The beginning of the school year is fast approaching, and the kids are not the only ones with butterflies in their stomachs. Parents are nervous too. There, I admitted it.
Is there a way to make it better? Is there a way to make heading back to "real life" something we look forward to with a sense of purpose? Before the rush of early mornings and regular routines begins again, we want to take some time to think about our goals for the year ahead.
One way to do this might be to create a "School Year Mission Statement." Now, some of you may already have a "Family Mission Statement," and I'm impressed if you do. But that's not what we're talking about. Your School Year Mission Statement can something a bit more impromptu. You could have family meeting about it, or you could just put some ideas down on paper and then run them by the family the next time you all catch up at dinner. The mission statement could reflect your own personal set of resolutions as a parent, or you could also ask the kids about their hopes for the coming year.
However you decide to approach the task, it's an excellent exercise. You will need to review what worked and didn't work during the last school year, and envision how to make some of the right adjustments or even wholesale changes during the coming months.
These are useful discussions to have with your spouse or co-parent, and it can also be fruitful to include the children's perspective. Good questions to ask the kids might be: What are you excited about working on this year at school? What friends are you looking forward to spending time with? What activities are you most happy about doing? It is, after all, their school year. (And if their answers are "nothing," "I don't know" and "recess," then ask again later.)
As one example, here are a few of the ideas our family has come up with:
School and activities
Attitude toward learning
I don't know that this list adds up to a "mission statement" per se—distilling everything into a few coherent sentences is challenging! But this is what we're working with so far (and it is helping to quell those butterflies).... How about you?
Going back to school can be a tricky transition. It’s not easy to generate enthusiasm for a change from summer freedom to the four walls of a classroom. Books, spelling worksheets, and math problems can seem poor companions compared to ... read more
A funny thing happened a few weeks into my younger daughter's kindergarten year. A group of classmates and parents all went to the park one day after school, and I began talking with one of the other moms on a park bench. When I looked up to chec... read more