Back to School: Here We Go!

August 17, 2021

I am pleased to announce that both our private school and our local public school district (Broward – it has been in the news for this) are requiring masks for the start of this school year. So, other than a significantly higher community burden of COVID-19 (and Delta), this school year will look a lot like last year.

I expect quarantines. I expect that we all may get COVID-19 again. However, I feel these risks are worth the benefits for our family. So, as noted previously, I will try to focus on the positive.

I attended 2 Zoom orientations yesterday, and have 1 today. (Note: Zoom orientations are quite convenient and lend themselves to screen shots which is great for reference of schedules etc. HOWEVER, some people seem to have trouble following basic social cues on the format. What can I say . . . I tried to find it more amusing than annoying. Tried.)

AND, Annabel starts school today! They are all attending the same school but since she is both new to the school and to the grade level, she goes to an orientation this morning from 8:30 – 11:30. Aside from not knowing where her classroom actually is, I think it will go well. (The campus is not that big . . . I will figure it out!).

without mask to show smile
real life!

Genevieve will be going back to the same classroom she was in spring of last year with the same teachers, which is how the Montessori system works. In fact, she’ll likely be there for the next THREE years which is fairly mind-boggling — the Early Childhood group goes from ages 3 through K. Luckily we love her teachers and she is very comfortable there. My most important mission is to convince them that she belongs in the BIG KID NO NAP group. I have already sent in my request noting that she’ll be 4 in December . . .

Cameron will also be returning to his same teacher, but his class is merging with another one (so the class is larger and there are 2 teachers). He is in what is called Lower Elementary, which groups grades 1-3. It will be interesting to see how he handles not being the youngest group in the class. According to our orientation he will have ~20 min homework daily + reading. We will see how that goes . . .

Annabel as I mentioned is new to the school. Truthfully I mostly moved her for logistic purposes. The educational experience she was getting at the public school was excellent and worked very well for her. BUT, it didn’t for C, and I hated having 2 separate drop-offs, 2 calendars, 2 sets of notices, etc. The current school goes to 8th grade, so if it remains a good fit for us we could be there for the next 5 years with a very convenient routine of one dropoff and pickup.

Back tomorrow with a new planner layout I am playing with because BACK TO SCHOOL.

Brief BLP Note:

If anyone is looking to shop some of the lesser-known planner brands mentioned in yesterday’s BLP ep, I have now added some of Amanda’s links + coupon codes to the show notes. Happy shopping :)(


  • Reply Elisabeth August 17, 2021 at 7:13 am

    All the best to the whole Hart-Unger family as you navigate the start of a new school term. Exciting and daunting, but a fresh start and sometimes a change can be as good as a rest!

  • Reply Amanda August 17, 2021 at 8:13 am

    Best of luck to the whole family in the new school year! I also have a son going into his second year of Lower Elementary at a Montessori school. The transition to LE was tough last year, so I am excited for him to not be in the youngest age group this year. My daughter will be starting her kindergarten year of Children’s House – which at her school means no naps! I am happy about that, and honestly if you asked her teachers I’m sure they would say the same since she often kept many of her fellow nappers awake last year talking and giggling.

  • Reply Erica Sparky August 17, 2021 at 8:41 am

    Good luck! I am in agreement of the benefits outweighing the risks. Thankfully the Chapel Hill School district is also doing universal masking, and my youngest’s daycare is doing masks for PreK. We’ve had one exposure/quarantine/test cycle since starting daycare in June. Good luck to all the kids this year! I hope the plan goes well for several years of combined kid drives 🙂 My kids will only be at the same school for one year (K and 5th, next school year) but we did choose a daycare that is only 1 mile from the elementary school, and doing aftercare at the elementary school, so our life should be more convenient this year than in the past.

    Can you believe there are still people who haven’t figured out Zoom etiquette 18 months into this? It really is Amusing!!

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns August 17, 2021 at 8:45 am

    Happy back-to-school week! I was always thrilled to go back to school when I was a kid. I was very bored during the summers as I lived in a rural area so did not have access to friends, camps or fun things to do! We went back in mid-August and I was SO happy to be back with friends in a learning environment.

    Having one drop-off will be so wonderful for all of you. I can see the benefits of private school during this era of Covid since the schools have way more control over policies. The political drama around mask mandates is super disappointing. I felt stressed just reading that article and it doesn’t impact my life! I can’t imagine how the school administrators are feeling!

  • Reply CBS August 17, 2021 at 10:29 am

    We’ve been with our normal preschool all summer but my 4 year old is switching to Monday-Tuesdays to the preschool attached to his future primary school, which will allow him to meet local friends and to get to know the environment. Little ones aren’t masked in the UK and we’ve been decently lucky thus far (although we locked down harder and longer than the US and vaccine uptake is much much higher – 85% of 18+ with first dose).

    I’m also making a big work move which will have me away for half the week during the university semester, so we’ve got a proper back to school feeling. I stayed at the same university for my MA, PhD and postdoc and starting over professionally in a new city sounds exciting but also daunting. Going to by myself some nice new notebooks and a backpack.

  • Reply Mrs. Candid August 17, 2021 at 12:16 pm

    Best wishes

  • Reply Irene August 17, 2021 at 12:29 pm

    Good luck! Here’s hoping for a much better school year for us all. And fingers crossed for no nap! This is such a struggle when some kids need it but others really really don’t.

    I was really surprised our area is doing in person orientations! I am excited to finally see the school- parents were not allowed to set foot inside last year!

  • Reply Rebekah August 17, 2021 at 1:58 pm

    Happy back to school time! It’s my favorite fresh start – it feels so much more exciting to me than a new year. I don’t want to say it’s why I became a teacher, but between new school year energy and my love of school supplies, it was bound to happen!

    As a Montessori trained teacher of 3-6 year olds, I want to give you encouragement if her teachers don’t immediately sign off on the no nap thing. Often the threes are actually exhausted just from the stress that comes with going to a new school, and kids who hadn’t been napping at home are seriously passing out by nap time at school. It just happens. So if they want to wait a bit or are just big on encouraging rest time but she doesn’t have to sleep – try it out!

    I hope the new school year has given you a jolt of energy and optimism! I’m always so excited about what it can bring, even in the midst of all the scary. Thank heavens for mask mandates.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 17, 2021 at 2:44 pm

      🙂 totally get it. But I’m hopeful because a 30-60 min nap usually means she is wide awake until after ~10pm+ and it’s so so hard!

      • Reply Liz August 29, 2021 at 8:24 pm

        I am with you Sarah — I get school days are tiring, but late bedtimes are too. I have a preschooler (who incidentally is now in a Montessori!) who hasn’t needed a nap since she was just shy of 3 yrs, and is now 4.5 yrs. It might sound young, but the 10+ pm bedtime on nap days was the giveaway. Who knew preschooler sleep could be so fun?

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