Back to School – Then and Now

The following is a guest post from momAgenda COMM blogger Kim-Marie Evans.


Remember when back-to-school meant mom bought you some new pencils, a pair of sneakers and sent you off on the bus?


Back-to-school was exactly that, going back-to-school – well, not anymore.


Then: You got on the bus the first day of school and you went to school. Done.


Now: There are elaborate ceremonies before the first day, on the first day and even after the first week. Parents are expected to attend. These ceremonies are followed by coffees and “get to know you” lunches. I don’t think my mom knew any of the other moms, or had coffee. She seemed fine with that.


Then: You walked to school or took the bus. NO ONE got a ride (unless they had a broken leg, and then we were all envious).


Now: If you have to ride the bus (which constitutes child abuse according to my children) you need to be driven to the bus stop. Parents wait, with cars running (wouldn’t want the poor dears to get chilly). This ridiculousness is repeated every afternoon. The few times I’ve forced my children to walk the ¼ mile home, some other mom has picked them up along the way reinforcing the idea that I am abusive.


Then: Back-to-school shopping involved a few new outfits, some shoes and some pencils.


Now: Lists are sometimes distributed before school even ends for the year. Not only do you need to buy pencils, but massive amounts of supplies, different for each child. Even Kleenex and Wet Ones need to be purchased for the classroom. Don’t get me started on the designer clothing that is “necessary”. Remember when Gap was fancy?


Then: My parents met my teacher during the parent/teacher conference. If it didn’t go well, it was my fault and I was grounded. Full story.


Now: We meet the teachers before school starts, the first day, at the coffee gathering, at back-to-school night. We have access to the online portal and are expected to monitor our children’s schedules and homework. We hire tutors. If it doesn’t go well at the parent/teacher conference, it is the parents fault.


Looking at our test scores and general standing in the world, it doesn’t appear that all of this is helping our children. I know it’s really getting in the way of my tennis game and writing time.


Who do I lobby to just let my kids go to school?


I’ve already done my time, it’s their turn. Call me crazy, but I think they can do their own homework and walk themselves to the bus. Even when it’s raining. That’s why umbrellas were invented.


For more of my ranting: Please see “Why I Want to be a 1970’s Mom.”


Kim-Marie Evans is a New York area mom who writes about tips and tricks to make traveling with a large family easier on her blog The Luxury Travel Mom. Connect with Kim-Marie on Twitter and Facebook.

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