Wisdom From an Elementary School Principal

Every morning my son’s kindergarten class starts off with reading time for the first 15 minutes of the school day. The children choose books from the class library, and parents and family members are invited to stay and read. I try to be there as often as I can, which is two or three days a week at the moment. I enjoy spending that time with my son, and getting to know his classmates.

At least half of the time when I sit in on reading time I’m there for the morning announcements. The principal comes on the PA system and fills the school in on what to expect that day. He also shares daily tips. As I was thinking about it on the walk back from school this morning, it occurred to me that my children’s elementary school principal has a lot of wisdom to share that applies not just to children, but to everyone. Today, I thought it would be fun to share some of the wisdom I’ve gleaned from those morning announcements.

lessons from elementary school principal wisdom

Wisdom From an Elementary School Principal

  • Don’t use more toilet paper than you need.
  • When you meet a stranger, greet them with a smile and share your name.
  • Eat your healthy food first.
  • Put your garbage in the garbage can.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather.
  • Everyone has more fun when you include all your friends.
  • Put first things first.
  • If you don’t understand an instruction, ask for help.
  • Take care of your things.
  • Ask before you use something that belongs to someone else.
  • Take turns doing the things your friends want to do.
  • Looking for a great book? The librarian would love to share a suggestion with you.
  • Prepare for your day before you arrive.
  • Try something new today.
  • Take care of the spaces that you use.
  • Congratulate others on their successes.
  • Never, ever throw snow, or you will have to come to my office and talk to me. (Okay, maybe this one doesn’t apply in general.)

What about you – what wisdom have you gleaned from teachers or principals?

School as Childcare

school childcare parenting

This coming weekend my kids will have four days off of school, since public institutions are closed for Good Friday and Easter Monday where I live. Last weekend they got three days off, because Friday was a professional development day for teachers. The week before that was a full week where they went to school five days in a row, but it followed on the heels of a two week long Spring Break.

Chatting with other moms on the playground after school, I often hear the comment that it can feel like there are a whole lot of days when the kids aren’t in school. I can relate. Days off from school can really disrupt the usual routine with kids. As a work-at-home mom (and student) I rely on school to give me kid-free time. When my kids are out of school more, I find myself working in the evenings more, and scrambling to keep up. Many parents love that school gives them free childcare, including me.

Chatting with other people, however, I’ve noticed that many people view this tendency of parents to use school as de facto childcare negatively. I’ve heard a few comments from a number of quarters recently along the lines of, “Well, you know, many parents think school is just free daycare.”

The funny thing is that parents who extoll the virtues of school as childcare, and critics who deride the idea of school as childcare, are actually saying exactly the same thing. They may even be using exactly the same words, just with a slightly different tone of voice. There’s no dispute that some parents use school as childcare – there’s only disagreement over whether this is good or bad.

I spent the past four months studying the philosophy of education. My textbook has this to say: “… schools do as a matter of fact serve as child-minding facilities, regardless of whether that was either the community’s or the parents’ intention or wish.” I think that sums up the issue very well. When you put a whole bunch of kids in a classroom for six hours a day, five days a week (most weeks), you are freeing up their parents to do other things. If those same parents were already doing other things, you’re reducing the amount of daycare they need to pay for outside of school. Either way, the parents come to depend on school to some extent. However, it may be the case that nobody actually meant to establish a state-run free daycare system. Hence the conflict.

It’s true that my primary aim in sending my children to school isn’t for the free childcare, but for the educational benefits. It’s also true that before I had children of my own I would have viewed school-as-childcare with some level of suspicion. I likely would have thought that daycare was something that parents should handle themselves. Now that I’m a parent my opinions are different.

When my daughter Hannah turned three years old she aged out of her infant and toddler daycare centre. Her father and I had a difficult time finding a new childcare setting for her. She ended up spending six months at a local Montessori school that just wasn’t a good fit for her. At the time I was pregnant with my son Jacob, and I needed to continue working to qualify for maternity leave. While my husband and I knew that our daughter was safe and engaged at the Montessori school it was very stressful for us, because she wasn’t happy. When she got a spot at another school that was a better fit for her, it was a tremendous relief.

This is just one example of how difficult it can be to find good childcare. I’ve had other experiences, and virtually every other parent I’ve ever met has stories to share, too. It’s emotionally gruelling when your need to work conflicts with your child’s need for quality care. It’s even harder for lower-income parents, parents of special needs children and single parents. That’s what makes public school so great. The staff are highly-qualified, the program is educational, and your kids are guaranteed a free spot. It may not meet all of your childcare needs, but it meets a lot of them, and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

At its root, I think the conflict comes down to the question of whether or not we believe society should be involved in childcare. It’s clear to me that we don’t believe this, speaking in broad terms. In most of Canada the daycare system is privately-run – we leave it to parents and businesses to sort it out. Some people still believe that mothers shouldn’t work, especially while their children are small. Culturally, we value self-reliance, encouraging parents to raise their own children.

Not every country holds this view, however. In Denmark, for instance, all young children have the option of enrolling in a childcare centre, and parents must not be charged more than 25-28% of the cost of the child’s care. And why do other countries provide affordable, universal childcare and early education? Because it frees parents to work and pursue outside interests, which benefits their families. Systems with more oversight tend to provide a higher level of care from more qualified staff. And children who may not otherwise have access to educational opportunities can learn. Society benefits from more educated citizens who come from more economically secure homes.

It’s true that the primary aim of school is educational. However, it serves many other purposes, some very intentional (think hot breakfast programs in inner cities) and some not so much (think making sure your child is exposed to the Rainbow Loom craze). I am inclined to think that that some of those maybe-not-so-intentional benefits of school are still very valuable, including childcare. Not every parent will take advantage of it – I know many homeschooling families who are very happy with their choice. I don’t think those of us who do rely on school for child-free time need to be embarrassed about that, though. We’re benefiting as parents, but our kids, our employers and our society are benefiting, too. These are all good things.

If you are relying on school for childcare, though, there is one thing you need to do. Keep on top of those professional development days so they don’t sneak up on you. They have a way of popping up when you least expect it, as the other moms on the playground can tell you.

Random Bits and Pieces

Every day I add write a blog post to my to-do list, and every day I don’t get around to it. Then every day I feel sad about it. Today, I have no brilliant ideas, and the writing muse has gone on hiatus. Being back at school, reading textbooks and academic articles, and writing papers for class, is using up most of my brain power. I’ll come clean and confess that when I’m not reading for school, I’m re-reading the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy. Right now, the poor writing quality and extremely easy-to-follow narrative is comforting. I’m looking for something that isn’t challenging, and it definitely isn’t.

Early this week we got a letter confirming that our contractor was no longer in creditor protection, but now officially bankrupt. Our names were on an attached document with more than 180 others, detailing a debt of over $2 million. The amount they quoted as being owed to us was low, however, so it’s definitely possible that the contractor was in the hole by more. It’s erupted into something of a story locally, and my husband was on the news talking about it on Tuesday. I was at class when the reporter stopped by. There was good news today, though – it looks like the bank that arranged all the home improvement loans is going to try to make good.

random bits and piecesThere are more bright spots, too – lots of them. The weather has been lovely this week. So lovely, in fact, that I planted spinach and radishes. I bought a mason bee kit a couple of months ago and the cocoons are currently in my fridge hibernating. I’m hoping to put those out soon, and I’m excited about that. I’m planning to finally paint the sunroom in my kitchen (the one part of my renovation that was mostly finished) this weekend. My kids are awesome. I bought a new organic wine today. I have new purple tights. Things aren’t so bad.

You would think that I would be at my wits’ end right now, but I’m actually not. Truthfully, I think I was more stressed out a couple of months ago. Right now there’s just so much going on that I honestly don’t have much time to worry. Also, I’ve started getting acupuncture to help me with my oh-so-delightful monthly mood swings, and I’m loving it. I’m not sure whether it’s the needles themselves, or the fact that while they’re in I get to lie in a lovely, warm, quiet, dark room that smells good and listen to music all by myself for 20 minutes, but going each week has been really positive. I’m a fan, and knowing that I have that to look forward to is helping to smooth out the rough edges. Plus my improved energy circulation, I am sure.

So yes, I’m here. I’m alive. Lots of things are happening, and I’m doing my best to take it as it comes.

What about you – what’s new in your world?

On Going Back to School

This past Monday I returned to a university lecture hall as a student for the first time in 14 years. My first week is now under my belt, and I have not run screaming for the hills. In fact, it went quite well, all things considered. I realize it’s still early days yet, but I’m finding it easier to maintain my sense of perspective about school this time around. After all, I’m really choosing to be there, in a way that I wasn’t when I was 18 years old. Then, it was more about what was expected. Now, it’s about what I want to do for myself. That makes a huge difference.

In case you’re curious, here are some of the high points of my first week.

High Points

  • I’ve really appreciated all of your well wishes.
  • It takes less time for me to drive to campus than I expected, and finding parking is easy.
  • I can still be insightful in class.
  • My history professor is funny, and he played the banjo for us during the first lecture.
  • The mostly much younger students are not at all put off by my comparatively advanced age.
  • The campus waste stations include recycling and compost bins.
  • The teaching assistant in my history tutorial went out of her way to create a safe space for everyone.
  • My history textbook is Canadian History for Dummies, and it’s a really good read.
  • I enjoyed my first education lecture, which is good because that’s the reason I’m going to school at all.
  • I was able to figure out the online course material delivery system without too much effort.
  • Most of the other students took notes using a pen and paper, like me.
  • So far my workload looks like it will be fairly manageable.
  • I am one of the few students who doesn’t appear to be intimidated by the writing, probably because I’ve been churning out hundreds of words a day for years.

simon fraser university mature student going back to school
The fine print says, “Artist’s conception. Real professor may vary.”

Low Points

  • I have to be in class at 8:30am on Thursdays, which was a bit of a shock after not having to even leave the house before 8:40am for the past five plus years.
  • Studying anatomy for my kinesiology class involves a lot of memorization.
  • For my lab work in the same kinesiology class, I will be analyzing my body composition, including my body fat. You can guess how much this mom of two in her late 30s is looking forward to that.
  • I got lost twice this week.
  • Reading for school means less reading for pleasure.
  • There is a fair bit of schedule juggling when combining the variable schedule of school with the decidedly not variable schedule of parenting.
  • Homework is still not what anyone would call inspiring.
  • The Simon Fraser University campus is as cold and rainy in winter as ever, and I don’t have a hood or an appropriate umbrella. Luckily this is fixable.

simon fraser university mature student going back to school
An upside to being lost was happening upon a pretty courtyard.

Fortunately, so far the high points outweigh the low points, and many of the low points are either temporary or fixable. For instance, I doubt I will get lost every week. All in all, I’m off to a pretty good start. I’m still taking things one step at a time, but I’m feeling more optimistic than I was last week at this time. I’ll take it.

One Step at a Time

I’ve been going through a spot of writer’s block. When you add that to the general holiday frenzy, the result is that I’m not writing as much in this space as I would like. Today, as I struggled to come up with something clever or funny or meaningful or at least mildly noteworthy, I decided that there was only thing to do: just write. And so here I sit, hoping that the more I type, the more words will come, and that in the process I’ll create a blog post worthy of hitting the “Publish” button for.

A few things have been on my mind lately, and I suppose that’s a good place to start. The first is my decision to go back to school starting in January. I’ve been up to the campus a couple of times in the past two weeks. I reactivated my admission at the same school I graduated from almost a decade and a half ago, so they still had all of the information I gave them when I applied as a fresh-faced 17-year-old. This meant I needed to change the name I was registered under. I don’t have my old student card anymore, and in order to get a new one I need photo ID. I don’t have any current photo ID with my unmarried name on it, so I had to dig out my marriage certificate. Then, after making the drive up and showing them my marriage certificate I had to wait 24 hours for the changes to take effect before I could get a student card.

Technology may change, but bureaucracy never does.

There have been some good parts of going back to school, though. I’m genuinely excited to take my classes, and exercise parts of my brain that have been dormant for ages. I picked up the lab materials for the kinesiology course I’m taking by correspondence and they include a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. How fun is that? I also bought myself a new backpack, notebook, pens and pencils and all that fun stuff. I even splurged on a new pencil case, covered with an illustration of the mad tea party from Alice in Wonderland. New school supplies are even more fun when they’re for me instead of my kids.

school supplies pencil case alice in wonderland

All of the little details of handling bureaucracy, buying supplies, getting a parking pass, purchasing my textbooks and so on are really minor, though. The biggest questions that are weighing on my mind are:

  1. Can I actually do this? Am I overdoing by taking three university-level classes while also parenting and working part-time?
  2. Should I actually do this? Just because I can probably pull off the classes (I’m really good at school … or at least I was) doesn’t mean that this is the right choice for me, professionally or personally.

I’ve had many people come up to me and say things like, “You’re going to be a teacher!” They’ve told me how great this is, or that I’ll be really good at it, or that they’ve been considering something similar for themselves. I really appreciate the enthusiasm and encouragement. It’s amazing to know that other people are pulling for me. However, I really don’t want to put the cart before the horse.

I think that maybe I would like to be a teacher. I am going to try taking some classes – and most especially an education class – and see how that goes. If that goes well, I am going to try volunteering in a classroom that neither of my kids are in, and see how that goes. I am going to take it step by step, and if at any point I realize this is not right for me, I am going to give myself the freedom to let it go. In the process, I will have had new experiences, learned new lessons, and gained an important piece of information about myself.

If it is right for me, then maybe I will have found something that fulfills me, and allows me to give back. That would be fabulous. For the moment, I’m remaining open to both possibilities. When I went to engineering school, I remained committed because I felt that quitting would be the wrong thing to do. I don’t want to fall into the trap of being the good student who finishes what she starts no matter what for a second time. Now that I’m a grown-up I know that sometimes you need to say good-bye to one thing so that you can welcome something else into your life.

This is why, today, I am taking things one step at a time. I am handling one piece of bureaucracy, buying one thing I need, entering one commitment into my calendar, bit by bit by bit. I am cautiously optimistic, guardedly hopeful and contemplative all at the same time. Oh, and while I do all that, I’m also suffering from the sticker-shock of my tuition bill.


I have learned one thing today, however, and that is that I’m still a writer no matter what. I know this, because sitting down in this chair and writing my thoughts out has really helped. In clarifying them for the Internet at large, I’ve clarified them for myself. It’s a good thing. I guess sometimes I really do need to just write.

Mature Student

I was inspired to write this post for the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month’s topic is The More Things Change … and it really resonated with me. Big things are ahead for me, but you’ll have to read on to find out what!

university school teacher student crafting my life

In late November I did something that I haven’t done in approximately 14 years – I registered for university classes. It was surprisingly easy. As a past student I was able to fill out a one-page form and re-activate my admission. When I attended the first time around I had to wake up at 5:00am to register by telephone, but this time around I registered at 2:30pm over the web. Even parking is easier. In the 90s there was a highly-competitive parking lottery, and people went years without securing a spot. That has all changed, and now I just have to show up at the office and pay.

In spite of the relative ease, I am still struggling. This is a big step for me, and it represents a new direction in my life. It’s yet another change of course, and I’m filled with trepidation about what it holds.

When I first attended university I chose engineering school because it felt solid and practical and potentially lucrative. I was good at math and science, and I felt I should capitalize on that. The truth is that while there were many things I enjoyed about engineering, and a whole lot of fantastic people I met along the way, it was never something that fed my soul in a meaningful way. I worked with people who were so energized by solving complex technical problems. Over lunch, they would debate the best way to build a dog trailer for a bicycle, or whether or not a Star Trek-style teleporter was scientifically possible. They loved it. I liked it well enough.

If you’ve been following my blog this isn’t news to you. You’ll know that I finished engineering school and worked as a programmer for 10 years. You’ll also know that during my second maternity leave my position was downsized, and I seized the opportunity to create a different sort of life for myself. This time around, I decided, I would be a writer.

As a writer I held a few freelance jobs, and enjoyed myself. I worked on this blog, attended conferences, and became active on social media. It’s work that has energized me in ways that engineering didn’t. Eventually I became the editor at VancouverMom.ca, an online magazine for moms. I’ve learned a lot, interviewed amazing and inspiring people, discovered my love for podcasting, visited places I never would have seen otherwise, and connected with my community in new ways. When I was talking to my husband this summer about what I wanted to do next, I told him that I was really loving where I was right now. It was true. I was pretty freaking happy.

Two things happened this fall that shifted my perspective. The first thing is that my son Jacob started full-day kindergarten. While this didn’t really net me oceans of free time, it did change my outlook. I am no longer the parent of preschool-aged children. My kids are moving out into the world on their own, and the reality is making me re-examine where I am in my life, and where I want to go next.

The second thing that happened seems much more innocuous at first blush: I was invited to an open house put on by a group that encourages young girls to explore math and science. They wrote about the importance of exposing our daughters to STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, math), and I agreed. While a career in engineering wasn’t right for me, ultimately, the truth is that I don’t regret pursuing it for a minute. It opened a lot of doors for me, taught me a lot, and provided me with skills and ideas that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I started considering how I could share my love for math and science with my own kids, and with other kids. As I did, a long-buried dream surfaced from the depths of my psyche.

I could teach math and science. I could be a teacher.

I did some reading online, and one day in late October I headed up to the university campus for an information session at the Faculty of Education. Being on campus felt familiar in many ways. After all, I did spend six years of my life there. When I graduated, originally, I was happy to be done, and had no urge to return. That day, however, I felt energized to be sitting in a classroom. I left the information session with a better picture of what I would have to do if I pursued this route, and a determination to take the next steps.

Before I actually go any further, I need to take some more classes. I don’t have all of the necessary prerequisites to pursue my teaching degree, so I’m taking three classes in January, and continuing my other work. I want to take my time with this, and make sure this is actually what I want to do.

I don’t know what it will be like to balance school and parenting. I don’t know if I would actually be a good teaching candidate. I don’t know how long this will take, or what it will feel like to sit in class beside people half my age. All I know right now is that my first career dream as a child was teaching. I also know that I have volunteered with kids, even before I had kids of my own, because I love hanging out with them. Right now, I want to follow through on it, and see where it takes me.

Going back to school feels like a big change in direction, but it also feels like coming home. I guess that the more things change, the more they really do stay the same.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Mature StudentAmber Strocel is embarking on a new adventure in 2014, by returning to a space in her life she thought she’d left behind – that of being a university student.
  • And then there were four — Jillian at Mommyhood learned how quickly love can grow when welcoming a second child to the family.
  • Handling Change As A Mother (And Why That Takes Things To A Different Level) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she helps her young daughter navigate change and why it is so important, as a mother, to gauge her own reactions to change.
  • Without Dad-One Year Later — Erica at ChildOrganics shares how her life has changed one year after losing her husband suddenly.
  • Family Ties — Lori at TEACH through Love realized that her most significant, most painful wound paved the way for her to share her greatest gift.
  • Rootless — After Dionna @ Code Name: Mama‘s parents packed up their home and moved to Florida this fall, she is feeling rootless and restless.
  • A Letter to My Mama Self in the Swirl of Change — Sheila Pai of A Living Family shares a letter she wrote to herself to capture and remember the incredible changes from the year, and invites you to do the same and share!
  • Junctionssustainablemum explains how her family has dealt with a complete change of direction this year.
  • Planning, Parenting, and Perfection — Becca at The Earthling’s Handbook explains how most of the plans she made for her adult life have worked out differently than she planned, but she’s ended up getting a lot of what she really wanted.
  • Why First Grade Means Growing Up… for Both Me and My Daughter — Donna at Eco-Mothering discovers that her daughter’s transition into first grade is harder as a parent.
  • First Year of Mothering — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot reflects on the quiet change that took her by surprise this year.
  • Building the Community YOu Desire — A recent move has Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children working toward setting up a new support network.
  • Slowing down in 2013 — A car fire and a surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome made 2013 a very different year than the one Crunchy Con Mommy and family were expecting!
  • The Seven Year Cycle — After 7 intense years of baking, birthing and breastfeeding 6 kids, Zoie at TouchstoneZ wonders, “Will I be enough for what comes next?”
  • Rebirth — Kellie of Our Mindful Life has found that each of her births leaves her a different person.
  • When a Hobby Becomes a Business — This year, new doors opened for That Mama Gretchen‘s hobby of writing and blogging – it has turned into a side business. She’s sharing a bit about her journey and some helpful tips in case you’re interested in following the same path.
  • 5 Tips for Embracing a Big Change in Your Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about a big change in her family and shares tips that have always helped her family embrace changes.
  • Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes — Ana at Panda & Ananaso ruminates on how having a child changed her priorities.
  • Homeostasis — Lauren at Hobo Mama is finding that even as elements shift in her life — in cosleeping, homeschooling, breastfeeding, & more — they mostly remain very familiar.
  • Sally go round the sun — A new baby brings joy and unexpected sadness for Douglas at Friendly Encounters, as she is diagnosed with a rare genetic condition.
  • Embrace it — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen muses about the changes in her family this year and how she can embrace them . . . as best she can anyway.
  • Big Change; Seamless but Big — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how one of the biggest changes of her life was also a seamless transition.
  • Celebrating Change — Change feeds Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep‘s soul. And all the work that seemed like monotonous nothingness finally pays off in a clear way.

Field Trip Chaperone

One of the best parts about working from home, to me, is the flexibility. I can drop into my son’s kindergarten classroom for the daily reading time. It’s not the end of the world if one of my kids is sick, and I’m not left scrambling for childcare on a snow day. Plus, I can do things like volunteer to go on field trips.

My own mother was a stay-at-home-mom until I was in grade three. She walked me to the bus stop every morning, volunteered in my classroom, and would often be one of the parent drivers on my class field trips. I enjoyed that. By working from home, I get to share that with my own kids, only instead of walking them to the bus stop I’m walking them to school. I know that I’m very lucky, indeed, to be able to do this.

field trip school busLucky and wise aren’t always the same thing, however. In the past I’ve only gone on walking field trips. I accompanied my daughter’s class to sing at a local extended care home or walked them to a nearby high school to see a play. Yesterday, I stepped up my field trip game by volunteering as one of the parent supervisors for a trip three classes from my daughter’s school were taking to Science World in Vancouver. The kids travelled by bus, which excited my daughter immensely, as it was her first time on a school bus. I drove myself in my own car, which actually worked out because I’m sure my trip was far more peaceful than it would have been otherwise.

When those kids came pouring off the bus at Science World, the excitement was so thick that the air almost crackled with it. I rounded up my group of five kids, who I would be supervising. I marshalled the eight-year-olds over to the area where they dropped off their lunches and coats, and then tried to lead them upstairs away from the crowds. This is when I got my first taste of what the rest of my day would be like. They all agreed to follow me, but no more than 15 seconds later when I turned back only one child was still with me. The rest had all been distracted by one display or another, and had wandered a little bit off track.

science world field tripOther than the time spent watching the movie and attending the workshop, this was pretty much what my day was like.

Me: Hey, team! How about we go check out the nature exhibit?
Kids: Yeah!
Me: Great! This way!
Kids: Yeah!
Me: … one, two, three … I’m missing two kids. Which two am I missing? Sarah! There you are! Come back here! Now, has anyone seen Mitchell? Okay, you guys, stay right here. I’ll be right back.
Me: Mitchell! There you are. I know this place is exciting, but I need you to stay with the group. They’re right over there … well, two of them are. Who’s missing now?

And so on, and so on, and so on.

I’d say that it was like herding cats, only I suspect cats would be more cooperative. Plus, you can always put cats inside cat carriers and lock the door if you really need them to stay in one place. You cannot do this with children.

science world beavers rodents
It turns out ancient beavers were really big

In the end, only one kid on the field trip went missing long enough that the staff started looking for him, and he wasn’t in my group. We managed lunch and bathroom visits and exhibit exploration, and I managed not to raise my voice once. My head only hurt a little when it was over, although I was more tired than I’ve been in years. I think that counts as a fairly successful field trip, all told.

When I mentioned my post-grade-three-field-trip fatigue on Facebook, the fabulous Allison a.k.a. Bibliomama said, “I’ve done that. Twice. And then again in grade four. And then I started burning the permission slips.” She is a wise woman, Allison. Although, truthfully, I’d probably do it again. I didn’t volunteer in order to have a relaxing day, or for my health, or for a free trip to Science World. I volunteered for my daughter. Yesterday evening, when she gushed about how much fun she’d had and how glad she was I came along, I knew it had been worthwhile. Long after my fatigue has worn off, Hannah will remember that I went with her class to Science World. That’s the part that counts.

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