Let the Games Begin:
Adventures in Reintroducing the Back-to-School Routine
Where’s your homework folder? You left your agenda at school? No, it’s time for bed! I need to be at work in 15 minutes, let’s go! Sound familiar? Yep, it is back to school and all of us parents are trying to organize the chaos. With a frazzled I love you and kiss goodbye out the door, we hurry from one thing to the next while trying to balance our child’s education. Regardless of how many children you have or whether you are a one or two-working parent family, back to school time can be hectic and disorganized. I have some basic tips I implement in my home to keep things calm and organized, and some strategies we use to help at school.
First things first, and full disclosure, I am NOT a good cook. Therefore, the majority of the cooking falls on poor husband. So you can imagine when he travels its Chick-fil-A or a nice grilled cheese sandwich for dinner. But you know what, that’s okay. We do the best we can with the time we have. So this comes to my first tip:
- Give yourself grace. It’s always going to start out crazy. Roll with it, be flexible, and pray. The rule in my house and in my past classrooms: ABC (always be calm). Deep breaths, everyone.
- Establish a reasonable routine. Determine what fits your family best as a whole. This way you give thought to all members of your family, including yourselves. In my house it goes something like this: an hour of free time for our daughter while we (meaning my husband) get dinner together, we eat as a family (either before or after sports practice), homework time, family TV/reading time, and between an 8:30-9:00 pm bedtime. One size doesn’t fit all. You know your children best — how much sleep they need or when they are clearly overwhelmed.
Organization is a learned skill. In maintaining a routine, we teach our children time management and accountability. It's catch and release - teach them how to organize their folders and homework, and have a timeframe for completing homework each night. I know it can’t be the same time every day when we have sports, church, etc. But if your child knows the expectations for homework or studying, they can plan for it too.
- Make time for family time. Whether it be a half-hour TV show you enjoy together, a family dinner, or a story for bed, every minute counts. The quality of time outranks the quantity. We can’t do it all, but what we do decide to do, we can do it well. And never underestimate the power of good listening. A lot of times, our kids want to be heard and have engaged conversations with us, but it is oftentimes easy to be distracted with the many other things that need our attention. Ten minutes won’t break any of our days!
At Covenant, your child’s teachers have methods for helping to stay organized, such as the Tuesday folder that contains grades and school communication, agendas for recording homework, and RenWeb for lesson plans, test dates, and grades. Remember these resources are here to help you and if you have questions, the classroom teacher is your best source! Each resource is designed to keep you “in the know” and reduce the anxiety of what needs to be done each evening.
As a teacher, it’s easy to see which of our kids gets a good night’s sleep and who doesn’t. A good night’s rest takes precedence when it comes to your child’s health. Because we seek to educate your child holistically, our aim extends past instruction and assessment and into spiritual, emotional, and physical health. We recognize that you know your child best and appreciate any type of communication when you have a concern, just as you can be assured you’ll hear from us when we notice something is off with your child.
Keep in mind, we are a team, here to serve and grow together. Know that you are not alone in the craziness that comes from staying on top of things. Here’s to another great year at Covenant…let the games begin!