Back to school guest post: Emily Chapelle

This post is from friend and author Emily Chapelle. For a bonus treat, ask Emily to post the link of her filing up the back of her car for the thrift store!


What has historically been your biggest challenge with getting your children ready for the school year?

Since my first first-day-of-school experience was this January, there really hasn’t been time for anything to go wrong historically. Everything went smoothly!

What one or two things did you discover that made that challenge easier?

Before the semester started, I read everything the school had available online – the parent handbook, historical information about the school, and so on.

So I really only had a few questions for the administration and my daughter’s teacher. With open communication, we all knew exactly what to expect when it was time for my daughter to join the class.

What are you most dreading about this school year?

I’m not sure dreading is the right word, because this thing is just a part of our nomadic military life, and I’m okay with it.

But I know it will be hard for my kids to leave their friends and teachers in the middle of the school year in order for us to move across the country.

What about this school year are you most excited about?

My daughter has a lot of pre-reading and basic phonics skills right now, and we’re all just waiting for the moment when it all clicks and she’s suddenly a reader and a writer.

I know reading and writing will open so many doors for her, and her little brother will benefit from the extra sister-led story times too.

What do you think is the most overblown aspect of back to school — what gets more press than it deserves?

Overzealous back to school clothes shopping makes me cringe. Especially in contrast to the stingy attitude so many people seem to have about buying school supplies.

I was a teacher, and know how much of my meager income I spent on my own class, on basic stuff just to keep my students learning.

And all over Facebook right now, I see parents complaining and outraged about the school supply lists and about teachers pooling supplies so that everyone can learn.

I also see my teacher-friends preparing for their students to arrive, generously buying what the school and supply lists won’t provide, in order to give their very best to the kids.

Sure, the start of the school year is a great time to evaluate what fits and what the kids will need for the next season (and to declutter what is outgrown or not worn often enough).

But maybe if parents would stop obsessing over buying entire new wardrobes for their children, the sting of the “extra” $7.95 worth of notebook paper might hurt a little less.

What’s the one thing you’d caution all parents to avoid doing?

Avoid getting so caught up in the start of the school year that you miss out on the last weeks of summer. Enjoy that time together!

Head to the beach of sneak in some extra hikes, trips to the pool, concerts in the park, or whatever it is your family likes to do when the kids are home for the summer.

What’s the one thing you’d suggest every parent do?

Have an idea about what you want to do when your kids are at school. If you don’t work full-time, chances are you’ll have a little bit more free time during the school year.

Do you want to finally tackle the garage, and declutter it for good?

Do you want to get your meal planning routine under control and make a book with your family’s favorite recipes all in one place?

Do you want to sign up for a yoga class to help you declutter your mind and your stress? Have a plan so that you won’t “lose” the first month of the school year while you try to figure it out.

What is your biggest accomplishment around back to school you want to brag about?

My family has simplified so much over the last 9 months or so that getting the kids ready to go back to school this September has been a total non-issue.

Basically the only preparation I’ve done is to talk with the kids about the types of snacks they’d like to see in their backpacks. Other than that, we’re just soaking up the rest of the summer.


For more back to school tips, tools and strategies, check out these posts:

15 Back to school shopping hacks

Back to school guest post: Sarah Fader…jacqueline-green/ ‎

Back to school guest post: Nicole Blades


Emily Chapelle is an Expert Homemaker and author of Finding the Awesome: 3 Steps to Doing More & Stressing Less (FREE for my readers).

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