It's the second week of school, and I can finally breathe a sigh of relief that the fall is finally in swing. We still have a few after-school activities to begin, but otherwise the kids are off in their worlds of academic rigor and enlightenment. But even public education comes at a price, and that price is called school supplies. Now in year six of elementary education, I'm sharing my five "must have" product endorsements and then my five "wishes" for what my kids will experience this year.
1. Product: Mabel's Labels. The first year that my son started school, I spent what felt like an entire week ironing on labels and writing his name in Sharpie on every single one of his possessions. Now I just slap on a Mabel's Labels sticker. They're the best, and they dramatically cut down (or eliminate altogether) the number of my kids' things that end up in the school lost-and-found every year. Last year the only thing of my son's to land in the dreaded pile was a jacket passed down from a friend that I forgot to label. See? It was my own fault. The new Tween Pack is particularly useful for older kids who need their stuff labeled but have outgrown the cutesy prints.
2. Wish: Book Love. My kids love books *right now* but that's never something I want to take for granted. I know of a ton of kids who from one year to the next up and decided they'd no longer read for pleasure (especially middle schoolers). My husband and I love to read, so the idea of this terrifies us. I love to read so much I started a blog dedicated to the joys of young adult literature. I am fully aware that it's easy for tweens to either fully embrace books or to turn away from them as simply another language arts assignment. I'm praying my 5th grader continues to read every night, and that my 2nd grader grows more confident in her chapter-book reading.
3. Product: Quality Backpacks. My kids have owned various backpacks, and while some were a huge let-down (Pottery Barn Kids!), others withstand the test of thoughtless-kid time. Our current favorites are the L.L. Bean Mountainside (which my eldest throws around with the gentleness of a stampeding wildebeest and which I expect him to own for at least three years), the Garnet Hill backpack and accompanying lunch box (it was free when I ordered the backpack!), which my daughter is modeling in the photo, and the Lands' End "My First" backpack for my preschooler. Next year he should be big enough for a fuller-sized pack. We're also huge fans of the brand-new for-kids-by-kids Lands' End MadBox lunchbox, which each of the boys has (the preschooler loves his wolves, and my eldest has the patches).
4. Wish: Rockstar Teachers: If you ask a principal, she's likely to say that ALL her teachers are wonderful, but EVERYBODY knows that isn't true. I may not be a trained educator, but my sisters and close friends are, and it's no secret that every faculty has its duds. Every August, I pray that my kids get assigned a true rockstar who loves her job and can't wait to enter the classroom almost every day. With two kids in school, we've seen the difference between an average, good, and amazing teacher, and while we've been blessed never to have a truly awful experience, we keep fingers crossed for fantastic teachers our kids will never forget. (Ask me to name all of my favorite teachers, and I can prattle on from kindergarten to university).
What are your favorite wishes and things for this year?