Not Your Normal Back to School Article
I could easily write a children’s reading blog about back to school. But every other site is posting them, and I bet you could quote each point even before you click on the link. You will read about prepping your child for anything from going to bed earlier to how to deal with their new classmates. This blog will be different. I would like to tackle a few points that most articles are not addressing.
Preparation: Things Can Change, Can’t They?
Every year is the same thing. You tell yourself that you will be better prepared. You are going to go Back-to-School shopping well in advance. Maybe you have done just that. Perhaps you are almost there; you have just a few more items on your list. Or are you in the category who those who haven’t even started yet? If you are in this latter group, don’t give up just yet. Yes, you will be one of the many parents who will battle the crowds on the evening before the first day of school. You will be elbowing other parents for the last bottle of Elmer’s glue, but don’t let that be a reason to give up even before the year has started.
Solution: Well, not much can happen this year. By the time you read this, school may already be in session and pass or fail, your child is in their class right now with their supplies purchased. As you learned from the long lines, you were not the only one. Use that as encouragement that others are in the same boat as you are.
Involvement: You Can Begin This Year
You desire to be a more involved parent. If that urge is pulling you to join the Parent Teacher Association or booster club, then find out from your child’s teacher or the school office clerk the process and do it. Of course, your level of availability may be limited, as it is with most dual-income families. If this is the case, you can be a parent who donates items needed, instead of their time. Ask your child’s teacher for a list of planned events and how you can help make these events successful, and less stressful for them.
Solution: This step always begins mentally. It first takes the decision to do something. Then doing something about it. Volunteering is not for everyone, so do not be discouraged if that is not your cup of tea. There are other ways to help. The best way to find out is by talking with your child’s teacher. They deal with it concerned parents all the time. A teacher can help you feel more involved and at the same maintain your busy schedule all while meeting their needs. These can often be necessities that are not readily known.
Attention: It’s Never Too Late to Care
Another promise you make to yourself is that you will not get behind. You are determined to keep up with your child’s assignments and meet their reading goals. Now is the time to create a plan for how you will accomplish that goal. Time is an important commodity to an adult. And no matter how much you plan, you will always find that there are never enough hours in the day to accomplish everything. The question you must ask yourself is, what is important to you? Is that television show that you must watch more important than your child’s question about their homework?
Even with meticulous planning, you will make mistakes. The important thing to remember is that one mistake will not ruin the entire year. We only fail when we make several mistakes in a row to the point where it becomes a habit to neglect homework time for personal “me” time.
Solution: Prioritize. Schedule a time to conduct a homework review. It can be in the car ride home, or once you are settled in at home. This is where you will ask questions about what happened today at school. Not only is this good with discovering your child’s current assignments, but about how their day went personally. You ask, then listen. Do not settle for, “Do you have homework?” That is the easy way out. A great open-ended question could be, “What did you learn in school today?” After that, then you can ask about assignments.
Persistence: Never Give Up
Know this. You will fall short. There will be days at work where everything went wrong, and the last thing you want to do is solve math problems or recite spelling words. There will be days where you don’t want to read or be read to. My wife and I have had many of those days ourselves with our four children. Life is life. But do not give up because of one bad day. Just like any setback in life, get back up and continue tomorrow.
Showing your child that you wont give up after one bad day gives your child an example of persistence. They may not understand your actions as persistence now, but as they grow older, they will pull back the memory of mom or dad reading to them or doing homework with them, and know. And to be honest, they will remember the good days more than the one bad day. That is, unless you make those “bad days” habitual and eventually an excuse not to work with them.
Solution: Always consider the consequences of your actions. Your child will reflect what they see in you. If they see you giving up easily, they will give up just as easily. They could consider their homework as unimportant and not do it. Why not? You did. On the flip side, when they see that even after a difficult day that you take the time to work with them, then they will hold homework time as sacred and mirror your actions.
Preparation. Involvement. Attention. Persistence. This school year can be the year you really make a difference, even if your preparation began on shaky ground. If you want to ensure your child’s success through their schooling years, you need to be the drive that gets them there. Be the parent that when your child stands up during their Valedictorian speech they thank you as their source of inspiration. The efforts you make in your child’s education today will be reflected in the adult they grow into tomorrow.
Being involved does not mean being at every booster club meeting and attending every scholastic event. But it does involve taking an interest in your child’s education. Give them the attention they deserve at the end of the day. But when things get tough, be persistent in what you do. When you make it a habit of working with your child, then homework time will become a welcome event in your household.
I live in a small town in South Central Texas with my wife Carolyn and our four children. We attend the local First Baptist Church where we have been serving for 8 years. I drive a truck in the transportation industry and I pursue my writing career in my spare time. I have a passion for writing, and I plan to use my voice to glorify God.
In addition to my freelance work, I have a series of Children’s books that will begin to be released starting in June of 2018. I also have written a novel that is currently being edited. I look forward to sharing it sometime in 2019.