1. Buy yourself new notebooks.
There’s nothing better than clean, white paper on which to make lists and plans. Start with a spiral that you can carry with you while shopping. A 3-ring binder can be used throughout the year to store important school information. Separate it by tabs for each child and you have a simple organizer. Even if you love your smart phone, you may find writing on paper more relaxing and effective. Then just take a photo of your written lists or information for on-the-go access .
2. Map out a plan for the year
Head to your favorite coffee shop alone for 2 hours to think and pray about your family’s needs. Take a trip down memory lane and decide what caused the most turmoil or the most joy last school year. Ditch the former and replicate the latter. Identify the academic needs of each child. Decide how much time you have to volunteer. Determine whether your family can handle the demands of extra-curricular activities. Taking time to think ahead about these things will enable you to meet your family’s needs and your personal priorities. No two school years will look the same. And depending on the trials you are facing, your children may have to sacrifice in order for your household to have peace. They will survive.
3. Don’t buy your kids all new everything to start the year
I never will forget the time my friend Jessica said her children didn’t automatically get new back packs each August. Even though it seems like a rite of passage, sometimes it’s not affordable and it doesn’t make sense to replace items that are perfectly usable. So before going out to purchase brand new school supplies, search the house and recycle. Make your older children buy their own fancy pens and other impractical stuff.
4. Make one last ditch effort to ditch the clutter
Clutter pulls your spirit down and adds chaos to your busy life. Grab a black bag and walk through every room of your house for 5 minutes. Get rid of outgrown clothes, toys, and trinkets.
5. Buy hooks and bins
Over-the-door hooks are one of the easiest ways to add space for hanging coats, purses, and backpacks. Hang the adhesive-backed ones low enough for younger children. Bins and baskets can be found at thrift shops. Use them to store shoes, craft and project supplies, and toys.
6. Plan meals now
Few things are predictable in life, but one thing is certain: your children are hungry every day. Don’t make spur-of-the-moment decisions about food. The easiest thing to do is repeat the same meals every week. For example, every Monday have spaghetti. Every Tuesday have grilled chicken. Every Wednesday have taco salad. Switch up the menus second semester. Double recipes and use the leftovers for breakfast and lunch. Keep healthy snacks and bottled water in the car.
7. Create chore charts and schedules for the children to follow
Children thrive on routines and it’s our job as moms to set the pace for home life. Give the kids work to do every day. Make them do their own laundry and they will stop throwing clean clothes in the hamper. Decide how much screen time and home work time the kids will have daily. Make sure you build opportunity for them to enjoy nature and wholesome friendships. Keep bed times consistent. Wake your children up early. I always nudged my children fifteen minutes before they actually had to get up and turned on the light during the last five minutes. They felt like they were sleeping in.
8. Pray through your child’s senior year
The college application process is daunting, but make a commitment not to create more stress with worry or nagging. Your senior already feels insecure so find ways to encourage him or her with notes of affirmation. Decide together when the best time might be to work on applications and treat your child to a gift card when apps are completed. Be candid about what schools you can afford and by all means, visit schools and keep it all positive. Trust God for your child’s future. If your son or daughter doesn’t receive a scholarship or admittance to their (or your) dream school, God has a better plan. Never doubt it!
9. Plan now to start each week with a family conference
Go over the calendar together each week and review assignments, events, and medical appointments. Decide who will need the car or a chauffer. And most importantly, read God’s word together, asking for his blessing and wisdom. Pray together and remind your children what you stand for as a family. School has a way of interfering with family peace. Home schooling families struggle to find balance and joy during the school year. For others, crazy school schedules and outside influences can erode family values. Keep your family spiritually anchored with God’s truth and love.
Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.
Proverbs 21:5The Message (MSG)