Sort of.

If you would have told me at the beginning of this mess that the start of the following school year would be in jeopardy after stopping in-person classes  on March 5th, I would have called you a cotton-headed ninnymuggins and taken your lunch just to teach you a lesson about saying hurtful things.

But here we are.

With a child in middle school, high school and college, we’ve got 3 distinct Back To School plans and I’m really on the fence on how this is going to go. Obviously, we all want our kids back to normal school. We want extra-curriculars, sports, clubs, lunchrooms and head lice over deadly viruses. But I would be a liar if I said I knew how that could be safely accomplished currently; and then I’d just change my mind again in 5 minutes.

Instead, let’s just give these kids a lesson in Do As We Don’t Really Say And Definitely Not As We Do And Sometimes As We Intuit And Nothing As What Scientists Say While Ignoring Science Math And History Because First Graders Are Expected To Figure This Out When The Adults In Charge Won’t.

And then I’ll take remidial English and work on those run on sentences on misuse of capital letters.


I don’t think that I’m alone in my sincere intention of achieving my Mom Back to School Goals.

The execution of these objectives is another story altogether.

We’ve just completed the first full week of school, and I’m evaluating my progress.

Goal: Buy all the uniforms in June during the sale.

Result: I did place my order promptly at 11:50 p.m. on June 30th. Except I mistakenly clicked on adult sizes instead of the youth option, and the girls look like they shrunk this summer. (The shirts did not, however.)

Goal: Save time by ordering their shoes online to be sure I’d get the correct ones in stock.

Result: Band-Aids had to be worn the entire first week of school and reminded of the that sage advice passed down from the pioneers, “Objects on screen are not what they seem.”

Goal: Reestablish healthy sleep cycles before school starts.

Result: Lots of late-night infomercials and afternoon naps with complete insomnia amnesia for the first month of 4th grade.

Goal: 2 words: Bento. Boxes.

2 Word Results: Bread. Butts.

Goal: Schedule all appointments and checkups in the summer months.

Result: 1 tardy and 2 early-checkouts during week 1.

Goal: Summer reading assignments completed early.

Result: *See Sleeping Goal.

Goal: Ask insightful and engaging parental questions at School Open House.

Result: “Is there an open bar?” does not count. Apparently.

Goal: Prepare healthy, home-cooked dinners every weeknight.

Result: Nothing says failure like a Papa John’s box. On a Tuesday. With no extracurriculars to blame.

Goal: Be that mom that they all talk about in carline.

Result: Over-achieved.

Check back in with me for my New Year’s Resolutions.

Premature Education

As I sit here on the morning of the first day of school, which has crept earlier and earlier each August until it seems as though the 4th of July is closer than Labor Day, it occurs to me that the local School Boards may be suffering from an embarrassing affliction. I know it’s not quite PC or appropriate to discuss outside of AM radio talk show commercials and creepy email spam, but I think there’s a rampant case of premature education going on around here.

It only takes a simple Google clip art image search of the words, “Back to School” with its apple-laden, fall-leaf-wreathed chalkboards and discounted plaid wool skirts with turtlenecks turned up to earlobes covered by fur-lined ski caps to confirm that the web–which is World Wide I remind you–universally accepts the fact that the First Day of School is an autumnal event.

And though I am not Julius Caesar, I maintain that August, and certainly July, land squarely in the Northern Hemisphere’s summer, and therefore, by its very position in the space-time continuum, charted latitudes and longitudes, maritime tides, and proximity to the solstices and several Independence Days, both foreign and domestic; are historically, meteorologically, ill-timed months to resume scholastic endeavors.
In other words, you may be pulling the trigger a little too early, Board of Education.

August 5th is our start date this year. This is actually a week later than most of the schools around us, so I guess I should feel lucky. The earth has had seven more days in which to retain summer temperatures approaching triple digits.

Clearly there is some confusion on the Board with regard to an appropriate First Day of School. As the helpful citizen that I am, I would like to provide this brief tutorial to school planners to consider when they prepare next year’s calendar so they are not, once again, subject to this embarrassing and inconvenient problem.

~If you start school before your state’s tax-free holiday on school supplies even begins, you may be guilty of premature education.

~If playground balls fuse to the blacktop in the blistering heat, it may be a sign of premature education.

~If August is does not fall into “summer” on the school calendar, there may well be premature educating going on.

~If the first holiday off you have after the first day of school is a Christmas in July mattress sale, it just may be evidence of premature education.

~If parents are confused on whether the first day is a start date or an end date to the school year, well, it just may be a textbook case of premature education.

~If your “Back-to-School” store circulars come in your Memorial Day paper, it’s premature education.

~If you have to pack zinc oxide and salt tablets in your child’s lunchbox, chances are pretty good you’re prematurely educating.

~If your child’s “school bus” has a freezer on board, plays “Pop goes the Weasel” and serves Push-ups from a side window, premature education could be to blame.

~If your official school uniform includes flip flops and a panama hat, methinks it clearly is premature education.

~If math class is taught in SPF values, you know…

~If students have completed all of the material in their textbooks before they’ve chosen a Halloween costume, premature education should be considered.

~If you have the phrase, “But we get a week off for Fall Break in October,” emblazoned on a T-shirt, that’s uniform for premature education.

~If your child was born under the zodiacal sign of cancer and has to bring in birthday cupcakes for his classmates, talk to your doctor about premature education.

~If your child has ever brought a watermelon for a teacher on the first day instead of an apple because that’s the only fruit in season, education prematurely could be the culprit.

~If there has ever been a wave runner in your school carline, there’s no shame in admitting your premature education.

~If your child is taught how to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius and Celsius to Kelvin to record the average temperature during science class; well, just sayin’.

~If your child has ever had to write a paper on Bastille Day due on Bastille Day; ahem.

~And finally, if as part of their emergency planning your school regularly conducts Sharknado drills; I rest my case.

You’re welcome. Now everyone is satisfied.

©2013 Tracey Henry

(Originally published 8/13 but updated today because the Board of Education didn’t listen last year.)

Sh*t Parents at College Orientation Say

Sh*t Parents at Orientation Say

Oh, I’m not one of those parents who coddles their kid, but I’m somewhat of a control freak.

Wait, what?

We have special circumstances in our family.

But my kid is different.

Your father will build that loft higher.

If she gets assigned to a community bathroom, we’re transferring.

Can you skip back to that last slide? I’m taking pictures of this entire presentation with my iPad to replay for my husband when I get back to the hotel.

When I was in school we didn’t have Facebook yet. You met your roommate on the first day of school and lived with whatever you got.

Wait, what?

He may be 18, but as long as I’m paying tuition, I should have access to his school email and conferences with his professors.

My kid is going to eat every single meal in the dining hall.

My kid won’t eat a single meal in the dining hall.

I’m pretty sure my daughter will place out all freshman classes. And sophomore. And junior.

I’m going to need you to print all of the emails the school sends you, okay, honey?

Where are the dorm cleaning products kept? My Johnny is a neat freak!

Who do I talk to about getting a higher housing number? We were downloading a particularly long Power Point email from her Aunt of “Awesome Photographs,” and weren’t able to login in time.

So is your son rushing? No, he’s Italian.

Do I get charged for parking when I come to visit my daughter and stay in her room overnight?

Do they have coffee around here?

Do they have wine around here?

I seem to have something in my eye, where are the tissues?


Sh*t Orientation Leaders Say

Great question! Now I’m going to repeat it back to you somewhat differently in answer form and throw some catch phrases in while not saying anything of interest and refer you to a website.

We encourage you to have a conversation with your student regarding ______________.

You can get more information about that on our website.

The tissues are right over there.

©2014 Tracey Henry

Top 10 signs school is about to end

Top 10 signs you know the school year is ending:

10. School busses start carrying salve on board for the third degree burns resulting from vinyl seats reaching 37,000 ℃ by 7 am.

9. Too short to be considered “crayons,” you now have a box of wax finger paints. All in Burnt Sienna color.

8. Notes from the teacher are now scrawled on the back of Expedia and Priceline search results printouts.

7. Entrees on the hot lunch menu include candy from the leftovers in the teacher’s lounge and the “You’ll get it back in June” drawer.

6. The only matching pair of socks in the entire fourth grade is between your daughter and the kid who slept over last weekend.

5. Backpacks have deteriorated into back-of-knee packs.

4. The amount of times you hit the snooze button has grown exponentially throughout the year; you now only awake to the alarm of your own sobs when you realize you have to return to school after Memorial Day weekend.

3. Because of #4, your kids have a laminated tardy slip.

2. Car line has become merely a suggestion.

And the number one sign that school is almost out?

Commercials start alternating between Sylvan Learning Centers, Back to School sales and top shelf vodka.

©2014 Tracey Henry