I love new beginnings, don't you?
I love a new adventure and a new day.
And I love a new school year.
No, really, I mean that. Oh, I'm not saying that I don't have mixed emotions and my own swirl of anxieties, but I truly do look forward to a fresh start of the coming school year.
And I've experienced quite a few new beginnings, having seen 3 of our children graduate from high school---with another five more to go. Basically, that's a lot of new school years, if you ask me!
So over those years, I've learned a few things that have made a significant difference in - not only how we begin the school year - but also how we carry on to the end of it.
Here are some of those things I'd say goes into starting the year right:
Ease into it. You and your student will get whiplash if you suddenly jump from slow summer days to a full-blown school schedule. So do whatever you can to incrementally add on activities and give yourselves a chance to adjust. For example, delay starting up extracurricular activities if at all possible and, at the very least, make sure those first few week-ends are free of obligations.
Don't over-commit. Sometimes what looks good on paper isn't reasonable in real life. Just because it all fits on the time-sheet doesn't mean it fits into your family! Allow for downtime and room for the unexpected. It's easier to add more things later than to crash-and-burn and learn the hard way.
Leave behind the garbage of the previous year. Maybe your daughter had a hard time with math last year, but it's quite possible that something will click and she'll have a breakthrough this year. Maybe your son had a difficult time making friends before, but it could be all different now. Basically, don't let last year's challenges determine this year's success.
Sit down and talk it through together. Discuss your hopes and goals for the coming year with your children. Don't assume that they know or understand what your expectations are for them. Be ready to listen to their thoughts and concerns for the new school year as well.
See where your student can step up. We moms can get stuck in a rut and forget that our children are growing up and can - and should - take new steps of responsibility. Perhaps you made lunches every day for your child last year, but she's ready to start making her own this year. Or maybe your son can do his own homework now and not need so much hand-holding from you. So don't simply do things like you've always done, but look for new ways that he or she can grow.
Pray about all things. You knew that was coming, didn't you? But I just had to say it. Mostly because nothing makes more of a difference in a new year than prayer. Pray for wisdom and insight. Pray for breakthroughs. Pray for friends and pray for protection. Pray, pray, pray.
And I pray for God's richest blessings on this new school year for you!