As I wandered down the aisles of Target this summer I felt a little bit of sadness. The back to school aisles were filled with eager children carefully choosing their new school supplies with excitement. After twenty-four years of back to school year rituals as a student and then a teacher, I realized this year I will not experience that same back to school excitement. I am looking forward to my new adventure as a stay at home mom, but I wondered, how can I create that back to school excitement without returning to school or having a little one go off to school.
As a student, I loved preparing for the first day of school. New clothes, new supplies, new backpack, new teachers, and the promise of a new beginning. Back to school provides a fresh start. As much as I love the lazy days of summer, I looked forward to starting each new school year. Setting up a classroom was so exciting. My classroom was an extension of myself and how I wanted my year to go – bright and organized! Setting up my classroom, schedule and preparing materials at the beginning of the year was full of promise and excitement for the year ahead.
As a stay at home mom, I want to create that feeling of back to school excitement at home. I want to feel that fresh start excitement (without being in charge of a classroom full of kiddos!). My first step was to buy a new “academic” planner. I have an obsession with pretty new planners and there is something so exciting about looking at the year ahead and filling in birthdays and upcoming events using pretty new pens!
Next, I thought about activities I would do with my students at the beginning of the school year. Each year, we discussed our hopes and dreams for the upcoming school year. I really thought about what my hopes and dreams were for myself and my family. I think feeling good about our future is important for our happiness. I wanted my goals to be challenging, but also achievable. I wrote down my hopes and dreams into specific categories including, personal, physical, marriage and family. I always find it challenging to commit to my goals and write them down. I shared my goals with my husband, so he can hold me accountable. He’s promised to help me learn to cook and enjoy running. Fingers crossed!
In addition to buying some shiny new materials and goal planning, I plan on capturing that back to school feeling by trying some new classes with my daughter. We are going to attend the “Young and Restless” class at the Johns Island Library, visit local museums, and play at the park. We are going to try new back to school activities found on Pinterest and play “school” as well as read back to school books at home. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn is one of my favorites.
I know I am going to miss the anticipation and excitement of beginning a new school year, but I am looking forward to spending more time with my daughter and challenging myself with new goals for this school year.