’s time to get back to work (school life). I just didn’t realize, the adult’s free paper was burning right along with ours.
My kid is going back to school, which means I’m back to buying books and supplies, tending uniforms and shoes, hair for the week, managing snack stocks, setting and managing schedules for extracurricular activities, drop offs and pickups, laundry days, grocery runs and checking for homework and projects and ahhh… crap. I’m tired already.
I’m going to splash some honest sauce here and say none of this is appealing. But it’s my job. The parenty things. It feels like things people who are much more adult than I am should be doing. It must be done, though and I want to do them the best way I know-how. This is Motherhood. This is Parenting.
Psssh! “Have a kid!” they said.
On the other hand, I’m pretty proud. My little Pepperseed really got comfortable in the school environment last year and put in the work. She’s heading off to pre-primary class and it just reminds me of how fast she is growing up.
“Mommy, I’m a big girl.” is her mantra.
Back to School Face to Face Classes in 2021?
Whether or not face-to-face classes can resume is currently a point of contention as Jamaica battles a third wave of the virus and the Ministry of Health officially announced the delta variant is here. Vaccination hesitancy is unfortunately still a thing, and efforts are ongoing. The government has also stated, only vaccinated students over twelve years old can return to face-to-face classes in September. Naturally, our own little one is too young.
We’re lucky as I mentioned in previous posts, her school is small. We hope that will again allow for continuation.
Hubby and I had agonized over the decision to send her out in January, and we were very relieved to say it was the right one for the last two terms. She caught up to her age group pretty quickly and excelled. The peer interactions were also an important takeaway and we felt comfortable that the school upheld their Covid policies to the best of their abilities.
Throughout both terms, there was an association scare with an employee once, resulting in a shutdown for a few days. Happily, it turned out to be just that.
We’ll have to come back to the table for this new school year, weighing our options regarding the overall risk.
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What Happened to Homeschooling?
The other day, a reader asked me what became of my plans to homeschool. I did do it for the first semester of her preschool year (Pre-pandemic) and the simple answer to that question, without shame, is that I was very quickly humbled in that regard. I am not a teacher. It is not for me, so in January 2020, I packed her up and shipped her off to school.
As we all know things shut down in March 2020, and in the nine months she was home, not a lot was taught. I made sure she wouldn’t eat her name on a bulla without knowing what it said of course, but I certainly wouldn’t have thought of teaching her about plants needing water, air, sunlight and nutrients or helping her plant a seed to grow her own.
That said, I’m terrified she won’t be able to return, because I do believe she is still too young to take much out of online classes, especially with the dynamic of our home life. At her age, she would need someone to keep her focused enough to keep paying attention through entire lessons.
To be frank, that will be next to impossible if she is home. Plus, we did a few weeks of the remote option occasionally as required last term and bruh. Between hubby and I? No. I mean we do what we have to but… no.
The Ultimate Kindergarten Back to School List 2021
Whether schooling is face-to-face or remote, shopping back-to-school items will now be a yearly ritual for us as parents. Here is my complete kindergartener’s back to school list in 2021 to prepare for back to school in a pandemic that I’m shopping from. Some things are from her book list and others I’ve added for my own child based on what we do.
- Uniforms (Including socks, ribbons, belts, etc.)
- School Shoe(s)
- Hair Accessories
- Backpack, Lunch Bags, Water Bottles, Igloos, etc.
- Extracurricular Activities Gear (Swimming, Dancing, etc.)
- Reading Books
- Whiteboard Markers
- Washable Glue
- Glue Sticks
- Electronic Device (Laptop/Tablet/iPad)
Creative Learning and Play
- Poster Paint
- Scrap Book
- Paint Brushes
- Coloured/Plain Fudge Sticks
- Plastic Smock
- Paper Scissors
- Construction Paper
- Cartridge Paper
- Typing Sheets
Play and Rest
- Building Blocks
- Table Top/Floor Puzzles
- Lace Set
- Colouring Book
- Designated School Toy(s)
- Pillow and Case(s)
- Paper Towels
- Hand Soaps
- Face Masks
- Ziplock Bags
It’s Actual Back to School for Mommy Reid, Too
On the flip side, I’m going back to school, too. It’s been over seven years since I’ve been consumed with learning and assignments and all that on a full-time basis, so I expect it will be quite an adjustment in addition to the parenty things.
Boobles isn’t in school anymore, having completed his residency, so no back to school for him. His schedule is a lot more predictable, stable. That is definitely a plus for the heavy lifting at home.
It’s my turn to really focus on my career for the next few years (snaps for the super supportive husband) and I’ve decided the first step in doing that is to dive back into the academic pool.
I’ve done a few professional certificate courses over the last few years but nothing lasting more than a few weeks. Now I have a full-time table to juggle around with everything else.
I’ll be alright though. Isn’t that the way of millennial powerhouse women?
Prayer, a super supportive husband, coffee and determination. I’m golden.
What does that mean for the Blog?
I’m hoping the answer to this question is, not much. This blog is an important part of me. In truth, it has much to do with my current studies and getting into my program. I’m not delusional enough to think I’ll be posting two to three times a week every week, especially with a heavier class load. I am hoping I’ll still be able to crank out at least one post per week in a longer format, even in the thick of it. (This post is practice. It’s not so bad, huh?)
I know you guys will understand either way, but pray and root for me!
I’m super excited about this new chapter. We’ve come so far and have so much farther to go. I can’t be anything but grateful for my journey and all I have been given.
Are you a parent or student? Are ready for the back to school season? Tell me in the comments if you’re a seasoned back to school mom or if you’re new at this too.