Oh friends, where did the summer go? It seems like just a couple weeks ago we were excited about summer, now here we are with kids already heading back to school.
Our kids started school this week. As I’ve shared here before, we have been homeschooling the past few years. This year, we’re trying something different. They’ve all gone out to school. To be honest, this decision has really brought a lot of school-stress on us. I don’t know if they’ll keep going but they have started (we did one week, then withdrew them).
Prepping for Back to School
If you’d had any experience with kids in school whether it be at home or out, you already know it’s a big ordeal. Back to school needs preparation. If your kids go out to school, you have to make sure that some aspects of preparation are ready before hand:
- Do they have their school supplies (for both homeschool as well as out of the home school?
- Are they pack and ready to go if they are going out to school?
- What are they going to eat for breakfast and lunch?
- What are they going to wear the first day?
- Are they riding the bus or are you going to drop them off?
So you see, there are some aspects you’ll have to consider before hand, but it will be such a help if you go beyond to do some more prepping ahead.
Why You Need to Prep Ahead Before School Starts
- Prepping ahead before school starts will help you avoid the buys morning hustle
- It will help you & your family easy into the school
- It can also help you avoid the last minute scramble for things you forgot
- You won’t feel like you are just surviving school mornings
Ten Ways to Prepare for Back to School
1.Create a Menu (for Breakfast and Lunch especially)
- Take some time to draft a menu for a week or two (or for a month if you are challenged)
- It doesn’t have to be perfect, you can fine tune later
- Prep for school morning breakfasts, school day lunches, & school day snacks for both during and after school
A menu will help you:
- Think about foods your kids enjoy
- Buy what you need for meals ahead of time
- Plan better for busy days
- Get food on the table faster
- Keep you from “kitchen wandering”
- Hopefully, save money by not buying randoms (you’ll have a plan)
2. Prep Some Foods Ahead
- Dry Mixes – (pancake & waffle mixes, muffin mix, oatmeal packs) – Wet ingredients can be added later
- Fruit Bowls – Certain fruits and veggies can be prepped in little bowls ahead of time
- Lunches – That can be stored in the fridge a few days ahead
- Freezer Foods – that freeze well & heats up well
3. Sort a Weeks Outfits
- Choose about 6-7 outfits for the first week (if your kids go out to school)
- Have a couple extras for if they change their minds on one outfits (They won’t need to be digging through their closet, trying to find something during “crunch time”)
4. Create a Schedule for Learning & Activities (if you’re homeschooling)
- Know what you are about by creating a learning and activity schedule – What time of day are you going to do school? What subjects will you cover during these times? When will you take a break for outside play or go to a class with other kids (if they do)? What day will you meet up with other moms? Consider all these factors so you won’t feel like you are just “winging” it
- If your have kids who are not school age yet, what will they do while you homeschool the bigger ones?
5. Create a Clutter-Free Space for School Work and Homework
- I believe it’s much easier to work in an uncluttered environment – it makes concentrating better
- Whether your kids will at the dining table, couch, their room, etc, take some time to make their space free of clutter
- Kids don’t need to be constantly picking up fallen books and pencils from the floor while they are trying to work
- (please clear that mail off the dining table)
6. Organize the Entryway or a Drop Zone
- Kids heading out the door will need to easily access their stuff (backpacks, lunchboxes, sports gear, seasonal gear such as winter stuff), etc.
- It’s helpful to have something set up, especially for younger kids – They’ll know exactly where to find what they need and it will help save both them and you time from searching for things when you need to be out the door already
7. Practice Morning & Night Routines
- It might be helpful to start practicing your morning routines (a few days to a week or so before school begins), especially if the kids need to be out early
- Work on wake-up times and what they need to do in the mornings
- Adjust bedtimes to ensure kids are in their rooms or bed at reasonable times at night
- It will probably take some time to adjust
8. Do Something Fun for Back to School
- We typically have a small Cupcake Party or Tea Party
- We have also taken the kids out for one last summer activity before school starts
- It doesn’t have to be extravagant or pricey
- The kids will appreciate it either way
- Have a picnic
- Bake or make something at home that they love
- Go out for ice-cream
- Have a popcorn and a movie night
- Do a free or low or cost activity (swimming, fishing, playdate, park)
9. Take First Day of School Photos and Fill Out “About Me” Printables
- If you can, take first day of school photos before the actual day. Sometimes the mornings are hectic or too dark and you can’t get that “perfect” photo taken. You can have your kids dressed in their outfits, do their hair, holding their “signs” (if they have one), and take their photos a day or two prior to school
- It might be helpful to do “grade” photo instead of a “first day of school” photo (meaning: if they are going to hold chalkboard signs, they can read something like “3rd Grade, or “First Year of school” or something of that nature).
- You can also just take photos any time within the first 2 weeks of school, with or without a sign, so if the first day is hectic, you won’t feel like you had to get that shot
- Also, print out those “All About Me” printables so they can fill out ahead of time
10. Pray Together
- Most of all, you need to pray. Everything I just said from numbers 1 through 9 may not be as successful if you don’t take some time to ask God to lead and direct
- School preparations can be a real struggle. Take some time to pray together with the kids and with your family. Encourage them and yourself with positive words, Scriptural truth, and calming words.
Even if you only get one or two of these done, it will still be a help. I didn’t get them all done before our school started – mostly because I didn’t give myself enough time to figure things out (we recently moved to SC and there’s been a lot going on with this move). Although, I had a menu planned out for breakfast & lunch for the week, I didn’t get their lunch boxes, cutlery, water bottles, etc. organized the night prior to the firs day. Therefore, the first morning of school, I found myself in the kitchen wandering, rather confused, not sure what I was about.
It was early.
I was tired & sleepy.
I was slow.
The kids were sleepy.
My husband was worried we would be late.
And yes, we were “late”. But so was everyone else. No one was marked late though because first day craziness was expected.
The school drive up line was so backed up that we sat there for minutes. It. Was. Crazy. When we finally got up to the school, we parked on a little size. I asked a Cop about parking in that spot behind some cars that were already parked in front of us. He said, it’s not a parking spot but everyone else is doing it anyway.
Do Your Best
So my friends, do your best. These tips aren’t requirements, just ideas to help a little with the busyness of back to school. School isn’t perfect, we’re all just trying to do our best. If you can’t get much done, at least do it for the first day of school. You can always figure out the rest in the evening, prior to day 2.
But keep trying if you desire to achieve one of these before school starts. Keep in mind, that it may take a little while for the family to get out of a relaxed summer mode. Evaluate what’s working and what’s not; tweak things if needed.
If your kids have already started school, and you got none of these accomplished, it’s still ok. If you feel like you are in a scramble, take some time to prep for the following days. Suggestions:
- If you have some free time during the day, you can get of the above done
- Take one evening after school and help the kids sort out some clothes for the rest of the week
- Take a weekend to figure out your menu, shop groceries if needed, and hopefully prep foods
I hope these help whether your kids are going back to out of the home school or are going to be homeschooled.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness (Proverbs 31:27).