August is when my oldest daughter was born. Her birthday came close to when summer vacation was over and school began again. The stores were already showcasing the latest backpacks and were overloaded with notebooks, pencils, colorful binders and whatever was needed to help one become prepared for that first day of school.
Yesterday my youngest daughter began another semester of college. Thinking back 30 some years , I remember the butterflies in my stomach as I walked to a new room on campus, meeting my new teacher for the first time and all the new classmates. It was nerve wracking ! But soon I’d settle into a familiar routine and the strangeness of the situation was gone. Then all I had to do was keep up with all the tests, papers and exams they gave me!
Our homeschool didn’t begin until after Labor Day. I tried to make our first day of school exciting each year. I made the trip to Walmart and stocked up on all the necessary supplies we would need, throwing in a few special items for each child. Maybe a folder that had kittens on it for Claire or horses for Nan. I would arrange everything in the middle of the table and put something special by each child’s’ plate. Pancakes for breakfast, devotions and a quick brushing of teeth and hair and we were ready to start our first day.
As my girls got older and the work piled on (plus their extracurricular activities , perhaps even a job) they would feel overwhelmed . I would sit down with them and we’d make a schedule of their day, beginning when they got up, to the chores they were responsible for, to piano practicing, homework etc. ending with bedtime. I remember the relief they felt when we had finished. Seeing it on paper helped them know if they used their time wisely it was possible to get it all done. And of course life happens and they’d get off their schedules, but I’d remind them tomorrow is another day and you can begin again.
Now I’m alone at home most of the time (at least for now). Some of my grandchildren will be starting school today or next week, one in kindergarten and two in second grade. I do miss those exciting days, when the anticipation is new and fresh. There’s something about opening a new textbook or writing for the first time in a brand new notebook that I love. Expectations are high and so are the nerves, (maybe butterflies)! Thankfully our mistakes and frustrations of last year are gone. I am reminded of the verse in the Bible from Lamentations 3:22, ” because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
How wonderful that we can begin again each morning!
We can learn from yesterday but move on to the things of today. Proverbs 16:9 says: “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps”. I’ve been learning to give God each day and to listen to his leading throughout the day! regardless of my “premade”schedule. That gives me such peace, knowing he is ordering my steps, my day and any interruption is God planned.
I hope and pray that each of you, whether you are the teacher or parent of a student or both, have a great year as you help your child navigate through this brand new and exciting school year.
What are some of your favorite school memories, either from your time at school or one that you made teaching your own children?