Back to School Rituals
Every year we say an easy hello to Summer. We walk with bare feet in the yard. The sticky heat of a slow Sunday afternoon runs down your back. Packing is completed for trips to camp and cottage, and unpacking is put off when you arrive home in a flurry from camp and cottage.
And every year we are faced with the unpleasant reality of Summer’s goodbye. We let go of Summer’s irregularity and embrace the return of Autumn’s structure. Shoes go back onto our feet, trips for ice cream become a once-in-a-while thing, and “back-to-school” springs up in conversation everywhere.
Back-to-school talk reminds me how quickly the hot months of summer come to an end. It reminds me of the feeling - excitement and dread - I felt in the last weeks of summer vacation. I wanted the regularity of school days back but knew I would miss warm slow days filled with nothing but wondering how I would spend the day ahead of me. It also reminds me of checking off the supply list my school sent out at the end of every summer. Working to complete the list made the end of summer disappear even faster.
A week before school began again, I started to gather my school things. I searched my room and located the pile of duotangs and the pencil case I took out of my backpack a couple of months ago in June. Somehow I managed to never put away my things after I set them down at the foot of my bed, on the last day of school. So in the final week of August, I emptied my duotangs and recycled piles of paper from the year before. While I filed through paper, I kept an eye out for duotangs that are in good shape. I could use them again. But I always secretly hoped some of the duotangs would be damaged enough that I could get the year’s new model. I loved the idea of all new school things: new pencils, erasers, backpack, pens, duotangs, and maybe a new pencil case! My mom had other ideas. It was my job to salvage what could be used for another year. Much to my disappointment, most of my school things lasted through my elementary and secondary schooling.
One particular way we prepared for the new school year was with our pencil crayons. The list our school sent out recommended having a full set of pencil crayons at the start of the year, so our mom bought one full case. It was always Laurentian because she swore by their ability to sharpen without the lead breaking off. My siblings and I brought our pencil cases to the kitchen table where we empty their contents and begin to sift through them. We organized our pencil crayons by colour. She gave the pencil crayons to whoever needed the colour she had in her hand. “Light blue!” “I don’t have a green!” “I think this one is too short for me to use…”
My mom taught me the lesson of using items until they’re gone. There was no need for a brand new set of pencil crayons each year; where would the old crayons have gone? The event ended with us passing around pencil sharpeners to make sure the old pencil crayons were pointy and ready for any colouring in our near future.
Whatever your rituals are to prepare for a new school year, we have items that can be used for many years to come, to your child’s possible disappointment. If there was some food accidentally left in your kid’s lunch bag in June and you opened it to a lovely surprise in August, we have something for you. These Fluf lunch bags are made of organic cotton, come in a variety of styles and are machine washable, making for a quick and easy clean. If you need a sturdy, reusable water bottle that can survive being dragged to school and back home each day, check out these Klean Kanteen bottles in 12oz and 18oz sizes-perfect for a kid of any age heading to school. And if you’re tired of using and throwing away plastic wrap, save bits of leftover lunch or that half-eaten apple in Abeego! The cotton beeswax wrap can be used many times over and simply washed clean with cold water after each use.
Happy back-to-school! We hope this season brings back familiar structure along with some wonderful newness!