Backpacks? Check. School forms? Check. Haircuts? School supplies? Gym shoes? Check, check, check!
Like most of you, we’re gearing up for back-to-school here at HopSkipDrive, and while that can mean wildly different things for different parents, one thing is certain: big changes are in store for all of us.
Our CareDrivers have had a fabulous summer driving kids safely and reliably to camps, the beach and other fun summertime happenings. In the coming weeks, we’ll get back to our own HopSkipDrive fall routine — providing rides for kids to hundreds of schools and after-school activities all over Los Angeles.
With a total of eight kids (who attend six different schools) between their three families, our co-founders have ushered children through back-to-school hopes and fears a combined total of 45 times (and counting!).
We sat down with co-founders Joanna, Carolyn and Janelle to chat about what “back to school” means for them. Here’s what they said:
What are your own childhood memories of going back to school in fall?
Carolyn: I could never sleep the night before school started. I would be up all hours of the night, and then start the school year completely exhausted. I think it was just anticipatory anxiety.
Janelle: It was all about that first day outfit. We would often spend our summers with my mom and dad’s families on the east coast. They had outlets there, and we didn’t in San Diego (I’m dating myself.) But we would go get all these cool clothes, and it was so exciting. As a parent, I love the uniforms. It’s way less drama in the mornings, but there’s not that first-day outfit excitement anymore.
How’s everyone feeling about heading back to school this year?
Joanna: For me, summer is always stressful because the kids’ routines change, but that doesn’t mean my schedule changes or my husband’s changes. Summer usually means multiple camp scenarios, and staying on top of that is difficult. It’s a struggle to manage, so I’m secretly excited when school starts again.
Janelle: We’re changing schools this year, so it’s an emotional time. I’m definitely feeling anxious, and the kids are nervous too. So I sort of feel like, “Wow, I’m having some of the same feelings they’re having.”
Carolyn: Two of my kids are still at camp, so I expect it’ll be a real shock when they get back. My youngest is starting kindergarten, and she’s very excited — for the uniform, to get her sisters’ old teachers and to finally be a part of something she has been witnessing her entire life.
How’s back-to-school shopping going?
Joanna: We went backpack and lunchbox shopping last week. It’s amazing how disgusting a lunchbox can get in a year. I think we finally discovered the secret – Lands’ End and Pottery Barn Kids lunch boxes. There's no seam!
Janelle: My kids did really well with their backpacks and lunchboxes last year. So I was kind of thinking maybe I’ll just stick with what they had — they’re not so bad. Is that horrible?
What’s the homework routine like in your households?
Joanna: I live in fear of school projects. I’m not a crafty person, and I remember how bad my projects were when I was a kid. My oldest is in second grade, but I already have nightmares about the fourth-grade (California) mission project.
Carolyn: I actually have a hands-off philosophy about homework, which is: if they can’t do it by themselves, then at school the next day, they explain to their teacher that they can’t do it by themselves. This takes some getting used to, but homework is a way for teachers to assess whether kids are learning or not. When parents get involved, they throw the whole process off.
Janelle: After school and activities, my kids come home so exhausted we’ve actually started doing homework in the mornings now because it’s just too much at night. We’re kind of a morning family, so it works for us.
School mornings can be tough – anyone have any school morning hacks?
Carolyn: I wake up an hour before everyone else. I check my email and work a little bit — I drink coffee — and I get myself completely ready, so that I can focus on them in the morning.
Janelle: For me, that’s actually when I work out. So I try to squeeze that in.
Joanna: For us it's all about survival and the race against the clock. We need some good hacks.
What afterschool activities will your kids participate in this year?
Joanna: We’re continuing karate and will likely start Cub Scouts this year. My younger son has started karate too, and of course it’s different classes at different times. We’ll also have T-ball and Little League. I want to get my older son into a coding class. I have no idea when we’re going to make happen, but we’ll definitely be using HopSkipDrive to get him there.
Janelle: My two oldest are competitive gymnasts, and that takes up a lot of time, but doesn’t really change when school goes back in session. We usually take a dance hiatus in the summer, so we’ll probably throw that back in the mix. We have karate, and my oldest daughter keeps talking about piano. I really don’t know where we’re fitting that in.
Carolyn: We took a break from afterschool activities during the summer, but will be heading back into soccer, tennis, horseback riding and gymnastics before we know it.
Whatever is in store for you this school year, HopSkipDrive is wishing you a wonderful back-to-school season, and we’re looking forward to driving your family safely and reliably wherever it needs to go.