It's funny, September has always felt a lot more like the beginning of the year to me than January. There's something about summer coming to an end, the evenings growing crisp and the start of a new school year that fill me with hope, excitement and-quite honestly-a bit of anxiety.
Since I only have one kid in preschool, I certainly don't feel the pressure of back-to-school shopping lists, impending homework assignments or endless volunteer sign-up sheets like many moms do. But I can't help but feel my heart tug as I send my son off into the world with a new teacher, new classmates and new opportunities to learn and gain independence.
Our family has just a week until school starts and I'm realizing I need to kick into high gear. Luckily the Yahoo! Mother Board has provided me with great inspiration and motivation.
Here are my goals for the new school year:
1) Don't overdo it.
"It" being shopping, volunteer sign ups, activities, you name it. Yvonne in LA has great tips for keeping back-to-school madness in check, like not buying everything you think you'll need before school even starts. And The Happiest Mom makes a great point about knowing your strengths when determining how you can support your kids and their school. Like her, I know I'm horrible at cutting and get frustrated by the back-and-forth at meetings. So I'll figure out something I'm good at and stick to it. (No matter how long that takes!) And though our son's school doesn't require uniforms, I love Who's The Boss's idea of hemming last year's pants into shorts and buying shirts a size too large so they last longer. Brilliant!
2) Less work, more fun.
I know, I know, the new school year does come with real responsibility. But who says I can't make our to do's a bit more fun? Teach Mama created a great template for kids to fill out and take back-to-school shopping. Really this could even be used for weekly grocery shopping-it engages kids in the process and gives them writing and math practice. And if you're the routine-oriented type (me!), Garza Girls has a great approach inspired by Dora (yes, that Dora): Set expectations and outline/reinforce the 3 steps to success. (Now I can't get Agent Oso's "3 Special Steps" song out of my head…guess these cartoons are on to something!)
3) Live in the moment. And capture it.
I'm signing on to join It's Jessica's Life, "…this is going to be the year of awesome. I'm determined to make it so." Before I know it, I'll be singing the kindergarten blues like Dirt & Noise, and questioning when I should start my late-fall baby in school like Chalk and Cheese Chronicles, but I want to do everything in my power to embrace this year. I'll worry less about the work I'm missing when I'm volunteering in my son's class, and more about the way letters-and friendships-are beginning to take shape. I'll stock a lunch drawer, as well as hang menu ideas in the cupboard so I'm not scrambling in the mornings and can play a proper game of hair/shoe/you-name-it monster. And I'll even do my best to scan school artwork to make a photobook from it like Beccarama suggests. (No, I haven't done my baby books yet, but I will do this!)
Ok, it's written down. And don't they say that makes you more likely to follow through? Here's to hoping…and to a great new school year!
*For more posts on Back to School read the blogs of the Yahoo! Mother Board!*
**Author: Amy, YodelingMamas
***Photo from Flickr by ArtisticImpressionsbygina