BACK TO SCHOOL
TIPS FOR A GREAT SCHOOL YEAR
by Dr. Kira Wilson
I love the start of a new school year. As an educator, August is the New Year that affords a fresh beginning. It is a time to reevaluate, try out new materials, read new books, meet new students and parents, and make improvements to ideas and plans that are mediocre or stale. Prior to school, I consider a theme for the year and revisit our mission and vision as a ministry. In addition to shopping for school supplies and clothing, the new school year is also a time for parents to consider what changes they want to make in the family routine and prioritizing of activities. While many welcome the structure and accountability after a long summer, some are not as eager for the added responsibilities. Before the onslaught of classes and meetings, step back and look at the big picture rather than the tasks that are soon to be imposed by a new schedule. Consider this checklist for preparing the family for the start of school.
Plan a Family Pow-Wow, Meeting of the Minds, Family Summit—whatever name you want to give it. Create excitement and anticipation for this special family meeting. Let everyone contribute. Gather your children together to discuss your goals and their goals for the year. What new challenges might they face? How will the added workload
and responsibilities at school effect new privileges? What do your children hope to get from the year? What do they hope to learn? How do they hope to grow spiritually? How will they choose their friends? How can they be a friend? What will help them become an excellent student? Pray for the school, the teachers, and students. Take notes and video your children reading the notes at the end of meeting so you can revisit your goals each quarter to assess progress. Then you can celebrate successes and provide encouragement where needed.
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Set expectations for academics and behavior (Col. 3:23). Instill confidence (Ps. 121:2). Encourage and guide your children toward making wise choices in their relationships (1 Cor. 15:33). Prepare a comfortable space with few distractions, where your children can do their school work. Maintain a regular bedtime routine, to include reading, prayer, and time for bed.
Limit the use of television and electronic devices. Turn devices off an hour before the bedtime routine. Add a family reading time to your evening routine.
School begins in just a few weeks but there is plenty of time to prepare for a great school year. Use this checklist as a catalyst for setting goals for the coming year. Read more at LifeandLearning.net. Happy School Year! Dr. Kira Wilson is the Director of Covenant Academy in Pinellas County and the founder of Life and Learning (LifeandLearning.net), an education blog for parents. With more than 30 years in Christian education, her passion is to encourage and equip teachers and parents to develop in children a love for learning and a genuine relationship with God. She cherishes family time with her husband, children, and two grandchildren.
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