Happy New Year (?!), The Secret To Your Success And a Great Resource For Your Kids

By August 13, 2012Be Productive, Encouragement


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The Mom’s New Year

To a child, there’s nothing like a pack of brand new, freshly sharpened, colored pencils, it’s like a masterpiece waiting to happen. A box of imagination and possibility.

The beginning of a school year can feel like that to a mom too. It’s a fresh New Year. A chance to be organized, to do more, do better and improve on last year.

But, for many of us, all of our good intentions lose their sharpness after a couple weeks and far too often, by the time December rolls around, many of us feel frazzled and frayed.

We’ve missed soccer practice…seven times. The after school snack is a bag of cheetos instead of homemade granola bars. And all our grand plans to finish Christmas prep by October 1 are 8 weeks overdue.

So today, before all our expectations and disappointments make their homes in our hearts, I want to tell you, remind you, assure you, that it’s okay to fail.

No one succeeds because they never fail, they succeed because they didn’t let their failure have the last word.

Those who accomplish goals, get organized and find themselves ahead of the game do so because they dust themselves off after each fall.

The secret to success isn’t the lack of failure, it’s the determination to start again each time we do.

So as we look to a new school year, whether you are homeschooling or traditional schooling, resolve to give yourself grace if your actions don’t meet your expectations.

A Simple Tip

One thing that helps me fight discouragement, is that I’ve determined to always view Mondays as a blank canvas, a fresh start, a new week, a masterpiece waiting to happen.

If you need to, write “blank canvas” or “happy new year” or “masterpiece” on each Monday of your calendar. And whatever you do, don’t let failure have the last word. You’re so much better than that.

Giveaway

(Update from last week’s giveaway – The Avodah “HelloMornings” Coffee winner from last week’s link up is Katie Haney. Yay!)

Today I’ll be giving away 3 copies of the The Dig for Kids! The Dig is a great kids Bible study created by Patrick Schwenk, husband of The Better Mom Blog founder – Ruth Schenk. It covers the book of Luke and really teaches children how to dig into scripture, ask questions and search for answers. My kids have really enjoyed it and I think it is a great resource for school year morning devotions. Click here to learn more about it.

How To Enter The Giveaway
Tell us, in the comments:
1. What kind of schooling you do, or plan to do, (homeschool/traditional school)
2. Share one simple back to school tip (organizing, snacks, lunches, planning, schedule, homework, etc.) you use now or remember from your childhood (if you don’t have school age children yet).

Click here to leave your comment and enter the givewaway.

We’ll announce 3 winners next week who will win a copy of The Dig for Kids. You can also click here to learn more about The Dig for Kids.

Leave a Comment

Comments

161 Comments

  • Avatar Kat Lee says:

    I’m not entering the giveaway (of course), but I thought I’d answer the questions too.
    1. We do traditional school.
    2. My best back to school tip is to have an “after school” station, where they drop off their backpacks, turn in papers that need to be signed. I also have a little framed list that says:
    “Welcome home! 1. hug your mama 2. turn in your papers 3. wash your hands 4. do your homework 5. finish your chores 6. play!”

    It really helps steer our afternoons and prevents any homework/chore nagging on my part

    • Avatar Jennifer says:

      I just dropped my first born off at kindergarten–literally. It was such an exciting moment and yet I was filled with sadness knowing a chapter has been closed. I am so thankful that I have one more (age 1) still at home. I sent Makenna to public school. One of my plans to help make the mornings easier is I have created a kid-friendly poster with pictures telling Makenna what things she needs to do in the morning. It starts with wake-up and includes brush teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast etc. I’m hoping she will be able to establish a routine and it prevents me from having to remind her what comes next. I look forward to gathering great ideas from all of you!

    • Avatar Jamie says:

      I love this list!!! I will definitely be making one of these this week! :0)

  • Avatar Jen says:

    We homeschool…and the biggest help to me has been planning. I plan our day in 30-min increments which may sound overwhelming, as it did to me before we tried it, but it has actually been the most freeing thing we’ve done! No questions about what needs to be done not…we just look at the schedule, do it, and by the end of the day all our school work and chores are finished. ( Not to mention the kids could continue working on what is next without nagging reminders from me.). :). Happy new school year to everyone out there!

    • Avatar Jill says:

      Hi Jen,
      I am curious…. What do you do if the “assignment” is not done in 30 minutes? We tried and failed at this system because we either got done too fast or needed more time.
      Thanks in advance for your advice.
      Jill

      • Avatar Jen says:

        Hi Jill,

        I worked really hard to make sure that the schedule is reasonable. It has to be realistic that they would likely be done in the time assigned. I also schedule a slot of ‘grace’ which is extra time unassigned so they can finish something left undone or work ahead if they’re on schedule. And lastly, I schedule time at the very end of the school day to finish any undone work.

        The schedule has helped my kids to take more responsibility for their schoolwork and has helped them to be distracted less because they reap the consequences of either working hard or putting off their work and getting behind. This keeps them motivated to hold to the schedule on their own. It has really been a blessing.

        This year I also scheduled in the kids chores throughout the day. This has been a help because at the end of the day, they were dragging and not wanting to work around the house. Now, when the school day is done that means everything else is done, too. They’ve been encouraged by that.

        Oh, and if it helps, we have 4 kids…4th grader, 3rd grader, 4-yr old (preschool), and an 18 mos. old. I hope this has helped a bit. Using the schedule along with the workbox system has transformed our school day and brough so much relief to me as the teacher!

        Blessings to you as you begin your new year…

        Jen

    • Avatar Jill says:

      Jen, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. You have more on tour plate than I do!

  • Avatar beth lehman says:

    my kids are starting school tomorrow in our local public school system. i opened up a google calendar several days ago and started plugging in as many meals as i could. in about 20 minutes, i had planned out three weeks of meals… it’s a very rough sketch that can easily change, but it helps me feel more at ease knowing what options we have for meals, and knowing we’ll spend that time together, b/c i planned it!

  • Avatar Leslie Davis says:

    We just started our 3rd year of homeschooling. I have b/g twins that are in 2nd grade. My back to school tip is PLANNING. I plan my lessons 2 weeks at a time. I also try and plan our dinner menu and make ONE trip to the store. If I don’t plan, I end up at the grocery store almost daily…which is not a good time saver.

  • We have taken a total different appraoch to homeschooling this year by using a Unit Study for the entire year possibly 2, Prairie Primer. Still planning field trips and activities for homeschool co-op I will be running. You can read more here:
    http://something2offer.com/curriculum-what-are-we-using-this-year-for-3rd-and-4th-grade/

  • Avatar Jenni Keller says:

    We are sending my twins (my oldest) off to kindergarten in just 2 days. Im looking forward to morning devotions with them before they board the bus. I’m sure we’ll learn as we go and next year I’ll be full of helpful tips πŸ™‚

  • Avatar NCJill says:

    We are entering our 14th year of homescholing in a few weeks. (oldest leaves for college in two days, Boo, hoo.) Best tip is to have a back to school tradition. Up until last year my husband always took the children (4) out for Krispy Kreme doughnuts and gave them a pep talk. When they returned we took a group picture in the same spot…on front porch. Last year the older kids decided that KK doughnuts weren’t healthy (?!) so they opted for a sit-down bfast with Dad at the local pancake house. We still got our picture though. πŸ™‚

    • Avatar Melissa says:

      First of all, Kat- God has really been speaking through you. Some of your recent posts have been precisely the encouragement and wisdom I have needed for that day! Thank you!

      NCJill, I love the idea of a back to (home)school tradition! I will be starting my first year of homeschooling with my oldest (4 1/2 year old daughter). I remember always taking a picture by my front door the first day of school. With all the planning I am doing as the teacher now, it never dawned on me that I can make the first day of school special for my kids too, even if they won’t be getting on the school bus! (DUH!) Love it!

      I have found it necessary to incorporate daily chores and meals into my back to school planning too! I have even designated each day as a meal type: Monday- slow cooker, Tuesday- leftovers, etc. That way I can plan the actual meal from week to week, and I’ll already know what kind of recipe I am looking for!

      Happy New Year ya’ll!

  • We send our kids to the same K-12 Christian School that my husband and I graduated from. One thing that is tremendously helpful for me and special for my kids is that my husband packs their lunches every night before we go to bed. He always includes a one of a kind picture/note and they can’t wait to see what it is each day at lunch.

  • Avatar Jacki says:

    My children start public school on Sept.4. I go back to my teaching job next Tuesday! I use the once a month cooking plan to help during the school year. It is so nice to come home from a day full of first graders and not have to worry about dinner!

  • Avatar Becky says:

    My daughter starts public school next week. My son will be in a pre-k at a christian school. We prep everything the night before as much as possible, the backpack, the outfits, lunch etc. because we are never early and barely on time.

  • Avatar amy says:

    My kids are going to traditional school! I’ve got 4 – so homemade everything is essential to keep our bills down! I try and have them prepared the night before, and I usually do 2 huge baking sessions and have everything pre-packaged in the freezer so I don’t rely on fast food so much!

  • 1. We have a daughter who just turned 3 in March and been teaching her writing and counting at home. We do not plan to have homeschooling but would like to start the “schooling” at home now. And then when we move overseas for mission work next year, we will do traditional schooling in the country.

    2. When I was at school, my after school tradition was 1) did my homework, 2) took a nap, 3) played with friends (or helped my mom with when she had catering orders).

    But I would like to learn from all of you here to be better than what I experienced when I was little. We pray that God will show me more wisdom and ideas how to lead our children to Him and love Him through all activities we have at home, school and neighborhood.

    Thanks for a chance to win this amazing book for our children!

  • Avatar erin h says:

    I homeschool the preschoolers in our house and my eldest is in 1st in public school. The biggest thing we learned last year is that everyone needs to be dressed and ready for the day before the TV or radio is turned on. Once we turn something on it is impossible to get motivated to do the next task.

  • Avatar Hannah says:

    I’m praying that by the time my little guy starts kindergarten we will be close enough to send him to the Ambleside International school in MN…classical Christian education that teaches children about loving God, loving others and loving to learn. If you haven’t heard of it before, check it out! There are a handful of schools around the US now. Growing up my mom made it our responsibility to be finished with schoolwork before we did anything else and that habit really helped me keep up with my coursework in college!

  • Avatar christy says:

    My kids go to a Christian school and are in pre-k and 1st grade this year. Last year we did afternoon kindergarten so we did not have to be across town at school until noon. This year will be a huge adjustment for us as we will have to leave the house 30 minutes before they usually wake up! I think my survival tip will be to do everything the night before – make lunch, set out uniform, get bags ready, etc.

  • Avatar Darcey says:

    We send our kids off to school. Mine will be in 3rd and 1st grades this year. We like to take pictures of the kids going off to school on their first and last day. Then we compare how much they have grown.

  • Avatar Taylor says:

    My little girl will start first grade at the catholic school here in three weeks (we live in Europe). My little boy will continue the Waldorf preschool they both attended last year. My tip was always to have as much prepared the night before and placed by the door ready to go. Also, the children must be completely ready before they can play before we leave :). Pray for me as my girl is in a new school…will be completely in Bosnian…last year was in Bosnian but the teachers also spoke some English and it really became a family environment for her. Thanks!

  • Avatar Barkley says:

    I have 3 kids, two of which are now starting school. One is starting Kindergarten, and one is going to the 2 day preschool for 3 year olds. They attend a private Christian school because we want what’s being taught at home to be backed up at school. My one plan for school is to always wake my kids up 15 minutes before their actual need wake up time. That way we always have a little extra time just in case something goes wrong πŸ˜‰

    • Avatar Kat Lee says:

      Hi Barkley,
      You won 1 of the copies of the Dig bible study. If you’ll send me your email address, I’ll have it send right out to you. Congratulations!

      -Kat

      • Avatar Barkley Franklin says:

        Oh wow!! I never win anything! Thank you!!!! My email address is barkleyfranklin@gmail.com I’m super excited about this!!! I’m just now learning how to “dig” into scripture and I want it to be second nature to my kids! Oh I’m so excited!! THANK YOU! for this and also for your blog and Hello mornings…I can’t tell you what difference it’s made. We started a devotional basket and I got my daughter the Adventure Bible for her Kindergarten gift and we read the Jesus Calling for kids every morning. I also took the idea of the popsicle sticks for people to pray for and my kids have began to enjoy praying! Again, thanks for the amazing resources that you provide!!

  • Avatar Shonda says:

    1. I plan to homeschool. My son is 3 right now and we will be doing a fun preschool year!

    2. My back to school tip is to make breakfast EASY! I have been making breakfast foods to put in the freezer- muffins, pancakes, waffles. I take them out to thaw when I get up, boil or scramble eggs and serve a smoothie (from the freezer, thawed). It’s a great, nutritious breakfast with very little prep. Also, I always put a little “green” in my eggs- basil, dill, parsley.

  • Avatar Michelle says:

    We do traditional school. This is definitely not from how I grew up–I scowled when I heard my step dad yell up the stairs “Roll out kids!” to wake us up. Last year I started playing a youtube video to wake up my kids–and they would wake up so cheerful and enthusiastic, rushing to the laptop to watch the video before getting dressed. There are some great veggie tales, go fish guys, or contemporary christian music artists out there to start their day right. No more dragging a kiddo out of bed. (Hope this still works when they are teen-agers.)

  • Avatar shannon alexander says:

    We are not sure yet which kind of schooli
    ng we will be doing. We want our daughter to go to the christian school but if we cannot come up with the money then we will homeschool. The best tip I know is to start a routine a couple weeks before school starts

  • Avatar Michelle says:

    We are starting our 7th year of homeschooling on the 27th. We think I the new school year as a fresh clean slate too, always fun to start back to school (=

  • Avatar Megan says:

    1. We homeschool
    2. I’m still figuring out organizing and scheduling as this is my first year doing this. My little boy is 4 and my girl 2, so hopefully I can pull some ideas from the comments. I did put all the craft/ school stuff in its own closet this past week in separate containers, with books for the kids on the bottom so they can get those, school books on the next two shelves, and craft stuff on the top so they can’t make big messes without moms help! And because it’s in a closet they don’t see it and so far that means that it hasn’t been touched a whole lot and its still organized the way I had it.

  • Avatar kelli j says:

    We are homeschooling this year. I find it helpful to be consistent each week (every Monday is reading and cleaning bathrooms, Tuesday is math and vacuuming, etc)

  • Avatar Jennifer Adams says:

    We send our kids to school. One thing I started doing is putting koozies around their ice packs in their lunch boxes. It helped keep the icepack cold longer and kept the lunch dry from the ice pack “swetting” as they do sometimes.

  • Avatar Beth says:

    We homeschool our kids.

    This year we started early and with only one subject. We will be adding one subject a week so that we will slowly be easing into the school schedule and hopefully the transition is less tramatic for everyone.

  • Avatar Amy says:

    My children go to a Classical University Model School. I school them at home 3 days a week and they go to school 2 days a week. This year, I will have a 3rd grader, kindergartner, and 2 year old at home. Preparing our school area with locker sized crates for individual/combined subject matters so we can easily pick up the crate and do school anywhere in the house. Also, ensuring lunches are packed and backpacks are ready the night before makes things a lot easier in the a.m.!

  • Avatar Reghan Knight-Rabley says:

    1. What kind of schooling you do, or plan to do, (homeschool/traditional school)
    2. Share one simple back to school tip (organizing, snacks, lunches, planning, schedule, homework, etc.) you use now or remember from your childhood (if you don’t have school age children yet).

    My kids are both enrolled in public schools. One is going into first grade, and the other is in her second year of pre-school. So this is the start of me having to be uber-organized due to my son being in school full-time now. From last year, I learned that the most important thing was to always check his backpack when he got home, no matter if I was tired or not. Then I would put the important papers/homework/reminders into a pile, and then the art work, etc into another to store. If there were permission slips, I automatically filled them out and took care of them right then and there and put them back into his school folder to return. That made it a lot easier to stay on top of the millions of things/activities to remember. I’m hoping to be even more dilligent with this, this coming year, but am a little nervous knowing that there’s going to be a whole lot more coming home with him, and a whole lot more to be on top of!

  • Avatar Vicki Barnes says:

    We homeschool the Charlotte Mason way! We love it! This is our fifth year homeschooling and second using Charlotte Mason’s methods.

  • Avatar Huppicke says:

    Being German in Germany my family has no chance to homeschool. So I don’t do homeschooling with a curriculum but try to add to the school’s curriculum our special family and faith twist. My tip is: never forget to have a really big calendar in the kitchen and add all the incoming info.

  • Avatar Rhonda says:

    Right now, we do traditional public school. I do preschool with kiddos at home.

    Best tip: Make friends with Bento-style lunches. Easy to use leftovers for these, and make food look appetizing. Also , great to use in a pinch.

  • Avatar Christina Martin says:

    I have 3 kids. Two of them are in grade school and the youngest is starting pre-school this year. I always try to have all the school stuff prepped the night before, but that seemed to give me an excuse to sleep in a few more minutes. So we were still scrambling in the mornings. This year with much prayer, I am going to start my day earlier. I will start with my devotions and maybe a small workout, then get the kids up with plenty of time to have an enjoyable morning!

  • Avatar Kristin says:

    In two days my daughter and son will begin 5th grade and 1st grade, respectively. I am in a unique position in that I am a public school teacher, and my kiddos come to school with me (so I guess that makes me going back to school in 2 days as well! :-)). One of my favorite organizational tools are my binders. Each of my children has a binder on my desk, with tabs inside labeled school, music, sports, church, etc. Behind each tab goes important school documents, sports, schedules, music rehearsals, contact information, etc. When I need any information, I just head to the binders!

  • Avatar Vicki Barnes says:

    Take time for good distractions! As homeschoolers we have the freedom to change things up when opportunities arise!

  • Avatar Sarah Raby says:

    Our family has been really blessed homeschooling the past few years. This is our first year with two children in school and my excitement is that I sat down and planned school for each day and the big home items (laundry, shopping, cleaning, extra curriculars, etc.) for the week. In the past I didn’t see how it could all happen so I just tried each week to see how it would fit in – it was that constant strain. This year there is also peace for each school day. I won’t have my kids asking me what is next because we wrote out their subject areas for each day of the week (they do vary a bit) and then they are laminated so they can cross things off as they finish with a wipe off marker and keep themselves on track for what is left to complete. Happy planning!

  • Avatar Victoria says:

    Traditional Schooling: My daughter is going into the 1st grade and my son is at daycare during the day as I am a full-time working mommy.

    One thing that I am learning, (since this is only our second year of school) is that when I prepare everything the night before, set clothes out, make lunches, breakfasts, my bags, backpacks, etc. The entire morning goes by so much smoother.

  • Avatar Jennifer Oliverson says:

    1. My kids go to a private Christian school
    2. I create a school schedule that gets placed on the refrigerator. On the schedule I place a small chart for after school activities that has Monday through Friday at the top. Below the days of the week are empty. I then laminate the schedule and with a dry erase maker I fill in what activity they have on what day for the week ahead. It works great because we only have cub scouts twice a month…so I can erase & add cub scouts when I need to because the schedule is laminated.

  • Avatar Christy says:

    My 2nd grade daughter is at Christian School and my three year old is in mothers day out program.

    My daighter is responsible for packing her own snacks, picking out what she wants or lunch, and picking out clothes the night before. Her school has hot lunch two days a week and I pre-pay for the entire year, that way I don’t have to think about Tues/Thurs lunches at all!

    Her school papers are sent home on Tuesday. We go to a yogurt shop to review the papers. It is much more fun to review papers their than at home!

  • Avatar Candice says:

    We are homeschooling our two oldest this year for the first time. Our youngest is going to traditional school, big yellow bus and all!
    To *try* to stay organized, we do a lot of pre-planning. We have a universal family calendar that I keep and on Sundays share with the family over supper. We lay out clothes and plan our day, pack our backpacks, prepare lunches, etc., the night before. And I try to have ingredients on hand (or meals in the freezer) for quick, easy weeknight meals.
    All that said, we fail….often! πŸ™‚ But that’s the way we were made. God never intended for us to be perfect!

  • Avatar Kristen says:

    1. We homeschool using a hodge-podge of things that have – so far – mostly worked. (Someone once told me that the sign of a successful homeschooler was unused curriculum taking up space somewhere in their home. This is the best piece of advice I’ve gotten about homeschooling thus far!)

    2. Preparing for the school day the night before is REALLY helpful for me and all of us. I don’t always do it, but when I do, the payoff is great. Cuts down on wasted time in the morning, and let’s all of us relax through breakfast instead of me feeling like I need to rush so I can get their schoolwork for the day figured out.

  • Avatar Bekki says:

    ~ We do traditional school. I have a 4th grader and 1st grader!
    ~ My biggest sanity saver is to get plan the night before – my clothes, their clothes, lunches, etc. and have their backpacks ready.

  • Avatar Jen M. says:

    Our son is getting ready for his 3rd grade year at a Christian school. A couple of things that really help us out are:

    1. Backpack gets emptied first thing after we walk in the door. Folder on the table for Mama & Daddy to look at and lunch box in the kitchen.
    2. I take some time on Sat. or Sun. of the weekend before and get lunch/snack items ready for the next week. Little containers of fruits or veggies or pudding, snack bags of crackers, graham crackers, etc. That way all we have to do is make sandwich or get hot lunch container, drop other things in the lunch box and go.

    • Avatar Kat Lee says:

      Hi Jen!
      You won one of the copies of the Dig Bible Study. If you’ll send me your email address, I’ll have it sent to you.

      Congrats!
      -Kat

  • Avatar Katie says:

    Oir family has chosen to homeschool. We use workboxes, that I fill the night before, with all of their work for the day. Everyone knows what to do and when we will be finished with our lessons.

  • Avatar Kelly says:

    We homeschoool. My best tip for the new year is embrace change! Change is necessary, it can be daunting, but it’s always a catalyst for something new to happen πŸ™‚ So when life, your children, the schedule, throws you a curve – roll with it! It’s so much easier than trying to rebound (but that’s possible too!) πŸ™‚

  • Avatar Debbie says:

    Hey, Kat! We homeschool, and the thing that helps me the most is having a routine. Every night the kiddos are to have their rooms cleaned up and their clothes laid out for the next day. Then in the morning they have 5 things that are to be done before family devos (make the bed, get dressed, eat, wash face, brush teeth, do hair). Once school is in for a couple of weeks, there’s no questions about what to do, it’s a habit!

    Would love to win the giveaway! There’s a serious dearth in good devotional help for kids, and I’d love to give this one a try!

  • Avatar Rachelle Brown says:

    We will be starting traditional school next week and since my oldest is entering Kindergarten I have yet to figure out the tips and tricks that make us flow smoothly. She attended a 3 day pre-k last yr and one thing that made mornings easier was to have a pouch system on the back of her door with preloaded outfits, once she woke she knew to pick an outfit and dress herself. Since I had preloaded it I didn’t have to fight about what matched or didn’t. πŸ™‚

  • Avatar Angie says:

    I am an overseas missionary that homeschools. I have a 5 and 7 year old. The biggest tip I have was to LOOSEN UP re: our daily schedule. Instead of being a slave to the clock, I try to get the daily tasks (both for school and the home) done, but in a way that leaves us all closer together rather than ‘on schedule’ and in tears.

  • Avatar Stephanie says:

    We do public school and I teach preschool at our church (my you gets two go here). And my most helpful routine is to have clothes laid out and lunches and bags packed the night before!! This helps with crazy mornings!!

  • Avatar Revonda says:

    I am a homeschool mom of 4. My tip would be to let God be in control of what they absorb or learn. Don’t stress over whether they are learning enough or the right things. If you give it your all and offer that up to the Lord he will take care of the rest!

  • Avatar Yetty says:

    I do traditional school for my toddler and pre-schooler, they started at a montessori and now to a more traditional school. Back to school is always fun with new school bags, labeling flasks, new uniforms. We also decide what we are giving out together to people who are less fortunate, so we give out clothes they have grown out or toys they no longer play with. It is important to me that they learn to give to people in need from an early age. We already pray as a family and have started reading the bible together so this devotional would be useful in our walk with God.

  • Avatar Hollie Garcia says:

    We plan on doing a mommy-and-me school one day a week starting in September. My child is an infant, so we will see as she gets older which path of schooling will be best for her. An organizational tip for back to school I remember from my childhood is to have everything ready for the first day. I remember having my clothes laid out for the first day of fifth grade πŸ™‚

  • Avatar Amanda Langworthy says:

    I used to home school my son, but this will be his 2nd year going to school. My plan is to do the HMC and be up and ready to start the day and have my sons lunch ready and to make sure he eats breakfast. There were many days last year that he didnt have breakfast and I just think that that would be a great start to his day. I would also love to see that he can have a devotional time before going to school. So, we will see if we can work this out πŸ™‚
    Thanks for offering the giveaway πŸ™‚

  • Avatar Brenda says:

    I am about to start my 23rd year as a homeschooling mom, and I also have four grandchildren whom one of my daughter’s is homeschooling. My last two at home are both in high school, and the best tip I can give is to “revise and enjoy!” Plans are necessary, but rigidity sucks the life out of me and my kiddos. Make each week a new week…not a continuation of the last week. I make two plans: 1) ideal, and 2) realistic. I revise the “ideal” schedule each Friday to the “realistic” schedule for the upcoming Monday. That way I don’t feel like I am catching up on anything we might have missed, I am simply starting with the new plan for the week. I keep the ideal plan, and we end up getting there, just generally not in the time frame or way I had originally planned. Rather than viewing it as “failing” with my ideal plan, I choose to “revise” it into my realistic plan. I have found this keeps me and my children more focused, less stressed and actually getting more done in the long run. Revise and enjoy!

  • Avatar Elizabeth P says:

    Our kids go to a traditional public school, one 5th and one 8th. I am blessed to get to take both kids to school everyday, so we get to have one on one conversation about their day. Would love to use this study of Luke with our 10 yo son!

  • Avatar Anne says:

    We are just starting homeschool with our first. I am excited and terrified! I wrote out crazy detailed schedules for the beginning of the year so that I can feel more in control, and know that I can adjust them as we go along. We are also expecting Baby Sister in a few weeks, so I am sure more scheduling will be helpful and change right away anyway! πŸ™‚

  • Avatar Diane S. says:

    This is our fourth year homeschooling. When I started with my daughter when she was in second grade, it was just us two. Now we have 3 more kids in our family (2, 1, ans 3 months) and things have definitely become a whole lot crazier. To keep my day going, I have a written schedule set out for the week broken into time chunks with goals for each. I have also worked in some time that is “unassigned”. I can use it to catch up, plan ahead or just take a sanity break.

  • Avatar K.O. says:

    1. We do traditional schooling.
    2. After school it always helps to get homework done early. There’s nothing worse than being tired and staying up late to try to finish what could’ve easily gotten done earlier!

  • Avatar raquel says:

    We do traditional school and anything we can do the night before helps – bags, clothes etc. We also try to do homework right when we get home after snack.

  • Avatar Kerri says:

    We are in our seventh year of homeschooling. What helps me the most is planning – lesson plans, meal plans, cleaning plans, etc.

  • Avatar Susan says:

    1. We are doing traditional school this year.
    2. My mom always insisted on it when I was little and I have started with my daughter trying to have everything ready the night before and set out. School clothes, snack, backpack, etc. That has helped a lot with having a smooth morning.

  • Avatar April says:

    I have 3 kids, 2 are going to public, 1st grade and 3 year old pre-school 2 days a week, and the baby just gets me to inspire her:) It’s been said before but I just always have as much done the night before, back packs packed, lunches and snacks packed, and clothes laid out! I do like the one comment about not playing or watching tv until your dressed and washed, I may have to implement that one this year.

  • Avatar Abbey says:

    We homeschool. It’s my second year. Growing up, we always got to choose our favorite Little Debbie and that was our treat at lunchtime. It was fun to be able to choose.

  • Avatar June says:

    1) not sure what method of school yet…home schooling if I have the sanity for it and God speaks it

    2) if I get exercise and time with jesus, the day goes so much better!

  • Avatar ellen says:

    I would love to win this book.
    We have four in elementary school in a great public school.
    The oldest we are homeschooling because we are not satisfied with
    the quality of education at the middle school.
    We are using an eclectic mix Charlotte Mason style.
    My best tip is to always be ready to switch it up.
    With five kids it is pretty hard to keep everyone happy so
    when someone gets too upset I am ready with an activity
    to maybe change attitudes.

  • Avatar Rachel Baker says:

    Hi! My name is Rachel and I am a home schooling mom. Last year I home schooled my 8 year old, this year I’m bringing them all home! I will have a high schooler, a junior higher and one in elementary school. Phew! I am looking for something to get my young one more interested in bible study. We do devotions in the morning and he always seem odd man out and disinterested. This resource looks great and I think he would like it. A tip for moms, be a planner. Have a plan even if you veer off the plan it’s ok, just having a plan (school, daily house duties, dinner) helps me keep perspective and helps me be a better mom.

  • We have joined a classical conversations community this year to start homeschooling my 5 yr old. I am nervous but excited. The plan is to to start the morning with devotions and then complete her reading work ((100 easy lesson to teach your child to read), and work on memory work through out the day. Planning is a necessity for me this year unlike any other.

  • Avatar Lara Plocha says:

    After 12 years of traditional public school with our two daughters, we chose to take a different path with our youngest – a surprise gift that arrived seven years ago. I suppose you could call us unschoolers. But we prefer to think of it as Life Together. We celebrated “back-to-school” by spending the day in the woods.

  • Avatar R Titus says:

    1. We’re in middle of the preschool year with http://www.sonlight.com!
    2. Because this curriculum is pre-planned, it will help me with being consistent and moving forward. I will not berate myself for not doing many of the suggested activities that accompany each read-aloud story. Instead, I will remind myself that my children, are developing well with much independent play. http://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/blog/thinking-skills/early-education-harmful-dont-push-little-ones-to-learn/

  • Avatar Lisa Baker says:

    We started a “Command Central” Binder that stays in the kitchen. It has plastic sleeve protectors for each kid, where the special permission slips, homework that’s not due yet, etc, go, as well as section for sports pages, contact numbers for everything house related, babysitters, neighbors, and school numbers. Basically everything is in one place so you don’t have to search around the house when you are running late. It’s really helped me to stay more organized!

  • Avatar Phoebe says:

    I am leaning toward the idea of homeschooling and what helped me a lot when I was in school was to have everything that I needed ready the night before. πŸ™‚

  • Avatar Deborah says:

    Our girls attend the same K-12 Christian School that I attended πŸ™‚ One of our strategies to make mornings easier is to make lunches in the evening. Another strategy I’ve used is that when I bake cookies or squares, I wrap them in individual portion sizes and put them in the freezer, easy to grab when making lunches and helps them stay fresh.

  • Regular public schools for us. My best back to school tip is to be prepared. Actually, on my website I’m currently offering a free Back to School e-book with lots of tips – check it out – if you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll automatically get a copy – hope it is helpful to some of you! http://behealthybehappywellness.com/click-here-for-your-free-e-book-back-to-school-stress-no-more

  • Avatar Beth says:

    We homeschool!!! Woohoo!! Just started our year and the thing that works best for me is organization and getting up a little early before the kiddos. Helps keep the day on track! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Avatar Christi says:

    I am just starting homeschooling for my 4 year old, but she attends school 3 hours/day for speech, so we lose some time everyday for schoolwork. To make up for that, I freeze ALOT of lunches/snacks/dinners (recipes from the Once A Month Mom blog) so I can spend more time teaching and playing with the kiddos instead of cooking. What a stress relief!

  • Avatar Julie says:

    Our children are in public school. My best organizational tip is to get lunches and outfits ready the night before. The less to do in the morning, the better!

  • Avatar Kristin says:

    We have a couple of weeks left before my two children start at the local christian school. They are going into grades 5 and 2. The tip that helps me keep organized with all the mail that comes home from school is having a spot where the kids know to put their agenda/planner/homework book each day and making sure that THEY do it. For us, it works for them to put it on the kitchen island because I have to move it to make dinner. This means I actually see and then quickly check for notes from the teacher, forms that needs signing, or homework that I need to check is being completed. Teaching the kids young to be responsible with their agenda is a huge life lesson as it provides opportunities to set timelines on projects, helps them to stay organized, and allows me to ensure that homework is being completed.

  • Avatar Deanna says:

    I plan to homeschool my daughter. To organize, my mom always had all of our school stuff put together and easy to grab. She also did a great job of keeping it simple and not going/doing too much. I think that helped a lot.

  • Avatar melanie says:

    My oldest goes to the neighborhood Spanish immersion charter school and my younger two are homeschooled. BTW, since people have been homeschooled/tutored one-on-one much longer than public education has been around, I think it’s interesting to call public/compulsory schooling “traditional.” Just a thought… =)

    My tip is to prepare as much as possible the night before. Every time I don’t, I regret it!

    Also, when I asked my son what his favorite part of homeschooling was he said, “cuddling.” Love it. =) So no matter how we school our kids, make sure we all get some good touch/contact time with them! Sitting and reading a book together is one of the best ways.

  • Avatar Amy P says:

    We are starting our 2nd year of homeschooling after many years with our kids in Christian school, then public school. We’ve loved each school we’ve been involved with!
    The biggest thing that keeps me organized is my calendar. I use the online calendar Cozi, which I can print off from my computer to keep a copy in the kitchen, and also update with the app on my phone whenever I make an appointment or make changes. I still can use lots of organizational help, but this part of my life has been greatly simplified. I can set reminders and my husband and I both get a copy of the upcoming week emailed to us every Sunday, so it lets him know what to expect in the coming week. I love it! πŸ™‚

  • Avatar Andrea says:

    When my son was born and starting daycare i started posting signs around the house. I would have a sign on the back door that said, “did you remember your lunch, schol bag (i am a teacher), and even my pump as i was still nursing. Now the list has changed and the newest sign says, “did your remember the money? “. We are on a cash budget and getting all the way to the store without cash is a bummer. I envision this sign system will be helpful for my little guy when he starts school. I can say check the sign or schedule so he knows what is happening from day to day.

  • Avatar Catherine Oakley says:

    I keep seeing this book on differenet blogs and would love the chance to share it with my boys.

    We started back to school today! Traditional school for my boys. One thing that has really helped us after school and getting the homework done is having homework pockets that are attached to our fridge with magnets. The boys’ homework packets come home on Monday and go straight into the pockets. Each day after school, they grab their packets, have a snack and get their homework done before going out to play. It works great for them and they feel a real sense of control over their school work rather than having mom nag them to do their homework everyday.

  • Avatar Tawnda Andrews says:

    1. i will be homeschooling this year, a kindergartener
    2. i honestly can’t think of any ideas. i went to a public school and remember very little of my time in the morning or after school. πŸ™ waiting to see how the first few weeks go…

  • Avatar Misty says:

    I would LOVE LOVE to get ahold of this devotional. It would be a fun devotional to have and do with my kiddos.

    We do traditional schooling. My kids get a planner from school to write down their assignments they will have due for the week. I let them pick 1 or 2 usually 1, hmwrk assignments that they have to do for that day. When they are finished I check it and then they can cross it off of the list. Then they have their free time.

  • Avatar Lori-Anne says:

    1. We plan to “homeschool” for JK, and then send them to the Christian school.
    2. When I was in school we always made our lunches the night before, and set out things we would need for the next day. I find meal planning helps with busy days and using my freezer for things I’ve prepared in advance saves time and stress.

  • Avatar Jami says:

    I am always looking for fun and new ways to teach my kis to get in the bible!

    1. We HOMESCHOOL
    2. I don’t know if I have a tip. This is our 3rd year of homeschooling. We just do it. Ha. We do have a routine and schedule which does make our days run smoother. The kids know what to expect and I know how much time I have to make my coffee!!! πŸ˜€

  • Avatar Amanda Johnson says:

    We have just started our first year of homeschool. My son is in Kindergarten.

    The best tip: my Dad always taught us “your day begins the night before.” It makes a huge difference! πŸ™‚

  • Avatar Sarah Schultz says:

    My boys will be going to public school again this year. My oldest is in second grade and this will be his fourth elementary school! Ah, military life. To stay organized we pack lunches together every night and get all of our backpacks and shoes lined up at the door. We usually end up adding socks to the pile because no matter what I hear , “I can’t find any socks!!!” all the time. We also do any homework as soon as they get home so we don’t forget and have to wake up early to finish it.

  • Avatar Rosina says:

    We homeschool and for the past couple of years I’ve sat down in the summer with my calendar and marked on holidays, birthdays and other celebrations that I knew of and then counted how many s hooligan days that left me to be finished up usually by the beginning of June. With that figured out I took our texts likeath and science that I know we need to cover fully and then divide the pages by the number of days giving me a guideline of how much we need to cover and then if we do a tiny bit more each day than needed we don’t fall to far behind on the days we just don’t get anything done. It doesn’t always work but makes me feel better when we do get a bit behind πŸ™‚

  • Avatar Barbara Almen says:

    My granddaughter and I are doing school at home with a public online school.
    My tip is to begin the year with lots of structure and rules. You can always ease up but it is very hard to impose rules down the road.
    The giveaway looks wonderful!

  • Avatar Amy K. says:

    We do traditional school here. My oldest is the only one in school yet. We have a back to school tradition of getting up and going to the bus stop together the first morning and then the rest of the family drives in the car behind the bus and meets Isaac at school and walks him to the classroom. It works for everyone because it is hard for me to part with my Isaac on the first day so I have a little more time with him. He gets to show off his classroom to his younger brother and sister. The little ones get to experience some parts of school so that when it is their turn, hopefully, they will be very excited to start school.

  • Avatar Genifer says:

    My daughter just started 1st grade at a public school. Our biggest time savers are: picking out clothes the night before and putting them next to the bed so everything is in one place right when she wakes up. I also plan out her lunches for the week and pre-make as much as possible on Sunday so that I can just throw everything in her lunch box in the morning. Another thing that has helped so far this year? I started “Maximize Your Mornings” a few days before she started school. Our mornings feel so much smoother because I’ve already taken care of my needs before she is awake.

  • Avatar rachel says:

    We homeschool

    I love to plan. We plan meals, our day, and our weeks. I have a master list of what needs to get done every week and every Monday I transfer those things into my daughters planner so she can see what needs to be done and she can work on it and have fun crossing things out.

  • Avatar Brooke Wright says:

    We homeschool our son and the thing that helps us get going in the morning the most is setting out our clothes the night before. I know it sounds crazy because we dont have to be anywhere in the morning but getting dressed first thing in the morning sets a tone for our day. We are ready to go down to our shoes!

  • Avatar Emy says:

    #1 We do traditionnal school,
    And for me the most important thing in our back to school routine is to pack lunches the night before!

  • Avatar Lisa says:

    My son starts first grade on Monday. I think that a good morning begins with a good night aka good sleep/decent “school night bedtime” that we really try to stick to. We should would like to win the Dig devo book!!

  • Avatar Brandee says:

    We have chosen to homeschool. The best top for starting school back for us is not to start on a Monday. We begin the year on the Thursday before. Gives us a chance to get back the groove with a couple days of looking through or curriculum for the year and talking about the year ahead.

  • Avatar Jamie says:

    We do traditional school.

    My tip is to make sure no matter how the morning goes that we exit the car in the morning smiling. I see so many angry faces in the cars in the morning and it is so sad. My children will face all kinds of disappointments during the day, their morning should not start that way. I also make sure to not be on the phone in the morning or evening when picking up/dropping off. I want my children to have my undivided attention to hear about their day. :0) We also take turns speaking a prayer for our day as we enter the parking lot in the mornings.

  • Avatar connie says:

    We have homeschooled all along and will continue with that this fall. One tip is to see now what sort of fall clothing the children have (think coats and rain boots, running shoes, jeans and long sleeves) then see if there are any garage sales going on in these last few weeks of summer or check for consignment shops or clothing swaps…get set now and don’t forget the umbrellas, sweatshirts and backpacks.

  • Avatar Alicia B says:

    1. Traditional school – oldest is starting preschool!
    2. I want to remember to pray over my kids each day before they leave – either before they head out the door or in the car, whichever works. I want to know they are being prayed for!

  • Avatar Jill says:

    We homeschool. Although I humbly read all suggestions from other homeschoolers who have done it longer than me, I have found that planning is the key to my sanity. Along with a good jog for Mom, kids and dogs before we even try to sit down for school work.

  • Avatar Carisue says:

    I home school. I have been working on meal planning to reduce the evening stress of what do we eat. I am putting meals in the freezer.

  • Avatar Jessica N says:

    We send our kids to a nearby charter school. School starts in 1 week! The biggest thing I’ve learned (and am NOT always good at) is plan ahead the night before. The more I have ready for the lunches, backpacks, etc. the morning goes much more smoothly. We have an earlier start time this year – my oldest is entering Jr. High so I’m a bit scared of getting everyone out the door on time!

  • Avatar Beth says:

    My oldest is two, so we will be doing a homeschool/preschool combo. To stay organized, I spend time on Sunday evenings (after the littles are in bed) to plan the week. Meals are planned and shopped for a week at a time (quick, easy meals on busy evenings) and I do as much as I can the night before – including dinner prep for the next day.

  • Avatar JoannaTopazT says:

    We do traditional school. I print out the school supply list from the website right after the Fourth of July and slowly stock up as the sales go on throughout the summer.

  • Avatar Andrea says:

    We are homeschooling. This tip came from a friend of mine, and I’ll be trying it out this year. Make all of your appointments for Friday afternoons. That way, your Monday through Thursday schedule isn’t interrupted and Fridays (at my home anyway!) are usually lighter class days anyway.

  • Avatar Stacy says:

    My daughter goes to public school. What helps me the most is to prepare for the day the night before and have a routine for the morning-breakfast, get ready, devotion, leave. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Avatar Sharon says:

    I *think* my daughter will go to public school, but I’m not 100% sure at this point. I intend to have lunches made the night before and also to have clothes picked out the night before.

  • Avatar jennifer says:

    i will begin my 2nd year of homeschooling in mid-september with my two oldest boys. 2nd grade & kindergarten. i’m so excited. my 2 year old will be around just to keep things interesting! to transition back to school, i have had reading contests (my 7yo gets credit for each chapter read, my 5 yo gets credit for each book he brings to me). to continue writing, i have had my 7yo write letters to family & friends. he thinks it’s fun. and we’ve been reading our history book because what boy doesn’t like reading/hearing about alexander the great?!

  • Avatar Elena says:

    My son starts traditional public school Friday (1st grade!) and we’ve been working on morning routines for the last couple weeks getting ready. Before he and his sister (who is in preschool) can eat breakfast, they need to be dressed, teeth brushed, and bed made. We have after school and bedtime routines too, we’re working on. They’ve gotten so they automatically do those things right away so that they’re ready to go.

  • Avatar Melinda T says:

    My daughter goes to public school, but we do worksheets and other activities to augment what she learns in class. One tip is to have as much possible done the night before-lunch, clothes(she wears uniform, so this makes it much simpler…somewhat) and her backpack ready to go!

  • Avatar Valerie says:

    Homeschooling for our 7th year here! I have a file folder for every day of the week. If it needs to be done on that day, paid on that day, taught on that day, it goes into the folder and out of my over-taxed memory!

  • Avatar Amanda says:

    This year, our whole family will be at school together! My children are in grade 1 and grade 3, my husband teaches grade 5, and I was recently hired to be the school librarian! My back to school tip is to set the breakfast table the night before. It’s important to me to sit and eat breakfast together. I would love to incorporate morning devotions into this, as we did when I was growing up–and don’t you think this giveaway would be a perfect start?! πŸ˜‰

  • Avatar Ellie says:

    1. We home school.
    2. So far, I haven’t been able to get all of my art supplies together early, as in, before the school year starts. So, I make a list each month of what I need to get for the next month and just work on that part. πŸ™‚

  • Avatar Kimberly Holty says:

    I am a homeschool mom of 6 kids. I do a similar idea with the 30 min increments. Though my biggest success is always starting with our music lessons. While one is doing piano, the other guitar I read with the youngest. then they switch. If we don’t do music first It doesn’t happen! and we also plan our chores in with school so when we are done with school we are done with jobs too!

  • Avatar Kristen Cook says:

    I have one school age child at a public/charter school. My other child goes to PDO once a week.

    One tip for school is that I print out the lunch menu and let my child mark in advance the days that he wants to eat the school lunch and the days he wants a lunch from home. Then I put it on the fridge.

  • Avatar Kristin says:

    My three kids go to tradition public school and we have a hard time the first 2 weeks getting back into a routine after summer break. The best thing that I have done with my kids to help the mornings go smoothly is to have each of the kids lay out their clothes, hair accessories, socks and shoes the night before. This really helps us not to be late because we can’t find the other shoe to a pair or a power struggle with wardrobe selection. I hope this helps someone else’s family!

    • Avatar Kat Lee says:

      Hi Kristin,
      You won one of the copies of the Dig Bible study! If you’ll send me your email address, I’ll have it sent out to you. Congrats!

      -Kat

  • Avatar Kristen says:

    I have a rising 6th grader and a rising 2nd grader in public school (we don’t start back till September). My back-to-school tip is to make sure the kids get to bed at a consistent time each night (as early as possible:) I can do all the planning/prepping in the world the night before, but if they haven’t gotten enough sleep, it’s a lost cause come morning. I also limit after school activities at least during the first quarter, sometimes longer to make sure we get into a good routine with enough down-time in the evenings so we can get to bed on time:)

  • Avatar Allison says:

    I have traditional schooled kids, 1 going into second grade and one going half day of Pre-K. My greatest thing is having a routine in the morning and at bedtime. I also have learned tomorrow doesn’t start when you get up, it starts when you get up. Have everything ready the night before the next day.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win this book!

  • Avatar Cathy A says:

    My 3 kids attend public school and this year my oldest will be entering high school. This means an even earlier start to our day. The thing that made morning times a bit smoother last year was packing all their lunches the night before. I would love to win this book and incorporate morning devotions into our routine – nourishing their souls along with their bodies.

  • Avatar Stephanie says:

    1.We send our two kids to a Montessori school

    2.It helps if our kids lay out their clothes the night before. This is very important for our daughter because she just moves slow and takes awhile deciding what she wants to wear.

  • Avatar Amy says:

    We’re back to public school next Monday. The one thing that helps us more than any is having lunches done the night before. This year we’re going to try to have the weeks lunches put together on the weekend.

  • Avatar Nikki says:

    1. We do Christian Schooling

    2. I make a bunch of sandwiches/wraps and freeze them so when packing the lunch I just throw it in and it thaws by lunch!

  • Avatar Tara says:

    We are starting our first full year of public school after 5 years of homeschooling.
    Two big things that help us : 1) I make breakfast for a month to help make the mornings smoother and make sure the kids are getting a healthy breakfast and 2) we fold the kids clothes up by outfit for the whole week and put it in a milk crate.

  • Avatar marilyn says:

    conventional school – hoping to win the lottery for the public spanish immersion school. Packing lunches the night before is mandatory along with prepping a healthy breakfast consisting of a protein, veggies and fruit.

  • I know I can’t win in the giveaway because I’m like… REALLY far away, but I’m going to comment anyway. My kids go to mainstream school, and the best back to school tip I have for Mom’s out there is: If you’re up early to prepare the breakfast and lunches before the kids get up… your life is WAY easier!!! WAY!! Like HUGELY!!! You can prepare those special lunches because you’re in the ‘peace zone’ that happens before the house gets up. Somehow, for me at least, if I’ve spent time in the Word and prayed before I start the lunches and breakfasts, they don’t seem so challenging. And if I’m organised before the family gets up, they don’t seem to have such a difficult morning; things run smoothly.

  • Avatar Karina says:

    We are a homeschooling family. My tip is to be very flexible, and not restricted by schedules and outside expectations. Children learn in so many ways; learning doesn’t need to always be scheduled and tied to a textbook, assignment, quiz/test, etc. Enjoy museums together, listen to music, read books, etc.

  • Avatar Sarah Ellen Edwards says:

    Both of my children are under 2, but we are planning to homeschool. Before children I was a public school teacher, and my best piece of advice or tip for those whose children attend public or private school is to keep the doors of communication open with the teacher(s) and have grace with them. They have 20+ little ones to get to know and to teach and many of them have their own children too. Keep them informed about your child, but go to them (not above them) when you have a concern. Happy School Year!

  • My 3 girls attend private Christian school and love it. They cry when summer vacation comes they want to go to school all year round.

    My favorite back to school tip is we prepare and prepare the night before. Each child has a cubby or basket w/their name and they place everything they will need for the next day in this spot. So when they get up we are not running around like a chicken with our head cut off to find what we need.

    M. Waters

  • Avatar Betsy says:

    I homeschool my three little girls, and we just officially started “Smarty Party” (as we call our learning together) yesterday. My biggest revelation lately is to maintain once-a-week mommy-daughter dates, even if that means 20 minutes together at the dining room table with a cup of tea while siblings rest in another room. I’m finding this connection time teaches me so much about who each girl is, what they’re feeling and experiencing…and it has lasting impact beyond what any curriculum can offer.

  • Avatar Andrea Kennedy says:

    We homeschool. I’m really excited about this year for two reasons. The first is a complete change in my expectations. I’ve finally accepted that our very relaxed homeschooling style is actually working beautifully and have let all my guilt at what I ought to be doing go. My son is learning and progressing just like my daughtered did which tells me that although we’re not doing a very detailed structured homeschool– we’re still homeschooling. And I’m excited about embracing our successes instead of lamenting failures or missed opportunities.

    The second thing I’m excited about is a very special new element of fellowship and mutual spiritual nurture I’m having with my kids now at ages 7 and 10. We are reading a chapter of the gospels every day together. My 7 year old is so happy that he can now read along and my daughter is getting excited about all the wonderful details she’s gleaning from the Word that she never saw before. I’m loving it!!!

    Our homeschool has always been built around quality read aloud time. This year we’re switching to a more Bible focus. Our read aloud time this year is going to be so rich spiritually and my children have transitioned to it perfectly. We’re even reading The Kneeling Christian together. My kids have both had conversion experiences this summer so we are all set for a very dynamic year in true education.

  • Avatar Tonya says:

    I Homeschool, we just started kindergarten yesterday πŸ™‚
    We lay clothes out the night before and pack as much as lunch as possible and stick it in the cooler opened in the fridge, especially if we are going anywhere the next day.
    Makes Morning way less stressful….

  • Avatar Loretta says:

    I have 4 busy boys, and we do traditional school. To keep us organized we set clothes out the night before and have a drop off place for shoes and backpacks!! I also plan meals for the month, it is such a time saver!!

  • Avatar Kristen Zoeckler says:

    My oldest will leave us for first grade tomorrow morning at the local public school. In September I’ll be sending our middle child to preschool for half days. I’m so grateful that I have our youngest to cling to for awhile longer.

    My one school tip is this: our girls can’t eat breakfast unless everything else is finished. They have to have hair brushed, clothes on, backpack packed and ready, face washed, and teeth brushed. Everyone’s ready in record time! They all want breakfast!

  • Avatar Rachel Burns says:

    Since we have already gone the route of two grown children in private christian school and started over with this five yr old- we have chosen [ublic this year. It is very scary- especially since I have just discovered that parents ARE NEVER allowed to walk the kids to their classrooms! We are relearning our lesson in coming under the local authority who may or may not not have God as their own authority……..tough stuff.
    With Mr E we allow him to pack his own snack so he will be more likely to eat it. I give him a choice of two ziplocs ea morning- ‘would you like fig newtons or apple slices?’ And I ask him to put it in his backpack so he knows where it is.
    We also tried not to show our emotions to him even though we were scared and weepy and full of anxiety- we talked about how much fun this was going to be- and how we could not wait to hear what cool things the school has!
    Empowerment breeds confidence.

    • Avatar Jennifer G says:

      What is it about schools not allowing parents in the building??? Our elementary school does the same thing, though they do allow the parents in during the first week. I am sure I am just not trusting enough, but I find that a bit suspect.

  • Avatar Rachel Burns says:

    Oh yeah- we also bought the Avon catalogs holder for school clothes MONDAY- FRIDAY- it has a spot for shoes and everything. So we have that done by Sunday for each week. He loves it cause he chooses which shoes to put on which day!

  • Avatar 3**men says:

    7th and 9th graders in private school. I would LOVE to do a short devotional with during breakfast time!! As the teenage years begin I/we need as much help as we can get!!

  • Avatar Jennifer G says:

    My son was originally supposed to start pre-k at our local elementary school at the end of this month, but we’ve had a rough summer with lots of changes and he has had some setbacks due to the stress, though thankfully he seems to be calming down and getting back to “normal”. So I think we have decided to keep him home for another year and just start him in Kindergarten next fall instead. I am going to work on reading, writing and some simple math (he loves addition and is beginning to understand the concept of subtraction now too) with him this year while he is home with me. I have phonics program that I will be using as well as just some phonics stories that I will be reading to him, too. I just have to make sure he thinks we are playing because he doesn’t do well with direct instruction. He learns a lot through play but tunes out almost immediately once anything formal begins.

  • Avatar Krissy Shields says:

    I homeschool part-time…my daughter goes to a Charter School W-F and I homeschool her on Mondays and Tuesdays. For about 2 weeks before school starts we begin the homeschool process to “train our brains” for school.

  • Avatar Rebecca M says:

    Hi, we are going to be doing Cottage school for the first time this year and are very nervous and excited about it! A back to school tip… start working on the “new schedule” 2 weeks ahead of time to keep the first week of school a little more smooth.

  • Avatar Penny says:

    1. We homeschool
    2. Whenever possible, have your family pick out clothes for the next day, the night before. It’s so much easier to deal with missing socks, a dirty shirt that needs to be worn, a popped button, etc etc, the night before instead of as an unwelcome surprise in the morning.
    Also, start preparing for those earlier bedtimes now if your kids aren’t back to school yet. Just 15 minutes earlier a night as we get closer to the big day can really help everyone settle in that first back to school evening.

  • Avatar Andrea D says:

    1. We plan on homeschooling for the first few years.
    2. I am a list person. Have to write it down and see the priority to-do’s in order to stay focused.

  • Avatar Lu says:

    My eldest 2 go to school and my youngest will go to nursery 2.5 days a week. Our tricks to easier school life is to have all the breakfast things laid out the night before, no tv in the morning and for mummy to have spent time with God.

  • Avatar Michelle says:

    We homeschool, this is our first year.

    I think my back to school tip would be to set goals for the kiddos of what habits you would like them to have by the end of the year, and post them somewhere in the house . This is something we are planning to do this year.

  • Avatar Niki D. says:

    We do public school (online and brick and mortar). My husband and I decided that instead of letting our kids (in elementary school) school shop with us for new school clothes, we shop without them and bring what we’ve selected home. It eliminated the frustrating shopping experience of mom and dad wanting to buy cute, less expensive options and the little one seeing everything else and wanting it all! There are of course times when it is appropriate to have teachable moments of why we are choosing one item over another, but not during this slightly stressful time of the year! πŸ™‚

  • Avatar Meredith says:

    We do public school and love our school! I have a 5th grader and a kindergartener, so we have one year EVER that they’re in the same school – I’m enjoying this year!

    My tip is to make school lunches on Sunday, preferably with help from the kids! We have sandwiches, mini-burritos, sandwich meat that we package and freeze, package chips or nuts and carrots in separate baggies, and prep fruit (put applesauce in the fridge;). Then in the mornings, all we have to do is put the items in the lunch boxes. SO MUCH EASIER than when my oldest was in kindergarten and I was trying to make her lunch each morning, or even each night before.

  • Avatar Heather says:

    This year I will have one at a private Christian school, two at public school, and one being homeschooled.

    My tip is to tailor your schooling choices to your child’s needs, which my differ from sibling to sibling. It doesn’t have to be one choice for the whole family, and I think that family life is optimized when each individual member is getting his best educational experience. Sometimes that means everyone is doing the same thing, but more often not.

  • Avatar julie says:

    we are doing a local magnet public school for our first grader, and private preschool for our four year old. i just try to get as much done for organizing as i can the night before and set out as much as i can by the door. i set out clothes for each day of the week too, because i get tired of answering that question every morning.

  • Avatar GinnyLou says:

    1. My little man just started kindergarten at a private Christian school.
    2. So far, I’m trying to do as much prep as I can the night before. We’ll see how long that lasts!

  • Avatar Jenn D. says:

    My 3 school aged children go to public school.
    To help my children succeed in school I make an appointment early in the year with their teacher to discuss how things are going so far. I offer them insight as to the character of my child and what works to give them encouragement. I ask for information and advice for what I can do at home to help them and help my child succeed. If any issues arise throughout the year I make appointments each semester to make sure everyone stays on track and that my child gets any help they need to finish the year strong!