The beginning of the school year is full of traditions. Buying new pens and folders. Waking up the kids at 5 am instead of noon. Establishing after-school routines that will end all homework stresses. Throwing those out after day one, when you learn your son had a book project he was supposed to complete over the summer but hasn’t started.
But my favorite tradition is the “First Day Packet.” Maybe it’s called something else in your town, but I guarantee, if you’re child attends a public school, you will receive the large envelope of forms that are so vital, they must be completed before your child will be assigned a locker or even allowed in the cafeteria.
There are the basics – immunization records, emergency contacts, the fifty-page district policy book that you’re required to read and sign, acknowledging you’ve done so. Right.
And then there are the guilt forms. The ones that claim you can improve students’ educational experience by heading up cookie sales or chairing the horticulture committee (which means you’ll be pulling weeds in front of the school). Of course, you’ll want to support the science department by buying a science-class-spirit shirt. They’re not required, but strongly encouraged to support the science department – which happens to be chaired by the teacher who will be determining your child’s grade, thus GPA, thus future college.
But the ones that really blow my mind are the ever-growing “liability” forms:
“I acknowledge that if I do not sign and return this form by ___ date, my child’s photo will be published in the yearbook even if her bangs did look ‘OMG, horrible’ that day.”
“I give permission for my child to use the internet while at school and will not hold the district liable if he/she should use the medium to hook up with a sixty-year-old pervert from Ohio.”
“I understand that the use of any sports-enhancing biophysical substance will result in the automatic disqualification from all UIL events.” That’s cool. I support that. But my daughter’s in choir. Is blood doping a big problem in the show choir circuit?
And the forms go on and on. It’s enough to make you consider homeschooling.
Whooooa! Hold-up. Nothing could be that bad.
Hahahahaha. So glad that is behind me. Kiddo just went back to college after a 4 year absence. This was accompanied by all the angst of the first day of kindergarten — phone calls, emails, does our insurance cover the meningitis vaccine? Lucky me, though, she is now old enough to sign all her own d**n forms!
I’ll be there in a blink of an eye. I guess I should enjoy signing forms instead of buying $200 textbooks.
Love it Chris! You can add this one, that you manage to complete three sets before midnight to only have your son lose it and bring you a new packet to complete two days later. Who do you think filled the new set out? Let’s just say, it was NOT me.
Oh, Yvette. I’m so sorry. Is your boy allowed out of his room yet? Three kids. Yikes! You should get some kind of deal: Fill out two, get one pass for free.
You are so dead-on! This is the time of year I feel like a celebrity! Autograph anyone??!?! I also notice I am neat with my first 10 signatures making sure “they” know I am a “good” parent by my signature alone – but by #11 – I could care less if anyone can read it!
I like the celeb idea. Next time I’ll write, “Wishing you the best of luck!” before I sign my name.
I think there should be a t-shirt design printed with the following words: I filled this out and submitted the necessary forms.
You’re funny, lady!
I guess I got lucky. We only had three forms to fill out this year. Yee haw! Though I do wonder why we have to bother filling them out at all when nobody seems to bother updating the information. Honestly, we haven’t had a home phone for two years now (cell phones only in this household) yet it is STILL on the basic info form. I cross it out every year.
Three?! You did get lucky.
I so wish there was a box “nothing, absolutely nothing, changed in our lives. Use last year’s forms.” Today (9/5) is our first day, so I don’t know what’s coming home yet. But I have an hour still to myself in bliss! And as a person who unwillingly and only moderately successfully homeschooled my second child for half of last year, the gratitude I felt dropping her off in what I know to be a well-run class this year has no bounds. I will fill out every form with a smile if she comes home happy. I anticipate that this year she will learn that the number after 99 is NOT in fact ‘ninety-ten’. (When I tried to teach her that, I was wrong, soooo wrong, b/c the former teacher hadn’t said to count that way).
I LOVE the “nothing changed” check box. That would be too simple, though. Hope your little one’s first day was great, for you and for her. God bless you for homeschooling, no matter for how long.
I’m thankful my younger daughter is in high school now. They have a registration day where you get all that kind of thing taken care of before the actual first day. Two more years, and we won’t have to worry about that any more, as she’ll be filling out her own forms.
And bringing us the bills, but that’s another story
Yikes! We’re also looking at college tuition in two years. Where does the time go? Okay, so I’ll stop complaining about forms.
Reblogged this on Chris Campillo and commented:
I pulled this one out from last year. You can’t praise the first day packet enough.
My twin grandkids started kindergarten today. My daughter told me that on meet the teacher night she barely had time to shake the teachers hands before they shoved a pile of forms at her. She had already filled out a pile and she said most of the new ones were redundant. All that said, I sniffled as the twins headed out the door back packs proudly slung over their shoulders. I know in the blink of an eye they’ll be headed for college. Chris I love your blog.
I can’t believe they’re in Kindergarten!