Preparing la rentree (Back to school)

La rentree (Back to School) in France is a very important moment of the year. It means new friends, new activities, a new schedule, a new rhythm… for both children but also their parents.

There is a lot of preparation that goes into it, and the month of September is a whirlwind. Here is how the summer goes leading up to La Rentrée. This is specifically this year, but it is the same every year, I have just gotten a bit more organized.

My July / August to do :

  • Receive list from school with everything you need to buy (yes, in France the school tells you which color notebook to buy, what size you need for each class, which brand of calculator you must get, what color ink you should avoid…).
Receipt of purchased school supplies

Receipt of purchased school supplies

  • Go through left over supplies from last year to see what you have, what needs to be thrown out, and what needs to be replaced.
Reorganised school materials

Reorganised school materials

  • Buy everything and go to 5 different stores looking for a yellow binder with stripes, size 24×32, that can hold 500 single pages of paper, with orange and blue dividers. No I am not joking nor exaggerating. Well maybe a little bit, but not by much.
  • Buy the 9 books that my two kids had to read over the summer.
  • Contact insurance to obtain a specific paper so I do not have to buy the school’s insurance
  • Anticipate doctors appointments, so my kids are deemed apt for a given sport, to ensure that they get a spot in the given class. With out a doctor’s “apt notice”, your file is not considered complete and someone else can take your spot.
  • Get some new school clothes.
  • Search the internet for the specific Texas Instrument Calculator that kids need in their sophomore year. Look for a deal because it costs $80.
  • Call friends to see where they found the specific calculator.
  • Make sure kids have read books on the reading list.
  • Prepare papers for first day of school. For each child, they needed : 8 enveloppes (of a specific size) with stamps, a check that covers the amount of their agenda (everyone has the same), photocopy the insurance paper that I received.
  • Take ID pictures that they need for school and activities. As they have grown up, last year’s leftover photos look really young.
  • Fill out papers for kid’s sports.
  • Call sports coaches to discuss options
  • Hug kids lots and tell them they are going to have a great year, and that teachers are people too.


First day of 8th grade

First day of 8th grade

Phew. And school hasn’t even started yet.


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Comments: 2

  1. Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner September 6, 2014 at 12:49 pm Reply

    yup school in France sounds pretty similar to here. Why do they care what color your own noteboook is?? LOl we have the same calculator too. Spent tons of $ this year too. HOpe you survive 🙂
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…September Coffee DateMy Profile

    • Karen - French Inspiration September 6, 2014 at 5:41 pm Reply

      Too funny about the calculator! And one color notebook per class. Yellow for math, green for French, etc. Easier for the kids / teacher. She says get out your yellow notebook. In France there are almost 30 kids per class so it takes a heck of a lot of organisation for the teacher.

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