Back to School

Let There Be School

This week’s post comes from writer and speaker, Ellen Mongan.

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No more carpools, no more books, no more sleepy children’s looks, rang in my mind every spring as I always anxiously awaited the last day of school. I pictured my family barefoot at the beach building sandcastles. I pictured drinking a diet coke as I lay on my little blue raft in the pool. I pictured family work days followed by an Ice Cream Sunday Party for all. I rejoiced at no homework, no schedules, and no sporting events. I was excited about being family, building character and making memories. In my mind, it was to be the picture-perfect summer.

Then reality hit! Half-way through the summer sibling rivalry was at its prime, the house began to need Maid-A-Day, spelled MOM, summer funds were low from all the summer fun, and I was exhausted. Now I had a different picture in my mind. I pictured driving up to the carpool line with a permanent smile on my face. I pictured all of my children getting out of the car as they politely said, “Thank you mom!” I pictured myself, lifting my arm up and giving a beauty-pageant wave to my children as I just as politely responded, “Have a great day. I love you.” They say if you want to dream, dream big.

I was ready for school to begin. As the children were whining, “No school,” I was shouting, “Yes, yes, school,” but only in my mind. If the truth be known, I was secretly contemplating that year-round school might be a good idea. After many years of experiencing constant change of heart I realized that I was overjoyed when summer began, yet, ecstatic when summer ended. I concluded, both seasons have positives and negatives.

“Change is inevitable, but growth is optional.”  I read these profound words on a bumper sticker. Life is a learning experience. Life is full of change. We change our clothes, and sometime our style. We change our diets .We change our attitudes. Seasons in our lives change. Whether you are ready or not, the beginning of school is just around the corner. How do we properly prepare our children for the upcoming year? Prior planning can make the difference. Here are some helpful hints.

Teach your child to know that they can tell you anything.  Work hard at keeping the lines of communication open. If they have a problem at two or at twelve, assure them that the door to your heart and your room is open. No reservations necessary.

Be ready with a listening ear that is well trained to listen between the lines even if there are no words spoken. Be discerning to know when to give wise advice and when to be silent. An assuring hug can heal a broken heart faster than a word of encouragement at times. Let them know that you are on their team and they can count on you.

Encourage our child to be the good example and to do the right thing no matter who is watching. Teach your child that not telling those in authority about another student’s misbehavior can be as irresponsible as the student who is doing the wrongdoing. Teach your child that, “Honesty is always the best policy,” by being an example of honesty to them.  Remember to always reward your child’s honesty, as well as right choices. This will assure them that character counts.

Teach your child to welcome the new guy or gal in the class. Encourage your child to invite them over or include the new student in their circle of friends. By being a welcoming adult you child will learn to be welcoming.

Sit down with each of your children before the school year begins. Ask them if they have any fears, anxiety or questions about the upcoming school year. Then have a talk about some serious problems that could arise. Bullying, peer pressure, cheating on tests, strangers, and the opposite sex should be addressed. Make it clear what you expect of them this school year. By teenage or college years you can narrow, “The Talk,” down to the words that I always use, “I expect you to be pure, legal, and to obey the rules of the school and the law.”

I interviewed some teachers who gave this wise council. Debbie Cosper suggested, “Give your child a good night sleep and a good breakfast.” Tiffaney Salmons M.Ed. suggested that you talk to your child about school being their job. We must all work to the best of our ability at our jobs. Work hard and pay attention to avoid falling behind the next year. She also suggested you that you tell your child, “We are a team. We are all working together—teachers, parents, and students—to be the best we can be.”

Life is a learning experience. We are never too old or too young to learn something new. I always say, “I can learn something from everyone and everyone can learn something from me.” We are our child’s first teachers, so teach your child the joy of learning, and the challenge of growing in new directions. Teach your child well; after all we are raising the next generation. What do you want to pass on to this generation? Parents, you set the tone for the home. Make this school year a positive learning experience. You can make a difference in the life of your child, and then they can make a difference in the lives of others.

Soon and very soon you will be gathering up your sleepy-eyed children and buckling them up, carpool mom, because the new school year is almost upon us.  Don’t forget to practice your beauty pageant wave, with the permanent smile on your face.  I think that I can almost hear the parents out there shouting in unison, “Let there be school!” Make this year the best it can be for you and for your child. As Mother Teresa always said, “Do it with joy!”

photo credit: Back to School 2012 – U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, South Korea – 27 August 2012 via photopin (license)

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2 thoughts on “Let There Be School

  1. Hi Carrie, thanks for your comment. I, too, homeschool, (or more specifically unschool) and so there are some things in the school experience that I don’t relate to much. As a blog manager though, I find it nearly impossible to find posts that everyone will be able to relate to. If people write about the struggles of infertility, there will be those who are perhaps overwhelmed with the challenges of a large family. Or if people write about their struggles with NFP or having an “oops” pregnancy, there will be those who can’t have children and would so love to have that problem. Same with school vs. homeschool, and many other things. So rather than trying to find pieces in which everyone can relate to, I hope to have writers who speak authentically about their own experiences. My hope is that if they do that, while not everyone will share that experience, there will hopefully be some who do. Though perhaps I should try to write or have some of our other homeschooling bloggers write something about the homeschool experience. 🙂 Peace.

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