Summer Break is Almost Over

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on July 23, 2009

As a homeschool family, we plan for the coming school year in different ways than most families. While you may be out shopping for school wardrobes and backpacks, this Mommy is already taking personal study breaks and making sure her home library is overflowing with a year’s worth of books for her inquisitive and eager young minds to devour.

I can venture to guess, though, that we have one thing in common when getting our kids ready for classroom learning – stocking up on school and art supplies. One of my favorite parts of beginning a new school year is sitting with my kiddos on the floor in my living room, as we fix up our binders with crisp lined paper, sharpen our new pencils, and open our new boxes of crayons.

This seems relaxing to me, in a way; a sense of escape from my own back-to-school stress and jitters. Being a homeschooling mommy can be very overwhelming and many things go through my mind as we near the first days of a new school year… Am I prepared? Do I have everything I need? What if I’m not ready? Did we not take enough time for summer fun? Did we take too much time?

I have to say that in the midst of my back-to-school jitters, I feel blessed, as both my children’s mother and teacher, to have an extra advantage as we start our lessons after our little break. I know exactly what my kiddos did over the summer, what concepts need to be refreshed, and that we can skip the lessons on light refraction and move straight to review because they learned all about rainbows during their summer play in the sprinklers.

You and I may prepare in different ways, or have different concerns about the upcoming school year, but maybe we all need to shake the jitters and enjoy these last few weeks of summertime. After all, our kiddos are only young once.

Lots of us are gearing up for school – an exciting, fun and sometimes, hectic time. Hallmark has put together a great resource to help you calm the butterflies and build your kids’ confidence. Just for joining the conversation you’ll be entered to win a $500 back to school package – Check it out.

GIVEAWAY!

You can also win a $100 Visa gift card, for your back to school supplies, right here at From Dates to Diapers! Just leave a comment here about how you and your kiddos prepare for heading back to school. I would love to hear about any fun traditions you may have, or even your fond memories. You may receive additional entries (up to one per day) by tweeting a link to this giveaway, using the hashtag #Hallmark. Be sure you leave me a separate comment for each tweet. A winner will be chosen, and contacted via email, on August 15th.

This post and giveaway are sponsored by Hallmark. The views and opinions are mine.

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{ 510 comments… read them below or add one }

Laurie L August 14, 2009 at 12:46 pm

My favorite part of the whole BTS experience is taking some time before school starts back to do something relaxing that has nothing to do with prepping to start school. We usually take a camping trip or something like that the weekend before school starts back. Just a chance to relax and have some down time before the BTS rush sets in the next week.

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Molly K August 14, 2009 at 12:49 pm

My son will be starting kindergarten this year and I want to make up some traditions to carry on every year. The only one that I really remember from growing up is that all of us neighbor kids would have to go house to house the first day of school so that the mom’s could take pictures of us.

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Gabriel J. August 14, 2009 at 12:53 pm

This would help us a lot for my daughter who is goign to school this year for the first time!

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Adele August 14, 2009 at 1:08 pm

We go out to eat at the kids’ favorite restaurant and then it’s early to bed. Thanks for this offer.

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Yedid August 14, 2009 at 1:15 pm

This year my child is starting kindergarten so I will be taking her to a kindergarten story time at the library so she will be able to make new friends with kids that may also be starting kindergarten. It is always easier for kids to see a familer face so the storytime at the library is a great idea.

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Diane Baum August 14, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Go to welcome school and almost fall to the apple orchards as a family.

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Danielle August 14, 2009 at 1:54 pm

We prepare by doing reading and math sheets together once a day!

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Dree August 14, 2009 at 2:21 pm

We get organized the night before.

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Kate August 14, 2009 at 2:43 pm

WE always have a breaking in session where kids get to try out their school supplies. It helps everyone get excited!

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Bambi M August 14, 2009 at 2:51 pm

My back to school tradition was always photo day! The day before we went back we had our photo taken in front of the door, then every year we’d see how we had grown!

thanks for the giveaway :)

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Erin Walsh August 14, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Our back to school tradition is the cleaning out of the backpack tradition. Yes, it’s only when it’s time to go back for a new school year, that we clean all of the funk out from the previous year. It’s almost like a disgusting time capsule of the previous school year and you never know what you’ll find.

I won’t put my hands in there anymore, I let my fifteen year old son do it. LOL

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Geoff K August 14, 2009 at 3:35 pm

A back to school tradition my mom started with me and my sister, and one that I have continued, is to sit down and create a list of goals for the school year which must contain at least one new challenge, one thing we’ve never done before — for example, trying out for the school play for the first time, learning a musical instrument. What’s great is that my mom always made a list for herself as well, and I have fond memories of sitting down and going over each other’s ideas and getting excited about the year ahead. Then, of course, as a reward, my mom would take us to our favorite department store and let both me and my sister pick out six new outfits and a pair of shoes each. Looking back, I think both of those traditions – “trying on” ideas/goals as well as clothes, really put us in the right mindset for a successful year and alleviated a lot of the back-to-school jitters we inevitably had!

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Geoff K August 14, 2009 at 3:36 pm
Clarissa August 14, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Well I don’t have kids, but I remember getting ready for the coming school year and helping to find my textbooks at a bargain price (I was homeschooled).

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Gloria August 14, 2009 at 4:05 pm

My tradition for my three kids is before I take them to school they line up with their new outfits (usually) and I take a picture of them!

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Gloria August 14, 2009 at 4:09 pm
Beth G August 14, 2009 at 4:25 pm

Ahh Back to School. My kids are always excited but very anxious as well not knowing who’s in their classes. We make a list of their bestie’s and call them after registration to see who they have. Sometimes this makes for sad time (if there friends aren’t in their class) but they think its fun to call their friends anyhow. Thanks for the entry.

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Beth G August 14, 2009 at 4:27 pm
Carol August 14, 2009 at 4:31 pm

We would all have a special breakfast and walk to school together.

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Carol August 14, 2009 at 4:32 pm
Julie August 14, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Getting backpacks and new shoes are always a big deal for us!

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Christine L. August 14, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Going back to school is always a fun time! Now a 3rd year in college, my college roommate and I like to go shopping with each other in preperation for the new school year!

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kris August 14, 2009 at 5:30 pm

I go to each store getting the “nearly free” doorbusters. What we don’t use I donate to a children’s shelter for abused kids.

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Christine L. August 14, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Going back to school is always a fun time! Now a 3rd year in college, my college roommate and I like to go shopping with each other in preparation for the new school year!

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Katherine August 14, 2009 at 5:57 pm

We don’t have school aged kids yet so we snag some of the cheap school supplies to pass along to those less fortunate. Thanks for the great giveaway!

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oneangel August 14, 2009 at 6:04 pm

We are just starting to make our back to school memories. It is a very exciting time.

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Sharon Seneker August 14, 2009 at 6:24 pm

We are not wealthy, but we shop for school supplies early before the tax free weekend because the stores here in TN and NC get so crowded and the inventory gets picked over quickly. So out tip is shop early! Thanks for a super opportunity! Happy new school year to all! senekers@comcast.net

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Jammie August 14, 2009 at 6:36 pm

I home school my daughter so it is basically me preparing her learning about 2 weeks before she starts. Then we get this going.

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samantha August 14, 2009 at 6:40 pm

This would truly help my family with school supplies and other necessities as we are in quite a bit of financial problems right now!

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brooke August 14, 2009 at 6:52 pm

This is only the second year of school since we start Kinder this year but we let wee man pick out one special school item and a new outfit all on his own.. everything else is mommy’s pick

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Deb August 14, 2009 at 7:06 pm

We were a homeschooling family for 17 years…my favorite memory was my “back-to-school” first day speech I always gave the kids. They still remind me of it now. We had some fun years.

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Cori Westphal August 14, 2009 at 7:13 pm
Julie k August 14, 2009 at 7:15 pm

We start to cut back on the late summer bedtime about this time. It does take a while for them to adjust if we don’t do it now. The real tradition is for the kids to pick out their new backpacks. We also start filling out the reading list and doing some math worksheets here and there for a warm up.

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Annette August 14, 2009 at 7:23 pm

We do all the normal back to school shopping and preparing. I also try to do something special, like go to their favorite restaurant or a movie that they have been wanting to see.

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Annette August 14, 2009 at 7:23 pm
Gloria S August 14, 2009 at 7:27 pm

I always make sure we take a family trip together before school starts.

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Jackie Wilkinson August 14, 2009 at 7:40 pm

I don’t have any kids yet but I do work at a school and enjoy seeing all the kids from June coming back refreshed from summer and ready to learn again.

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Jennifer Nolen August 14, 2009 at 9:09 pm

I LOVE stocking up on school supplies! Especially since we can wait until they are on clearance! I go crazy and then not only have art supplies for the rest of the year, but I can give them as gifts and stocking stuffers! Great money saver!

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Ashley August 14, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Before my son heads back to school I spend extra quality time with him through out the week. 2 weeks before school starts, my son and I go to the park, and to the movies; this is our yearly tradition before schools starts for the both of us. After we’ve had our fun we search through his closet to see what he can and cannot fit anymore, and give it to anyone who is in need of help. After that we go through coupons and also see what is on sale, then we are off to get school supplies.

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Auriette August 14, 2009 at 9:35 pm

It’s funny, but I really don’t have any special memories of going back to school. Maybe it’s because my dad was in the military and I think I went to at least two different schools almost every year. I guess one thing that sticks out about the start of the school year was picking out notebooks. I usually liked notebooks and binders that had horses or cats on them, and if they were plain, I’d draw a horse on the front (the only thing I could ever draw halfway decently was horses).

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Michael August 14, 2009 at 9:46 pm

We’ve found that if the kids aren’t freaking out about their looks, they tend to pay more attention to the books!

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Ericka King August 14, 2009 at 9:55 pm

My kids and I prepare for heading back to school by getting as many sales items as possible, things are getting way to expensive now a days!

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Vicki Andrew August 14, 2009 at 10:15 pm

no traditions, I did a lot of shopping at thrift and vintage stores so my kids have grown up being aware of recycling and reusing. Our big tradition, since I had three daughters, was girls day out on the first day of the VS semi-annual sale

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Jere August 14, 2009 at 10:29 pm

This is our first year in our household…. some clothes and supply shopping, new backpacks and lunchboxes and a “all family” fun night with pizza,smores,videos, and lots of fun before school starts next week.

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ktanjatk August 14, 2009 at 10:47 pm

I always remember shopping for back to school supplies, I loved that smell of fresh new books, notebooks and pencils :) I still do!
Than the anticipation of seeing the old friends and meeting new ones, I have lots of fond memories from school days!

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checkers August 14, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Tradition I would say would just get to bed early and rise early, also wear your best new outfit that was bought for you on the first day of school.

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vivian August 14, 2009 at 11:59 pm

when my mom made me a kimono ty.

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Mishia August 15, 2009 at 2:28 am

We have a competition every year to see who could spend the least amount on school supplies. It is always fun.

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Jennifer Jozwiak August 15, 2009 at 2:37 am

My little one is too small for back to school so I don’t know yet. I get to enjoy her a little while longer!

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Paula Harmon August 15, 2009 at 6:07 am

I start waking the kids up earlier everyday, but as far as back to school shopping, (4 kids), I have to wait until after they start because hubby is laid off work and that is when everything goes on clearance.

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Sheila Hickmon August 15, 2009 at 6:09 am

This is my daughters first year of school, but so far we have started going to bed a little eariler each night. And we are going camping this weekend. I think we will go camping the weekend before she starts school from here on out! I think of it as one last Horah! Thanks for the great giveaway!

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Eric Breunig August 15, 2009 at 6:12 am

For two weekends before it starts we shop for items as the second weekend something is always missed.

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Shane Davanzo August 15, 2009 at 6:37 am

Checklists! They have plenty of back to school checklists online and the kids love using them!

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Leslie M. August 15, 2009 at 6:54 am
Dottie August 15, 2009 at 6:55 am

We do the usual shopping for back to school and a few weeks ahead of time, we start the new bedtimes and arising times.

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amy delong August 15, 2009 at 7:07 am

both m children have outgrown all their clothes sooooo this would be awesome!!I love buying new clothes for them!

ahdrad2932(at)msn(dot)com

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Toni August 15, 2009 at 7:10 am

We get ready by having one last hurrah – something fun at the end of summer. This year we will be going to HersheyPark for a few days. Can’t wait!!

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pat jasmin August 15, 2009 at 7:16 am

i envole all the children on the shopping trip each wiyth there own list, they seem to enjoy it.

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Veronica Garrett August 15, 2009 at 7:16 am

I have fond memories of shopping for back to school clothes. My ideas and my Mom’s never agreed so I was trying to change her mind. We have a tradition where we have a pizza party to celebrate the end of summer and going back to school.

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Stefanie Hartman August 15, 2009 at 7:23 am

http://twitter.com/keepsakebaby/status/3328469391

daily tweet id keepsakebaby

thanks!!!! :)

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Jane Hoh August 15, 2009 at 7:49 am

We always schedule a family outing just before school…a ballgame, amusement park. This has not changed even as my kids got to college now.

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R Hicks August 15, 2009 at 8:15 am

It certainly is a process. Basically, we set a specific bedtime about a week before school starts to get them into the routine. One treat that we always do is take them to an amusement park before school begins.

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R Hicks August 15, 2009 at 8:17 am
Susan Smith August 15, 2009 at 8:20 am

The kids enjoy picking out their own school supplies. The night before school I have them lay out their clothes and make sure their back packs are packed to save time in the morning.

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Felicia K August 15, 2009 at 8:24 am

I had 3 sisters, and we all went school shopping together for as long as I can remember. We all used to pick out the same outfit for the first day of school.

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Stephanie August 15, 2009 at 8:26 am
Dddiva August 15, 2009 at 8:49 am

The Geekazoid LOVES back to school shopping- everything from picking out the right supplies to the smell of the crayons and sharpies. I think she may become a teacher just so she doesn’t have to give it up. ;)

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Dddiva August 15, 2009 at 8:51 am
Megan August 15, 2009 at 9:20 am

looking forward to shopping for back to school for my kids

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Miranda Allen August 15, 2009 at 9:41 am

Our lists arent that big yet our kid is just going into pre k so not a big huge deal yet.. But its coming

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Charity August 15, 2009 at 10:19 am

We take a mini vacation, a week before school starts.

Thanks

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Charity August 15, 2009 at 10:21 am
Angela Fuller August 15, 2009 at 10:26 am

We have a countdown calendar and add one new piece to their backpacks as the days wind down.

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Daniel August 15, 2009 at 10:36 am

school shopping is a very hectic time of the year, but also can be very exciting. My kids and I always go together which means more Dad time. I always am working and this is one time of the year i know i get a full day with them. wouldn’t miss it for the world

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lilshuga2001 August 15, 2009 at 10:41 am

This is the first year my brother will be able to wear whatever he wants to school.
He had cancer for a yr and missed his whole 10th grade, this year i moved and he came along with me, so that he doesnt have to wear a uniform!
We are starting to get back into the swing of things by not stayin up so late!

Thanks for the chance!!!

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Sarah Denton August 15, 2009 at 10:46 am

Getting fun pencils and erasers and folders thankfully I bought the school supply pack so don’t have to go round trying to figure out what a map pencil is!

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Heather C August 15, 2009 at 12:29 pm

The MOST fun we have is getting back to the proper sleep schedule. We start going to bed sooner and them tempting her awake earlier with awesome food that isn’t necessarily breakfast stuff. We even try to get her excited by allowing her to choose the funkiest backpack she can find. Good stuff!

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Karen A. August 15, 2009 at 12:47 pm

The days of my kids back to school shopping has long been over. I’m now starting on the grandkids. I let it up to their parents to buy their clothing, but I buy them some supplies.

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blueviolet August 15, 2009 at 1:02 pm

My kids are older so there’s not a big production like there used to be but I do still try to get them to pick out their own supplies so that they’re completely functional for their needs.

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kathy pease August 15, 2009 at 1:11 pm

i start shopping right after school ends for any sales and clearances so by the time school rolls around im all set

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kathy pease August 15, 2009 at 1:12 pm
christopher h August 15, 2009 at 1:32 pm

we shop with each of the kids seperately, so they each get a day with mom and dad too

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Maja August 15, 2009 at 1:48 pm

i shop after school ends also, everything is on sale

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Maja August 15, 2009 at 1:48 pm

subscriber

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Kelsey August 15, 2009 at 1:59 pm

We always go shopping for their school supplies, and they get to choose their new backpacks and a new pair of shoes! And new haircuts too!

thanks!

ksweeper21@gmail.com

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Candie L August 15, 2009 at 2:54 pm

We went back to school shopping today. Thank you

candieluster(at)gmail(dot)com

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Julie August 15, 2009 at 3:35 pm

My kids love to pick out their own school supplies

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Gina August 15, 2009 at 3:59 pm

We take a photo of them on the first day of school in front of our house. It’s fun to see how much older they look each year.

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Helen August 15, 2009 at 4:46 pm

We prepare by purchasing new clothes and supplies.

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carol ~ August 15, 2009 at 4:50 pm

We got to Target to get our school supplies and to JC Penneys for clothing.

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carol ~ August 15, 2009 at 4:52 pm
joanna smith August 15, 2009 at 4:57 pm

When I was growing up my mother always purchased me a new “outfit” to wear to school for each day of the week for the first week of school, that was 5 new outfits! I used to get so excited about all my new clothes that I actually couldn’t wait for each and everyday to start because I wanted to wear my new clothes to school and show my friends and feel special (confident). I am continuing this tradition with my own children today and I find that if I allow them to choose clothes that they think are “cool” and they pass with my approval, then my kids are going to be much more motivated and excited about getting up in the morning and going to school than if I didn’t give them some incentive at the start of the new school season to get going. I also make sure that they always are equipped with their favorite snacks when they go to school to keep them energized, happy and healthy. These may sound like little “things” but it works for us! Thanks so much for the chance to enter.

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joanna smith August 15, 2009 at 4:59 pm
Donna K August 15, 2009 at 5:15 pm

We go out and buy shcool clothes.

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Dorothy August 15, 2009 at 5:24 pm

I remember as a kid my Mom taking all of us out to buy new school clothes. We each had a specific limit to what we could buy. Of course whatever we bought was for fall temperatures and without fail the first day of school was always very warm. But that never stopped me from wearing the new clothes. My son is in a year round preschool so September doesn’t have the same feeling for us yet.

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Brian E. August 15, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Thanks for the giveaway… We mark the beginning of the new school year by having a family meeting where educational goals (and expectations) are laid out, TV & Internet usage rules are hashed out, and free time / school extracurricular activities are determined.

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DanV August 15, 2009 at 5:41 pm

We try to ease into back to school by getting our supplies together and preparing for the new school year together

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Tamara Burks August 15, 2009 at 5:48 pm

We’ve never had any traditions.

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Errica August 15, 2009 at 5:49 pm

very glad my school system went to uniforms its saves me a little bit of cash but school supplies are so expensive…

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Lily Kwan August 15, 2009 at 5:58 pm

We stock up on back to school supplies.

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