As we move towards the second half of August the return to school known in France as La Rentrée draws ever closer. And with La Rentrée comes preparations for school. In France pupils have to supply their own exercise books and many other things including art materials, pens etc, file paper, folders, plastic pockets ... and so the list goes on. At the end of the summer term a list is sent home and parents are giving the onerous task of gathering together all the supplies. Yes, I can see anyone with school-age children in France quivering slightly at this point and fully understanding what this involves!
It is something I absolutely dread because there are so many variations on each item yet each teacher seems to ask for a specific thing, slightly different from the next. Take A4 exercise books. The lists that Ben and Tom have asks for 4 different types:
- A4, 96 pages, small squares, not spiral bound
- A4, 96 pages, large squares, not spiral bound
- 24/32, 96 pages, small squares, not spiral bound*
- 24/32, 96 pages, large squares, not spiral bound*
* These are slightly larger than standard A4 and are apparently preferred by teachers who get their pupils to stick lots of A4 sheets into their books.
The shops however also supply exercise books with different numbers of pages and spiral bound and A5 and plain .... and we poor parents have to trawl through them all to find the right ones. Oh and then you have to try and work out if it is cheaper to buy multipacks or a different make and not forget that you need to buy the right number of protective covers to fit the number of different sized books you are asked to buy!!!
Oh and don't get me going on file paper (Feuilles). The boys have been asked to get:
- Feuilles simples A4 large squares
- Feuilles simples A4 small squares
- Feuilles doubles A4 large squares
- Feuilles doubles A4 small squares
- Feuilles simples A5 large squares
So this week I have been trying to pin down the boys to go through what they have left over from last year before bravely heading to the shops to stock up on everything new they need. I may have been making preparations for La Rentrée but I reckon my word of the week could just have easily have been stressed or exasperated or confused or broke!
Mum - "There we go! I don't think we've forgotten anything!"
Boy - "Yes! A giant school bag to store this lot in!"
If you are you in the midst of preparations for the return to the school, how's it going?