School Daze Return

It’s back to school today for our son, William, and a whole lot of other children in our state. Do you remember that first day of school feeling? I remember very clearly the first day of kindergarten, which was the most thrilling event imaginable. Every year, I never could sleep the night before that magical first day. Everything was laid out to wear, and the new school supplies were all packed away in our book bags, and our lunches were packed and waiting in the fridge.

It was of the utmost importance what one wore on the first day of school. A false step could ruin the whole year, I used to think. Back then, girls had to wear dresses at our Lutheran school, so much attention was paid to just the right dress and matching socks. Mom would also get new hair yarn for the end of my braids. Finally, my sister and brother and I would give our mother hugs and get out the door to walk the two blocks to school.

Walking into our new classrooms was about as exciting as things got. I was a neat freak and setting my new desk up was done with military precision. I once saw a teacher empty out a school desk by shaking it upside down because some messy kid finally pushed the limits. The sight of that humiliation always stayed with me, and I wasn’t about to have that happen to me. I relished the newness of the notebooks and folders, and the smell of the new crayons and markers. Then there were the new kids. It was always exciting to find out that some new students had arrived. I loved elementary school, every minute of it, and nothing beat that first day of school for excitement.

Not everybody goes off to school these days. Thanks to the proliferation of home education, some children don’t have to go far for school. Will started school this morning. I snapped a photo of my scholar in his school area. He is a distance student for Abeka Academy, and his teachers are on DVD on a laptop. His desk unit has everything he needs with his text books and test keys at the ready. He enjoys being in control of his education, so he gets up early and begins school before most kids are eating breakfast.

This method allows enormous flexibility both for Will and our family. If we want to take a week and travel somewhere, we can schedule it in.  He is also able to take music theory and performance classes at the conservatory one morning a week, work on his model ship building and do his piano practice, and still be able to get his work done.  He is especially looking forward to his first football practice tonight. A local home school league plays many of the middle schools in our area and he is raring to go.

Will, too, gets excited about first day of school, but I have to say it’s sure a different world than when I was a girl. Bricks and mortar schools no longer have the lock on an excellent education. Thanks to technology, I can bring a private school into our home, provide flexibility for our family and for a fraction of the cost of a traditional private education. It makes me grateful for the home education pioneers who fought for the right of parents to take control of their children’s education.

Will humored his mother and posed for a first-day-of-school photo for 7th grade.

Will humored his mother and posed for a first-day-of-school photo for 7th grade.

Will points to all the books he plans to read this year, including those blue Harvard Classics, ha!

Will points to all the books he plans to read this year, including those blue Harvard Classics, ha!

Mary's 1st Day of School at St. James Kindergarten 2001. She was so excited.

Mary's first day of Kindergarten at St. James. She was so excited! "Little" brother was seeing her off.

11 thoughts on “School Daze Return

  1. Linda says:

    Ah, your post brings back memories. We had a 25 minute bus ride from the country into school, but we were always excited, just as you were, to start another year. I still get a little of that feeling with my own kids the night before the first day and taking them to their new classrooms makes me want to go back and be a student again. Great post, and love the photos!

  2. Paula Corbin says:

    I just sent my kindergartner off for the first time last week so your pictures are timely. It was traumatic for me as she is my only right now. I miss her so much. She’s growing up too fast. I would like to look into home schooling but don’t know where to begin. Ingrid do you have any suggestions for websites?

  3. Lorrie says:

    Love the pictures! We are three weeks into our homeschool year, using Bob Jones DVD’s with my high schooler. So far, so good. I, too, am very impressed with the orderliness of your work area!

    Paula, a good place to begin your research is at

    I enjoy reading both of your blogs, Ingrid, since discovering them in the last few months.

  4. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    I’m glad BJ came out with the DVD option. That’s the reason I went with Abeka originally was that I didn’t want to have to figure out HomeSat technology. I think BJ is competing now with Abeka, and I think their price is also competitive. Will keeps things pretty orderly as that’s his nature, while a couple of my other guys had a different, er, philosophy about neatness, ha! I always think kids do better when they know what’s what and where things are so that’s why we encourage the tidiness. I don’t get compulsive about it, though. Learning can be messy sometimes.

  5. Les says:

    Your writing on back to school also reminded me of the smell of the new paper, pens, ect. My grandad owned a wholesale business that distributed office and school supplies along with candy and snacks. My new school stuff always had the plesant candy plus paper and ink smell of the warehouse. I guess that is what I’ll always think of when someone mentions back to school.

  6. Danny'sGirl says:

    What a great bunch of pictures! Your picture made me smile because you look like such a serious little lady in your Kindergarten photo. Very prim and ladylike. I remember my first day in K-5. It was half day back then. We had a teacher who was a grandmotherly type and I loved her to bits. Thanks for bringing back a great memory today.

  7. rose says:

    I love those pictures! They’re wonderful. As a young child, I loved school. Lots to learn, lots of other children and stable adults in charge. Those early years of school were great.

  8. Thursday's Child says:

    I always loved the first day of school. My pencils and notebooks, etc. always smelled so good!

    While I’m not happy about our vacation being over, I’m sure looking forward to the first day and meeting my students. I just wish there was a way to be at the twins’ first day. Maybe I’ll ask to come in late that day. 😀

  9. Cia W says:

    Hi, nice post but I noticed you mentioned you use Firefox — as do I. So that’s why I’m writing; to make a strong suggestion that you do NOT upgrade to version 3.0.1 when you get the ‘offer’, (if it’s not too late…) as I did the other night.

    There seem to be lots of issues, judging by the messages in the forum on, one of which is from me and I’ve since gone back to v2.0.016

    My public service message for the day. 😉

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