family homestead

Love, Gen: Back to School and Back at It

While kids pile in and wrestle for their place in the car and moms file in and wait in the carpool lane, I’m reminded that there’s something refreshing about the beginning of September, about the possibility of starting anew that feels downright romantic. It reminds me of the line Joe Fox, played by Tom Hanks, writes to Meg Ryan’s character in an email in “You’ve Got Mail”: “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” I mean, can you imagine anything sweeter?!?

But I digress. The start of a new school year was always a chance to put your best foot forward, even if that just meant sporting the cool new outfit you’d picked out yourself. (Oh, if only I could find some photos of my getups in the ‘80s and ‘90s.) You could forget feeling like a dork, about embarrassing yourself in front of the boy you liked over the summer, about anything and everything that nagged you from the year before, because THIS, this first day in your new classroom was your debut, your Day One of a new you.



I think it’s a good way for us to embrace September as adults too, to see the fall as a time to reflect and reinvent. We may not have a bus to hop on to get us there, but we can take September to make some positive changes about how we feel about ourselves. It could be as simple as starting a new morning mantra routine to remind yourself of how smart/beautiful/incredible you are, or diving into a hobby or activity you’ve been dying to explore. And if you have kids, like I do, what better time to dive into something for yourself than when they’re back in school?



Over here at Now & Gen, we’re working on some exciting things that I’ll be able to tell you about later this month. It’s our time to reinvent and refresh, and it’s something that I’m beyond thrilled to share with you. I think of this month as our back to school, as we tinker with what we’re doing to better communicate and share this content with you.

So, happy September! Please let me know the ways in which you’re celebrating the back to school season in the comments below. Bouquets of newly sharpened pencils, anyone?



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  • Chelby Swartz

    Hey Gen, I am currently in college and have been year around. This September I’m working and deciding where I want to go a step up and get my bachelors at 20. Just want you to know you inspire me to try my hardest in everything I do. Also showing me that trying new things is great too!!


  • Catherine Abney

    Back to school time is crazy. I have the privilege of being the bus driver. The best part of my day is taking pre schoolers to school in the morning and home from school in the afternoon.
    It’s my choice to drive the wheelchair buses. Special needs kids are challenging in so many ways. They will also make me smile when I don’t want to. Gotta Love them ❤❤
    I hope your kids have great teachers and have a great school year ❤❤

  • Kristine Henry

    I’m making plans to go back to school (college), in the coming spring. I finally found something that I love, and want to make it my new job. So, I’m working towards that in the month of September.

  • Allie Fraser

    I live in Australia, so our school year starts at the end of January. I graduated last year in November and decided not to go to University, but to work instead. My favourite time before school started back was going school supply shopping. At the beginning of the year, when it hit me that I wasn’t returning to school, I was really sad that I didn’t get to participate in the back to school craziness that I’d become so accustomed to. I can’t wait for the time in my life where I get to do that with my kids.

  • Faiza

    Hi Gen ! How are you ? yes back to school is very hard for me ahahahah we should get a rythme… An energy lool After holidays we had to be organized it’s not easy I’m a mom too I have 2 daughters I live in France I lived in Paris now I’m from a countryside (Paris,It’s so stressful for me) I see that you have another way to enjoy your back school it’s great to see another model because here it’s not like this… We don’t need cars to file in and to wait …it’s crazy to heard that… I will send you pictures if you want to know how we enjoy here sorry for my English I promise I will improve that lol kisses and hugs I hope your children have a great school year and you too

  • Bailey

    I’m going back to college after almost a year of being out of education due to my chronic illness, it’s a weird feeling and I’m nervous but also insanely excited! Also stationary shopping has been the best thing about this, I have so many cute stationary items!

  • Dia

    I am an adult but you made me wait and love september again 🙂

  • Teri

    I really enjoy camping at this time of the year. I would always have an end of summer camping trip for my sons before school started.

  • Kamryn

    I’m starting senior year this September ? and with the coming cold weather and the smell of fresh air it’s so true it feels like a whole new beginning and I love it! I’m anticipating some new candles burning while I do my chemistry homework and I’m strangely excited ? Love your blog so much! Thank you for exposing the magic in everything ❤️

  • Kamryn

    I started senior year this year ? and you’re totally right the coming of the cold weather the fresh air and fall on the horizon does bring a glimmer of excitement and motivation into the world! I’m so excited to be sitting in a sweater with tea and a new candle doing my chemistry homework strangely enough ? thank you for brining the magic back into the world!

  • Kim

    This year I sent my youngest off to school as a senior. It was my last first day of school ever. I will be sad not to do back to school shopping! I always love buying the kids new school supplies and new outfits. Your right there is something magical about it. This year felt as shocking as the first day my oldest started kindergarten.

  • Elle

    We homeschool, so it’s never “back” to school for us, but I’m always sad to see summer end. September kicks off extracurriculars and busyness for us. Since I’m only two years away from wrapping up this season in my life, I’m looking for new ways to refresh MYSELF, to make ME the priority. That’s hard when your priorities have been everyone else for 19 years. So I’m learning new habits and new mindsets this back to school season.

  • Nicole

    Hi Gen!!

    If you send me yout address I will send a bouquet of sharpened pencils!!

    My kids started school in August….but fall as always been my favorite season. Fall is where my lifr has always changed. I got divroced in the fall had my second child in the fall; celebrated the birth and the death of my mother in the fall. Fall is my time to always get my hair done.

    And there is seriosuly something romantic about the fall. I feel closer to nature and to my kids during this time

    • Enola Jones

      An older friend of mine has an empty next. Every summer she buys school supplies and donates them to the school. The teachers are happy and she’s happy and it works. It might be something for you to consider.

  • Mary

    Back to school time in my house is a family affair. My husband and I are both teaching assistants and its exciting to see what the new school year will bring. Our girls love back to school supply shopping. Everything is new and shiny and clean. A fresh start.

  • Marcela

    Hi, Gen! I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Here we are letting winter go away and embracing Spring. But your post suits perfectly well to a new beggining in September. Thanks a lot!! K&L for you and your wonderfull family!! Bye mag.

  • Shannon

    What I would love is a bouquet of multicolored Sharpies!

  • Darlene

    You have such beautiful children i hope they have a great school year. You are such a lioving mom and jared is such a great dad i wish you both a fantastic year as well. I still help my son get reAdy for school but he’s in college so more expensive but almost done he is studying to be a special education teacher so proud of him

  • Mo

    I love back to school even as an adult because I think of it as time to start anew and work more on myself.
    P. S: I love your eyebrows in your younger self picture. ?⭐

  • Faiza

    Hi Gen ! Back to school it’s not easy but we thinks about many things at this time I love this here in France it’s not like this but it’s so fun to share your experiences with your children 🙂 here we avoid to get cars to get our child to school I prefer to walk because the climate change we promote this or bikes.. it’s a new beginning to us parents sorry for my English I hope you understood…kisses and hugs from France enjoy your family I wish you a good September

  • Cindy

    I don’t have kids yet but I love what you said about using September to sort of reflect and reinvent yourself. I think it’s important to have these types of days to use as a “new beginning”. 🙂 I mean, why not have a day like new years throughout the year!

  • Victoria

    Every day your blog is better to read!
    I’m Brazilian and faithfully follow your blog!
    thank you for writing!…
    You are awesome, Gen! ?

  • Jordy Sirkin

    Love the subtle dino-themed bedroom for the kiddo!

  • Jennifer (JENN)

    This was my first school year start without a first day of school picture. My last little one is off at college. Granted in the first few weeks I think she was home more than in her dorm, but I am fine with that. 🙂
    I was so excited to see her off to college as we live in a small town and her big brother left quite an impression behind in their school. I was thrilled she was able to get out of that shadow and begin a life of individuality and purpose. She is a true warrior and wicked smart so I have no doubts that she will soar!
    As her mom tho…. there have been a few days of deep sighs and standing in her doorway to try and remember everything I can. Today (30th of October) is a little bittersweet. Today she turns 19 and I am finding a little ache today. Hold those “littles” tight all – blink and they are grown.
    Jenn (always Mom)
    p.s. – Thank you for all your book recomendations – My library has me on speed dial for all the books I have on reserve. 🙂

  • Laurie Smith

    Hi Gen…I am a rational person, so I realize the idea of you having an ounce of time to read this is probably an impossibility. But your blog commands to “be inspired” and I am, so I thought I would share. I wanted to thank you and your whole family. I found you and your family from monitoring what my daughter was watching on TV and YouTube and I ended up landing here and just loving your site. I was hoping I could make a request. Would you mind writing something about bullying? My daughter is being bullied at school and has been for three years. Some days the only thing that made her happy was watching Suoernatural…so literally you guys saved a thirteen year old…and I am so grateful. But I don’t know how to handle it as a mom and I am unsure how to advise her to keep her head up in a situation that I, as an adult, would have trouble adapting to. I value your opinion, as does she. Again…thank you…to all of you…for reminding my girl to always keep fighting 🙂

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