School Room Clean-Up, School Supply Shopping, and a Trip Down Memory Lane…

It is a tradition we’ve had with our family for years. Each year, after I’ve planned our school curriculum and schedule for the year, I make each boy a list of the supplies he will need. We then head out to do our shopping. This has always helped get the boys excited for the school year to start. And then, to make the day extra special, we go out for lunch together.

Except for the “going out for lunch together” part, I wasn’t really sure how interested they would be this year in our school shopping tradition. Asa is 15, after all. He doesn’t really need crayons anymore. :)  And actually, none of the boys really needed much. We’ve purchased so many 20¢ glue sticks in past years that there was no need to add those to any list. So, instead of individual lists, I came up with a general list of what we’d need, and off we went. Sweet boys that they are, they were all super excited about our outing. (That settles it. We are totally keeping this tradition until all of them head to college, and even after that if I can get away with it. Wow, I love these kids. And I refuse to think about them going to college. It’s only three years away for Asa. STOP. I’m not going to think about it.)

Here we were yesterday, taking our traditional “picking out supplies” picture.

And now, would you like to join me for a little tour through the years? I can’t believe how much they’ve grown. I decided to go backwards, so here they are last year, 2011:

2010 (we had and extra friend with us that year) :




And oh my…2008. Will you just look at these sweet babies:


And now, Asa stands almost six feet tall and speaks with a man voice. It’s unbelievable really. Did I mention that I love these kids? Allow me to wipe my eyes and blow my nose loudly while I move on with this post…

Edited to add our 2013-2014 picture:


Before heading out yesterday for our outing, we de-cluttered the school room as well as we could. (Some of our upstairs rooms are under construction, so we have extra furniture in the school room for the time being. Therefore, I just took a picture of our very messy, piled high table. All through last year, as we finished with books, instead of being good and putting them where they went, it seems we just continued to pile them on the table. Lovely, huh?

And now…

I’m hoping to do a better job of putting books back on shelves this year. It’s not like it’s hard, you know?

Stay tuned for more updates on what I’m checking off of my Fall Preparation “to-do” list!


  1. Kamilla says

    LOVE the idea of a school tradition! We have 3 boys & I love finding new traditions to do with them:) I also have to say I love that the pics are all at Wal-Mart!:) (My hubby is a manager at our’s:) Thanks for the support!


  2. Deb says

    Great News, Laura! I have one in college and he still LOVES to go out to lunch or dinner or breakfast or any other meal any time of day…………;)And we still have to go back to school shopping (just not for everything pictured in the ads, the dorm rooms are a lot smaller than the ads would lead you to believe!)……..Have a great school year!


  3. Cheryl Sammons says

    All of those ‘old’ pictures are what your memories are made of. Time’s that you can’t get back but are with you forever. And the messy desk is ok. I’m sure everything is right where it ought to be. LOL


  4. Lori says

    Love the old pictures!! I was going through my school supplies at home and realized that my kids are now to the age where they do not need much either. So sad because it is just one more reminder that they will leave the nest soon (3 years for my olderst too). My daughter wants a new bag (teenage girls do not do backpacks these days), and my son will need a new packpack (he wants The North Face…ha! Good luck with that one…they start out at $85). But we are back in band…which means football games, marching contests, and fun!


  5. Jenny says

    Love this tradition and know you won’t mind me borrowing it! I have to remember to take the picture though, that’s half of what makes it so precious. Now if I could only find my camera…


  6. Jesse says

    If you don’t mind my asking, where do y’all eat at when you eat out? Just wondering what you do since you mostly avoid eating out, what types of foods you order when eating out, what you always avoid no matter what. Just curious as we all are on this healthy eating journey and sometimes find ourselves needing to eat out for one reason or another.


    Laura Reply:

    There’s a fast food chain here in Nebraska called “Runza” which tastes really good. That’s where we usually pick when we go out, simply because if we’re going to eat junk, it really better taste good. :) We go ahead and order whatever sounds good, not putting much restriction on the boys’ choices, simply because eating out is such an infrequent event for us.


  7. Linda D. says

    Great job on the organizing! We have recently moved into our house and I was able to get the home school room painted before we had company for a week. Now, out come all the books and supplies. Our almost 5 year old is so excited to be starting home school. We are using your curriculum as part of our daily learning!


    Laura Reply:

    Hey, my site let you leave a comment! Now that is exciting. :) Blessings to you as you use our curriculum with your 5 year old!


  8. Christi says

    Looks like our schoolroom! We are starting up again on Monday and I’m at the tail end of organizing curriculum. As the kids get older, I seem to need more shelf space than I have. Reading about your back-to-school routine is adding to my excitement to get started again. But, first, we have to survive the 4H fair for a few more days….


  9. Doc Steph says

    Dear Laura:
    I passed the article on to my friend who has a 3 year old and a new baby. She is home schooling and has admitted that she worries about the stigma but is plunging ahead.
    I was 40 when I had my last child. I began “home schooling” before my son could walk. He had a renaissance calendar by the high chair and a wooden puzzle of the USA and he could identify the states by pointing before he could pronounce them. We would go for “field trips” to the fabric store and feel the different textures. We regularly went to the apple orchards in the nearby mountain communities to visit the farms and pick apples or whatever fruit was growing. I began taking my dear son to outdoor classical concerts in the summer as a baby and by the time he was three, he would stand there and pretend to conduct the orchestra. He was learning to read at 3 and could recognize geometric shapes including octagons. I always felt that God accelerated his learning so I could enjoy his aptitude for learning.
    He had a birth defect that took his life at the age of 3 l/2. But during those years, we had some wonderful times with science experiments shared with our breakfast cafe stops in the mornings on the way to my office, field trips to the the fire extinguisher company, and other places. I was truly blessed. He loved to participate in giving things away, and serving the homeless on thanksgiving and Christmas as well at that tender age. His final gift when he died were his organs. His liver saved the life of an 11 month old baby and his kidneys went to a teenager. His favorite expression: Mom! I want to give too!

    Home schooling? Mikhail didn’t miss a trick and was way ahead of me. Thanks Laura for your wonderful website that is truly encouraging. God’s blessings, stephanie


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