Are You Ready for Back to School?
The words ” back to school ” are full of so many different emotions. Moms excited to try out new curriculum, the feel of fresh books and notepads, brand new pencils with new erasers on top, a neatly organized desk, and a desire to “keep things in order” (with the realistic understanding that this will only last a week or so!) Children, on the other hand, don’t usually feel the same. The thought of getting up earlier, writing essays, reading numerous pages of “everything”, and doing math problems, does not trigger enthusiasm on day one of school! Maybe this is just a picture of my household, but I know some of you can relate!
What does Back to School mean to you? Have you thought about it as the day approaches? Do you struggle with your child(ren) not feeling the same way you do about going back to school? Here are some things to help keep you and your child(ren) encouraged and refreshed all year long as we enter a new school year:
- When you purchase back-to-school items (depending on the age), don’t give them everything the first day. Only give them what you know they will need that first week. Break out other “new” items as they need them. Sometimes, just seeing brand new, sharp, colored pencils a month into school will spark a little more interest in the task at hand.
- Keep organization simple! If you need to keep track of papers, get a 3-ring binder and instead of just throwing them in a box “to go through later”, insert them in the binder as they are completed. Get some dividers and at the end of each day simply insert a divider on top of them to know that is where the day ended. If you have multiple children, assign each child a color that is unique to them. Keep their items in a folder that is color coded to them. Even at a younger age, your child can help with the organization by placing their completed work in their colored folder. With just a few simple things like this, that you implement at the beginning of the school year, you can keep your school organized all year long. Do you realize that stress from being disorganized can impact your entire school year (for you and your child(ren)?
- Set a schedule that works for your family. I am a firm believer in consistency, but I am also a proponent of flexible consistency. I had a child that had trouble functioning before 9 a.m. For several years, we struggled with my “firm” schedule. One day the light bulb went on and I realized that I could start at 9:00 or 9:30 instead of 8:00. We kept the exact routine of how we proceeded through classes but varied the start time. It is amazing how much better the day went with just a little bit of flexibility.
- Enjoy your time with your child(ren). They will progress much better when they see you enjoying the opportunity to learn right alongside them. If you have a child that really battles with you on something, the best thing you can do is find a way to show them that you really do care about how they feel; but that you will still parent/teach them as needed. I learned the hard way. When I was at the point of total frustration with my youngest, I tossed many of the textbooks aside one year and created an atmosphere of learning based on his interests. We did math, geography, literature, grammar and compositions, and even some science, based on sports; and I must say we had a blast doing so! It accomplished several things — it showed my son that I really did care about him and wanted him to enjoy learning, plus he realized that he needed to take a different approach to what he had to learn and how he had to learn it; and after that year he never once said “I hate school.” In fact, he started saying that he liked it! Just one year of doing this (when he was 12), drastically changed the rest of his school years. We have not struggled (okay, let’s be honest, fighting with each other) through his entire high school years and he will be a senior this year. Some say, “Didn’t he miss important academic lessons by setting aside textbooks for a year?”, to which I answer, “Absolutely not!” There was nothing so important his 7th-grade year that changed the outcome of where he is now, except our relationship with each other – and that is worth more than anything! You only have your child(ren) a short time, make learning enjoyable.
So how about it? What does “back to school” mean to you? Feel free to use the comment section below to share with us your thoughts and emotions as the school year is about to (or already has) begun.
Our prayer here at The Old Schoolhouse® Homeschooling with Heart blog is that we may help you along this journey whether you are a beginner or a veteran homeschooling family. Check back here often for encouraging articles, ideas, and posts from fellow homeschoolers about their experiences (just so you know you are NOT alone in what you go through!)
Jodi Riddle has been with TOS since April 2016. She serves as a Human Resource and Operations Assistant and is also the Homeschooling with Heart blog manager. Jodi is a pastor’s wife and has 3 boys. She has homeschooled for 17 years and also taught in the private and public school settings. Jodi enjoys teaching, playing the piano, scrapbooking, and making cards. Her heart’s desire is to help others learn to enjoy these things as well! firstname.lastname@example.org