3 John 1:4 says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” Walking in truth is something they need to see in our own lives. It’s “Back to School” time all over the USA. Even during this hectic and often stressful time, we can show our children how to walk in truth.
I’m sure I am not alone when I say “Back to School” always makes me think of the smell of a new box of crayons. I still love it. There’s just something special about those perfect new crayons. The new school year was always scary for me. Luckily my stepmother discerned my alarm. She would do little things to make me feel better. One year she made pancakes. Another year, she sat down with me and just talked with me about it. With my two little brothers to care for, she didn’t have much time to spend just with me and I remember how special it made me feel. My grandmother usually bought me a special new outfit or I’d get a new box of hand-me-downs from my favorite cousin. With a “new” outfit, my stepmother’s words of encouragement, my dad’s pat on the back, and my new box of crayons, I felt like I could face anything. Our bus driver always met the new year with a big smile and a “Wow! Look how you’ve grown over the summer!” The school always smelled fresh, the teacher’s perfume was comforting and she always had her name in beautiful handwriting on the clean chalkboard so I was sure not to forget her name. In the ‘70s we still greeted each new school day with the Pledge Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and The Lord’s Prayer. Somehow the whole tradition kicked off the new school year in a fantastic way. I would go home so excited about all I had experienced and all I was going to learn that I’m sure I never shut up at the supper table.
I want my children to experience that excitement more than just once a year. Because we live on the Great Plains in a farm and ranch community, we’ve found it much easier to school all year round. This way, in the spring and fall when the weather is so beautiful, we can take off and spend time outside with the animals. We can all tend to get a bit burnt out every few months, so I try to break things up a bit here and there to freshen things up. Here are some tips for keeping things special in homeschool.
- Decorate – I like to decorate for the seasons anyway. With many little ones, it can be hard and overwhelming. Keep it simple. Take a week off regular school to do crafts, special cleaning, and decorate. I usually do this in October, January, April, and July (give or take a month depending on weather and such).
- Don’t Rush – Don’t get swallowed up in all the “Back to School” sales. I know there are big ones and some states have a “no sales tax” day for shopping. Trust me, you can usually save more money if you wait till after the rush. After Labor Day there are a ton of things on clearance. Take a whole day, with the children. Plan a picnic and take your time. They can pick out a lot of their own things easier because there is less to choose from and the prices will be much easier for you to handle.
- Pictures – Dress up and have each child pose with their new school books. My two graduates remember the special “Picture Days” we would have at our home. Sometimes we would do them outside, sometimes inside.
- Go Outside – Blow bubbles, draw with sidewalk chalk, ride bikes as a family, paint the fence or the playhouse, or some birdhouses. Do something outside that you never seem to have the time to do. Just have some fun!
It doesn’t take a lot to make a fun day for children. All children need to make a day special is your undivided attention. Think of the things you’ve always wanted to do with your children but never seem to have the time for. Set aside one day and just do it. Chances are, they will remember it for the rest of their lives. In the process, you will be showing your children trust, faith, joy, and how to truly “Walk in Truth.”