OTTUMWA — Bailee Knott will be in the third grade next week. That means the entire family is preoccupied with back-to-school preparations.
Classes begin in Ottumwa next Wednesday, and many things have to be taken care of before then. Summer has been a relaxing time for families all around southeast Iowa with lots of different activities scheduled.
Knott's mom, Alisha McConnell, says that she's taken her daughter to the library frequently over the summer, keeping her involved in reading programs. Knott admits that she loves chapter books and reading.
Online math and spelling games have also been on the to-do list, but that's not what the summer's been about.
"She's been involved in a lot of the activities at the library, but the summer's really been about relaxation and fun," McConnell said.
But now things swing back into high gear as the clothes shopping, school supply hunts and last-minute paperwork commence.
"I'm looking forward to my new grade and Mrs. Fall, my teacher," Knott said.
Plus, her school, Horace Mann, is hosting an ice cream social the night before school starts. That's a great motivator to head back to classes.
Monday was spent shopping for school supplies. A trip to Dollar General proved productive as mother and daughter found many of the items the school has required. Horace Mann, and some other schools, send out the next year's school supply list with the last report card of the year. The store also had the lists for all of the schools posted near the school supply aisle, so forgetfulness is no excuse.
Knott was excited about finding notebooks, pens and paint. She loves to draw, and she was looking forward to having new supplies.
Preparing for sending her daughter back to school is a little more complicated for McConnell. She's busy juggling getting school supplies, figuring out transportation and caring for her family's daily needs while working and preparing to start classes of her own.
"So Bailee will go to school early and ride home with a friend," she explained. "I've got a 2-year-old, too, so there's school, day care, work, and I'm a full-time student. With all of her activities, we'll have to coordinate calendars."
Many parents are finding themselves in this situation as they work, coordinate multiple schedules and prepare for school to start again for all ages of students.
"It's a challenge, but we'll figure it all out," McConnell said.