A new school year is rolling around again. A time to make a fresh start. That’s what it really is--a new beginning. As you gather new school supplies, what other essentials should you consider?
The beginning of a school year can be like our New Year’s Day: a time to consider where we have been, what we have learned and what we would like to try in a brand-new way. But we can claim this new time, making the most of these days, only if we take a few minutes to look back with a discerning eye. Consider what things went well and what things might benefit from some attention.
If your children struggled with organization last year--make a fresh start! Create systems in your home that will allow for a simpler flow of papers and processes. Help them to begin the year well by frequently checking backpacks and binders until new habits have formed. Some students naturally keep their things neat and tidy, while others easily misplace important work. Helping your kids to learn a process that works for them can lead to greater academic success and lessened stress during this school year.
If your children struggled with studying last year--make a fresh start! Create a time when all your kids study, review, or read together each evening. With the TV off and the house quiet, you eliminate distractions that can easily absorb entire evenings. If we make school a focus and work together as a family, we can help our kids to reach their goals and feel more confident in class.
If your children struggled with getting up and ready on time--make a fresh start! Instead of setting random wake times, figure out how long it takes each child to get ready for school and then have them get up at a time that reflects that estimate. If some kids get up and ready in 20 minutes, let them sleep in! Have a pokey one? Wake them earlier so they can get themselves ready at their own pace. How much sleep a child needs is not determined by age. It is instead set by personal need and pace. Setting routines for early bedtimes can also be a great help.
What issues came up for you and your family last year? Now is the time for us to consider possible solutions to these problems and begin this year with an eye toward reducing stress. As parents, when we support our children and their education, we are guiding them through one of the most important things they do during their childhood.
As we focus on what is needed, let’s also remember to tend to the spiritual growth of our family during this brand-new school year. Each day, take the time to pray with your children before school. Speak blessings over them as they go out the door. These moments infuse their young lives with grace and truth and will help them to not only see what you see, but see what God sees in each of them.
Whether school began a week ago or begins next month, this is a time for us to start anew. Take a minute and consider what small changes you can bring that would create positive change for your children. In Revelation 21:5, God says from his throne, "Behold, I am making all things new." Trust that the God who makes all things new will walk with you through your challenges.
But most of all, pull your children close and pray together. Set the example about where we go for a fresh start. Let your voice be heard taking all their concerns before God’s throne. Turn to our God of second chances and make a fresh start.
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra
Rev. Deb Koster