I am terrible at taking pictures on the first day of school. This is something you should know about me. I can’t tell you exactly why it is that I don’t take those traditional pictures; boys on the front step, new shoes, haircuts, ready to tackle a new year. We have a handful, but it’s definitely not a tradition. Every year I feel a bit of mom guilt over this as I watch friends post their kids’ first day pictures on facebook or elsewhere.

To ease my guilt and have some record for the boys of their school days I have come up with a tradition of our own. I take them to the backyard and take a few close up snapshots of them, capturing the sweet details of their faces. Hair bleached from the summer sun, freckles, new teeth and loose ones. Since we are usually a few days into the new school year when we do this I ask them a few questions about their expectations for the coming year as well. It’s always interesting to hear their answers.


What grade are you in? Second grade

What is your favorite part of the school day? PE and Music

Why? We play a lot of games and move around, running and stuff. I also like singing and making music with instruments.

What do you want to learn this year in second grade? More math. I like adding and subtracting and multiplying. I’m pretty good at it.


What grade are you in this year? 5th grade

What is your favorite part of the school day? I love grammar because I love to write, but I also really like Social Studies. Learning about American history is interesting.

What do you want to learn this year? I like learning all kinds of new things. I’m especially excited about the Literacy Festival since I’ll get to meet real authors and illustrators.


What grade are you in this year? Kindergarten

What is your favorite part of the school day? Coloring

Why? Because I get to color and draw pictures for you mom, and then I get to bring them home.

What do you want to learn this year in kindergarten? I want to learn about being a good boy. I might want to learn about how to read too.

At the end of the year I think it will be fun to look back on their answers and see how far they came over the course of the school year. I’m always amazed at how much they grow, both in measurable inches and knowledge.


8 Responses to Back to School

  1. Suzi says:

    Oh that Henry just steals my heart! Tell him he already knows how to be a good boy (and a good friend too)!

  2. Michelle says:

    Actually, I think this is a much better tradition and more meaningful to you and your boys. Will it really be important that you take a picture of them in front of the school with new clothes and a new haircut? I really think it’s more about the time they spent with you in the backyard.

  3. Dana says:

    Alison, I’m getting ready to send my two boys to school tomorrow – Graham to first grade and Spencer to his last year of preschool. I am SO READY for them to go back but at the same time I am feeling all the nostalgia of their babyhood something fierce. I love this post. So sweet. And your photos of them never fail to take my breath away.

    • Alison says:

      Dana, I completely hear what you are saying. I miss our baby days, but LOVE the stage where they are now with so many fun things ahead. It all feels a little bittersweet. Thanks for your kind words…they are my 3 favorite subjects to photograph.

  4. Maggie says:

    I love this! I want to remember to do this with our kid(s). You posted about this last year too didn’t you? because I remember thinking the exact same thing then (or I’m having massive dejavu).
    And your photos are just gorgeous, such a lovely quality. The ones of Samuel are extra cute :)

  5. Minna K.S. says:

    What a wonderful post. My litte one isn’t in school yet. It makes me wonder what will come out of her mouth when answering some of these questions. Just so priceless! Thanks for sharing!

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