Making the Most Out of This School Year


Growing up, back to school season was like a holiday of its own. For me, it was right up there with Christmas. I absolutely loved going shopping and picking out my own backpack and new special lunchbox. I’d choose my trapper keeper and colorful folders. Then I’d sit and sharpen all my new pencils before picking out all of my outfits for the first week of school.

This year, there are many mixed emotions as we start the new school year. It’s my son’s first year of school and my daughter’s first year in public school after homeschooling for two years. In many ways I’ll miss the activities we did together, all the flexibility and “ah ha” moments I got to witness firsthand. Part of me wishes we could continue homeschooling together this year, and get more time in together. But with a brand new baby and move in the works it’s not the case.

That’s why I’m excited to partner with Minute Maid to show how life doesn’t have to be perfect to be GOOD. Sure there are things I wish I could do differently, but there are things we can enjoy this experience as an adventure of its own. Adventures like back to school shopping and setting new goals together.

We called a family meeting and sat around the kitchen table to talk about both of these things. The back to school shopping lists seem a lot longer than it was when I was a kid. Unfortunately I’m not that cool mom who saddles the kids up to shop with me all day for their personalized school supplies. I’m more of that messy and chaotic last-minute-shopping mom who looks for the pre-packaged supplies she can order online and pickup right before the first day of school (my son doesn’t even have his new backpack yet).

One thing I feel I’ve done right is talking about how we want this school year to look. Though we won’t be together all day every day, and we’ll have less quantity of time, I really want to make the time we have together strong quality time. Most of our goals surround this theme.

My daughter, Lil’ J’s, goals for this year are to become a better reader, and at home to do science experiments together on weekends.

My son, Big T, wants to race his new friends at school and keep our poetry tea party tradition alive, which we will try to do once or twice a month on Fridays after school.

My goals are a little more robust:

• Choose a family theme/motto: Something to live by and remember every time we leave the house.
• Morning motivational mantras: To say before they head off to school, reminding them of who they are.
• Meaningful afternoon recap questions: To see how their day at school was beyond just “fine.”
• Learn the best way my son learns: To help me navigate the best way to teach him outside of traditional school.
• Check out for a day date: Not sure how often, but I’d like to do this at some point for each of my kids. Probably coinciding with a doctor’s or dentist appointment.
• Read together every night: A tradition we’ve been hit or miss about but will definitely try to keep up this school year.

I know there are going to be a lot of adjustments. Life isn’t picture-perfect, and I’m sure it’s going to be a lot messier than I’m envisioning. When it comes down to it, some of these goals may need to be readjusted. Afternoon questions may get redundant or forgotten on busy afternoons. Science experiments may become finishing science homework before the morning bus comes.

Though I won’t be teaching them, we’ll still be busy with school. Some days aren’t going to be pretty and other days will just be a mess. But we’re all in this experience together and you better believe this is GOOD.

This post was written in partnership with Minute Maid, the brand encouraging parents to share more of their real family moments with the hashtag #thisisGOOD. The campaign helps remind parents that even imperfect moments should have us saying this is GOOD!

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