Back to school time is a perfect time to hit the reset button and set goals for you and your children.
How I wish I had set my back to school goals prior to the start of school.
I didn’t want the shimmering, loosely-structured summer of play to end. However, a part of me welcomed the schedule and bustle of classroom learning and after school activities. Shivering with each gust of biting wind during my son’s soccer game the other day helped to snap some sense into my bones.
As a parent of an eighth-grader, one of my goals this school year is to see the big picture of schoolwork and related activities. Knowing what is due, by when helps ease my anxiety. So I dragged out the large paper calendar from last year and penciled in projects, homework, tests and quizzes that I knew, and James added to it. I layered in soccer games and practices since that would help prioritize and focus his school work-efforts. I also included notes about after-school events – like my tennis games, or Rob’s travel schedule – to add to the big picture.
The calendar sits on James’s desk for easy reference and is one of many tools we use in addition to Infinite Campus, paper planners, and a shared Google Calendar.
Last year, I wrote about area moms who made back to school resolutions. I wondered: did their resolutions – or goals – stick?
Heather Bartlett, a registered nurse and clinical director of Westfall Surgery Center had a goal to not over schedule her kids. She allowed them to choose two activities for the school year, one sport, one art.
Although, Bartlett wanted to stick to her plan, her kids were not on the same page. With so many great clubs offered at school, including school newspaper and gaming group, she wanted them to participate, but timing rides and meals proved challenging. “Thank goodness for Grandma!” said Bartlett.
Claire Hallancia, an Elementary Education teacher, tried to stand firm on a rule of no electronics after 8 pm. “If someone needed Internet access after that time, the family computer was available,” she said.
The rule worked for her then-7th grader. “It was easy because he really only uses his devices for video games,” said Hallancia. For her 9th grade daughter the rule didn’t work because she developed a habit of listening to music on her phone to help her fall asleep and used the alarm on her phone to wake her in the morning.
“This year we decided to try something new,” said Hallancia. “While we eat dinner together everyone shares the best and the worst part of their day.” Hallancia admitted that they haven’t consistently met their goal, with two kids and a foreign-exchange student all involved in school soccer. She is, however, determined to get back on track now that soccer season is over.
Brenda Zariczny, an account executive for AmRent, wanted to more fully use technology during the school year. “Having two boys in high school, I know that when I speak, they don’t listen,” she said. “My boys have Gmail accounts, so I set myself up with one and now we share calendars.”
Her goals have become a work in progress.
“I have embraced the calendar in Gmail for scheduling the family’s activities. It has mostly helped me and my husband to stay up to date because teens have moved way past email and mine at least have not figured out the benefit of staying organized.”
While Zariczny has encouraged her teens to advocate for themselves, they find it uncomfortable. “The funny thing is that with all of the advances in technology teenagers are still teenagers.”
Last year was the first year that Laura Beganny, a stay-at-home mom, had all three of her kids in school. “I’m going to have several hours of uninterrupted time to accomplish some of those household tasks I’ve been putting off. Things like painting trim, cleaning out toys, and organizing my recipes,” she said.
She stuck to her goals – and became quite the DIYer. “I cleaned out toys and the kids even made some money selling them on eBay. I also managed to paint the walls and trim of my kids’ bathroom, install a new light, and hang two medicine cabinets. I also put up a new shelf in my closet. I did not get around to the recipes.”
This year, Beganny has already started on a new list of projects. Give her a drill rather than a spatula any day and she’ll get the job done!
Sarah Milko, Executive Director for AutismUp!, set the following goal: “Homework will be completed right after school. Everyone will wake up 15 minutes earlier than last year, and last but not least, I will insist that my kids get their back packs and all related materials (parent signed forms, donations, etc.) ready to roll the night before.”
Most of her goals stuck: “I’m not sure if it had a lot to do with motherly determination or the fact that my kids just started to grow up!”
Have you set any back to school goals? It’s not too late, if you haven’t. If you have set goal, you can always check in to see what’s working and what needs adjustment.
What do you think?
This is my best work today. Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please feel free to share it with your friends or send me a comment. You can also post a comment on my blog or Facebook, or tweet me @kristinebruneau.