(Back to Reality)

CHK Back to School

Diddy started 1st grade this week.


But also:

Who are all these other American school children who agreed to pose for “first day of school” photos? Diddy certainly would not not not.

I had to sneak up on her and snap her before she looked up even to get this one:

CHK 201308 Eva 1st day 1st grade

Apparently she had better things to do. Like get to 1st grade. And her best friend. And the teacher she wished for all summer long and wouldn’t stop talking about. (Another hallelujah there, by the way.)

Good for her. And good for me, too.  I am so so so so ready for the kids to be in school. Why yes, this year ALL FOUR OF MY KIDS WILL BE IN SCHOOL.

YEE-HAW! And can I get an AMEN!

But not for another two weeks. Gaga and her brothers don’t start school till the second week of September and it can’t come fast enough. Summer was great. It really was. But summer is now over in our neck of the woods, and real life is back, and let me tell you:

Re-entry has kicked my ass.

It’s not easy to come home from a big ranch where your kids can run around with their cousins in the great outdoors and your parents are doing the large majority of the shopping and cooking and come home to … UMM. My house. Where I have to do all those things. Plus work. To say I have been a tiny bit cranky since we got back to LA would be an understatement. There’s just so much to do to get all the kids ready for school it’s kind of mind-boggling. The school clothes. The haircuts. The classroom supplies. The emergency bags (this being LA – earthquakes – and the kids’ school being at a synagogue – crazies, terrorists – each kid has to bring an emergency bag at the start of the new year). Plus, uh – the decluttering. It’s a sickness.

At the start of each school year I just compulsively believe that I have to do BETTER.

I can’t help it. I have to feel the house is cleaner and more organized and more ready to hum like a finely oiled machine. So I’ve been shedding and re-configuring and re-imagining like crazy. More accurately, like a crazy person. I am a crazy person. In the week I’ve been home:

  • I’ve decluttered all three kids’ closets. I’m particularly thrilled by the boys’ closet:

CHK closet

  • I’ve re-done our entryway to better accommodate the fact that four kids will be bringing school bags in and out of the house. (Ok to be fair, I hardly did that on my own. We had friends over on Saturday night to swim and bbq and the wife happened to mention she likes to build Ikea furniture. She is nuts. I love her. She and I built that CB2 cabinet while our husbands grilled chicken. I wonder how she feels about Elfa installs … hmmm …)

CHK entryway

And the piece de restistance:

  • I’ve created a homework and art-supply station in the cabinet by the front door.

CHK cabinet collage

Starting this week, we’re on a no-weekday-TV plan as Diddy supposedly has homework now that she’s in 1st grade. (She’s thrilled about this, by the way.) So I made her a homework box so she could do her assignments at the dining room table in the afternoons, and I made one for each of the other kids, too, so they could stay busy in what used to be TV time.

CHK homework box

What’s inside:

Pencils, markers, highlighters, tape, glue, scissors, a ruler, a stapler, a pencil sharpener, a small dry erase board for figuring out math problems (I grabbed that idea off of Pinterest), and a notebook for scrap paper and drafting purposes.

The boys’ boxes have significantly less in them. Pencils, crayons, paper, tape. Just enough so that they can feel involved.

And I bought a ton of new art supplies for the same purpose, and figure I can now just look at the weekend calendar and set the kids to their “homework” of making birthday cards and decorating wrapping paper and writing thank you notes in a more timely fashion than our norm.

I am weirdly thrilled and excited to see what my kids will create with their homework boxes. Told you I’m a crazy person.

Sarah Kate Levy

Once upon a time I wanted to be a novelist in NY. FOUR KIDS LATER I'm a
screenwriter in LA who blogs about parenting, partnering, and the decline of civilization / my home.

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