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 24 years of back-to-school rituals as a student, and then as 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. As much as I love the lazy days of summer, I looked forward to starting each new school year.
As a teacher, setting up a classroom was so exciting! My classroom was an extension of myself and how I wanted the 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 now, 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), and this is what I did . . .
- I bought 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!
- I wrote down my hopes and dreams into specific categories including personal, physical, marriage, and family. This was similar to an activity I would do with my students at the beginning of the school year: we discussed our hopes and dreams for the new school year. I think feeling good about our future is important for our happiness. I wanted my goals to be challenging, but also achievable. I shared these goals with my husband, so he can hold me accountable. He’s promised to help me learn to cook and enjoy running. Fingers crossed!
- I plan on trying some new classes with my daughter. We are going to attend different classes and programs at the library, visit local museums, and play at the park. We are going to try new back-to-school activities found on Pinterest, 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.