After many years of home schooling our kids, I think the hardest part for them to overcome was the feeling of loss, or perhaps a little bit of emptiness, at the end of the summer. The feeling that they were missing out on some kind of “pre” school magic at the end of July and beginning of August.
Their friends in the neighborhood, or especially at church, would all be talking excitingly about going with their moms and choosing new outfits, or sharing the excitement of heading off to the stores to buy those cool gadgets and supplies for the new school year. Those were the times that they would maybe feel that slight regret that maybe...just maybe they were missing out on something special.
Then it hit me -WHY? Why can't my kids get excited about their new supplies, or going with mom and getting something new? We didn't have to get anything extravigant or expensive. It was just the act of going with mom and feeling special and getting to help choose some of their supplies. What better way to get them all geared up and excited for the new school year? Nothing wrong with a good backpack, it has plenty of uses through the school year; day trips in the car, explorations in the backyard, overnighters to grandmas ;) and nature hikes with the family. And when they head to retirement (if there is still life in them) they make great emergency packs to toss in a car.
Now when the conversations at church turn to “I got to go to lunch with my mom when we went to the mall for our school shopping” they can jump in and say “I did too! We bought a new microscope for our science projects this year, or we each got our own magnifying glass!”
I also remembered how I use to make the kids a special bus cake on their first day of school so when they came home there was something special waiting for them. I decided I can still go that extra step, even if they are already at home. I can help make them feel equally special and encourage that child-like anticipation and build that “pre” school magic just for them.
After this learning experience for mom I made it a point in the summer to always take my kids to lunch at least once during the summer for some good one-on-one mom time. Then again, right before school started, as a special celebration to get us off on the right foot. I would also save a few extra dollars so we could stock up on all our school/office and art supplies during the sales, along with a few special items just for them. Sometimes it was just a package of “really cool pencils mom!”. It was all they needed and they felt special – MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
I hope you all get to enjoy a little “pre” school magic this year. Have fun!
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