New house, new school, new friends … oh my!

Our third grader scanned the playground at the elementary school she’ll start attending after the holidays.

“Well, it doesn’t look like a prison,” she told me and my wife, Nicki, from the back seat before heading for monkey bars with her two younger sisters.

“I still like my school better,” she yelled over her shoulder to us on her way.

Yeah, we know.

The prospect of a new school has weighed heavily on Parlie, 9, since she learned we’d be moving to a new town by Christmas.  New house, new school … new friends.

That last one is especially hard for her — she’s attended the same elementary school in our hometown since kindergarten.

Reality’s set in somewhat for our first grader, Emerie.

“Thanks for beeg my teachr!” she recently wrote in what appeared to be a farewell letter to her beloved Ms. Hunt. “It was super cool!”

Emerie might know more than we think, but our kindergartener is oblivious.

“Will Olivia (her ‘best bud’ from class) be at my new school?” Nayvie asked last weekend.

“I’ll let you tell her,” I told Nicki.

They’ve warmed slightly to the news in recent weeks. Last Saturday, we showed them the new place and tried to get them excited about their new bedrooms.

Emerie’s still convinced the master bedroom is hers.

“I absolutely love it,” she said.

“I’ll let you tell her,” Nicki told me.

Getting them into a routine has been a lot of work in recent months. But the effort — and much-needed consistency at school during COVID-19 — has paid dividends:

  • Parlie stayed up until 11 p.m. last Saturday, reading a novel she’s come to love. “I can’t wait to see how it ends,” she said after we finally made her turn out the light.
  • Emerie, our shyest, raved about the new friend she made at recess.
  • Nayvie was named “star student” of her class. (“It means I get to be in front of the line all the time this week, Dad.”) She brought home a booklet of nice things her peers had to say about her. “Nayvie likes girl toys,” wrote Rayce, signature replete with a backward “y”.

Our kids are finally loving school. We hope an abrupt move to a new city won’t wreck it all.

We decided on Saturday to let them see the new school and tear up the jungle gym.

We also did some research. The new school isn’t much bigger than the one they attend now, we assured them, there’s no hybrid learning requirement — currently, at least — and they still get to wear masks.

Get to wear masks, Dad?” Parlie said.

We hope an afternoon on the monkey bars helped, but I won’t bet on it.

“Mom, will Olivia be at my new school?” Nayvie asked again on the car ride home.

The Bodkins: Nayvie, Nicki, Parlie, Devin and Emerie.
Devin Bodkin

About Devin Bodkin

Reporter Devin Bodkin covers education issues in East Idaho. He is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He is a 2019 Solutions Journalism Network fellow and the Idaho Press Club's 2019 print reporter of the year. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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