Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to School in the Country or in the City

Didn't summer just begin?  Didn't the swimming pools just open?  Wasn't it only yesterday that we lamented the snow and the cold? And, hasn't the Musical Ice Cream Truck just arrived in the neighborhood?
"IT" certainly seems so!  However, the start of the new school year is just around the corner, in fact, some started this week.

School supplies and new clothing must be purchased! Those shopping expeditions were always wonderful treats when I was in school.  New clothes and those hideous, but good-for-your-feet Saddle Oxfords were on The List. I really wanted to wear "Mary Jane's" or "flats" or "penny loafers", but until I was twelve the only choice I had in the shoes-for-school department was black and white or brown and white Saddle Oxfords.

How times do change.  When my oldest daughter was in school, the LAST thing I even considered buying for her was the hated pair of Saddle Oxfords; that is until I realized that she wanted them!

The year I was in the fifth grade, "all the girls" were wearing petal pushers and flip-flops (back then, we called them thongs but that has taken on a whole different meaning now). I mean everyone had this dress code: how many times did our parents hear the line, "But Everybody Is..."? So, my mother, ever the peace maker, told me that when Mrs. Pollack wore petal pushers and flip flops to school, then I could as well.  Everyone has had a "Mrs. Pollack" in school at one time or another. Now, don't get me wrong, Genevieve Pollack was a wonderful teacher, and I truly loved her, but I knew I was doomed, never to wear petal pushers and flip flops to school!  Seeing Mrs. Pollack wearing these in-style wardrobe items had about as much chance of happening as a Baptist being the next Pope. In today's vernacular, NOT!!!

My grand children range in age from school teacher to 3 months old. Many will be returning to school, some are just starting and some are left behind. Those little one who don't "get" to go to school yet may not be real happy with mama.  Why not buy your little "left-behinder" an inexpensive back pack (can double as a suitcase for going to gramma's?). Add a few crayons, a pencil, a tablet and even a coloring book or two and that wee one will show you some happy.

My first experience in school was at the tender age of 3!  When my mother went back to college to get her certificate to teach in New Mexico, I stayed with family friends who taught school on the Santo Domingo Indian Reservation. I was in the fifth grade that year since one of these friends taught that grade.  We lived at the reservation during the week and I attended classes every day. Then on Friday, we headed back to town and home for the weekend. I'm sure my sisters can testify about their precocious little sister. Nonetheless, I could read and write and count when I officially started first grade three years later; we didn't have kindergarten or pre-K in those days so these abilities were a rarity.

My mom started her teaching career in West Virginia in one room school houses. How I wish I could remember some of her stories.  She told one story about the little boy whose name was 'Gooey', but 'Gooey' didn't know how to spell the name, so his mama came in one day. When my mom asked her about the little boy's name, she told her that she had read it in a book. She spelled it out: G-U-Y ... Gooey!!!

Whether your youngin's are in the country or city; whether they will go to public or private schools or be home schooled, learning can be a wonderful experience for them. Show them how to: Grow beans in a jar!  Make salt crystals! Make paper cup and string telephones! Show them the "magic" of sand and a simple magnet. Discover wonderful words in the dictionary! Measure everything in the house with a yard stick! Just lead them to learn, and love them while you're at it. 

You don't have to live in the country to learn the ways of country living! 

© 2010 Cat Brennan

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