Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Updated! Boarding School at Home, Part 2: Uniform Pics, Description, & Evolution

Just some quick pics and graphics for now. There's the Summer Uniform Guide (Requirement,) K and I in said Summer uniform (yes, Teacher Mom gets one too,) and a Winter Uniform Guide where the teenager will be required to wear what I jokingly refer to as "the Full Dalton."

Update: Here's a bit about the uniforms themselves & the progression of them.

Before I became completely obsessed with the idea of uniforms for boarding-school-at-home, I knew I wanted shirt & tie days as a punishment. In fact, I remember the PMS-clouded day when I went to Sears, Target, & Wal-mart on my own searching for short sleeved shirts & non-ugly ties. I was nice though, and picked up some cool, casual plaid summer shirts. Honestly, I could've come home with heavy Oxfords, but didn't. I also could have come home with some fugly shirts because trust me, the majority were.

And that's what it all started off as: shirt, tie, & whatever the hell you want to wear as bottoms. K hated those days. He still gets grumpy about them, but I think he's finally resigned himself to the fact that he's going to have to wear a shirt & tie at least a few days a week and that he'll be doing "the full Dalton" come cooler weather.

In order to figure out what could work as uniform pieces from his current wardrobe & to weed out too small clothes to give to a friend of ours, K & I went through every last scrap of clothing he owned. He ended up with Men's-sized shorts that were too big even though they'd fit him just a month prior, a few pairs of jeans (he hates jeans, but we'd bought him some anyway during the short shopping trip,) a few undergarments, a ton of socks, and a ton of gaming, homeschooling, & cool sayings T-shirts. Everything else was too big (I'd panicked during his Winter growth spurt & apparently started buying Men's size large) or too small.

Gasping at the cost of Land's End's clothes considering how much the basement Mural/Pantry Room remodel had just cost us and because the kid was in desperate need of shorts, we first went shopping locally. That's how K ended up with plaid shorts that you see in the Uniform Guide. Ditto for the polo shirt colors. Sears had them on sale for $9.99 which beats $25 Land's End shirts. Not that we won't be buying a ton of Land's End stuff. It's just when you need clothes NOW, you're going to take what you can get & what fits. And that's hard since K is in between Men's & boy's sizes. When we did place a small LE order, 1/2 had to go back as it was for being too small despite going by their sizing guide. And goodness forbid that Sears actually carry the larger Lands End uniform sizes. (They don't, we asked.)

Grammar tense change warning since I wrote this little bit before I wrote the above stuff: It's frelling hot & humid where we live during the summer, so there was no way I can bring myself to making the kid wear slacks during the summer. I have them listed in the uniform guide only as an option. He tends to be colder than hub and I.

Color Choices: Oh boy, has there been a debate about colors in our home! I also think Lands End is now refusing to send us any more fabric samples because the ones for the ties still hasn't come in. I knew I wanted navy blue. K likes blue. Hell, we all do. Navy blue pants are certainly easier to keep clean, the Hopsack blazer (the LE blazer you see pictured in the guide) only comes in navy, and damn if Kurt didn't look all sorts of adorable wearing the navy blue cardigan as part of his Dalton Academy uniform. (That's also why the cardigan is a must for K's uniform. He'll look just as adorable & damn it, I want one too. Okay? LOL!)

K also loves dark teal, medium/soft blues, and colors in between. So, I figure, what's the harm in adding those colors in if we find them? His bedroom is full of those colors as well. (Get the whole boarding-school-at-home vibe here?)

It's the accent color that's given us so much trouble. Hub hates green as he doesn't think it and blue go together & he has flashbacks from parochial school. K was rooting for red. (I threatened him then with a Dalton tie & he threatened back that it would be against the Geneva Convention. LOL!) I liked yellow and burgundy, but was voted down by both hub & K. Hub also hated red. I got K & hub to settle for green because even though the majority of Lands End uniform warmer tops have only evergreen (dark green) as a choice (aside from their other standard colors,) they have polos in a lighter shade.

The "official" boarding-school-at-home tie is in the shade/pattern "clear blue plaid." You can find it here:

I liked this choice because it gives us the freedom to add different colors to the uniform in later years. (Yes, later years. I have a feeling we'll be doing uniforms clear through high school.) We have other blue patterned ties & those are fine to wear too. I just like the idea of having an "official" tie. :-)

The shoes for fall/winter are listed in a couple of colors because said color is dependent on what we can actually get later on. We know K will have outgrown his current shoes come fall & that will take him out of the kid sizes. He's already wearing Men's winter boots. The lace-ups are because he's spent nearly his entire life not having to tie his shoes & damn it, he's going to start.

Other parents will understand this. The style of shoes our kids have had are ones with bungee laces or no laces at all/slip-ons. I'm not the only parent with a kid who technically can tie his shoes, but honestly isn't very good at it because he's never had the need to become good at it. So, rather than end up with grown son who can't tie his own damn shoes, I'll be requiring lace-up, tieable shoes come the fall. The exception might be sneakers because LE currently has some really cool ones in blue. (They're pictured in the guide.)

The Oxford shirt color, French Blue, was chosen by K and I'm fine with it. It's a good choice as it will hide stains better. White is there as an option only because we always keep a white dress shirt around for funerals.

So why the more formal uniform come fall? There are a few reasons. I'll bullet point them.

  1. I just like the more formal look, the one I love to call "the full Dalton."
  2. K is always complaining that we keep the house too cold in both summer & winter. Neither hub nor I can tolerate the heat, yes, even in winter, and I'm honestly quite tired & pissed at having to nag the kid to put on a damn pull-over. So, now one will be required. He's cold? Well, he can wear a sweater or sweater vest under that blazer or cardigan. If it's a polo shirt day, he has this awesome looking Shawl-Collar Pullover as one of many other extra-layer warmth options:
  3. I think a more formal uniform will reenforce the "school is to be taken seriously and so is mom" idea that I'm trying to install. I can't bring myself to require a blazer in summer. In the cooler months, there's no reason not to. He will get a couple of polo shirt days and of course no have to wear it & the shirt & tie for soccer & other athletics.
Why do I get a uniform too? There are a couple of reasons.
  1. As my friend Kel said, it won't be a situation of "Do as I say, not as I do." If the kid is in uniform at our boarding-school-at-home, then Teacher Mom should be too.
  2. I used to secretly mock people who said they make themselves & their kids "dress to the shoes" for homeschooling. But you know what? I really do find myself more productive with chores & more in the same schooling mindset as I want my son to be in. If I've got jeans & shoes on, I'm more likely to take out the garbage since I refuse to in my pj pants & slippers. I agree with Kel that snuggling on the couch in pjs to school your kids when they're younger is a wonderful way to homeschool. But K's a teenager now who will be soon going off to college & then law school. ...but back on topic...
  3. I think uniforms are cool, okay? I always wanted to go to boarding school to get away from my parents. And with that would come uniforms instead of having to...I save you from a rant about my childhood & 80's fashions. Basically, they're cool & why should I be left out? Teachers at private schools have a dress code. Now, for practical purposes (i.e. I'm taking out garbage, lugging laundry up & down narrow basement stairs all day, dejunking the house, all in-between lessons,) & the fact that right now we don't have the money to buy me more uniform pieces, I've allowed jeans to be an option for my uniform. I'll eventually get a long navy skirt, some slacks (since I can't find the ones I wore to grandpa's funeral,) matching Oxford shirts, hopefully a tie (I really want a tie!,) a cardigan (want this even more,) and long sleeve polo shirts that match K's. As you can see in the picture, I already have matching short sleeve polos & a pair of matching shorts. While I think it'd be kind of cool to have a plaid skirt that matches the tie, they don't make them in my size. Ditto on the belt.

I think that covers the basics of the boarding-school-at-home uniform. I'll talk more about how I want boarding-school-at-home to eventually run in my next entry. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a polite comment.



  1. Even if you don't have a set time to do school (we have more of a rough start-time) I think it would help both you and K a lot if you were able to get back on some sort of schedule -- at least where you do set subjects on set days. The subject order doesn't matter so much as long as he's hitting everything.

  2. I agree! It's one of the things I really want to get back to. Not just for my sanity and to make sure we cover what we need to, but because it'll prepare him for college and life after homeschooling.

    I've got him taking melatonin again, so that should help him get to be earlier don't want to know how late he's been up reading or I've been on the computer.