Coach Mom Newsletter - AUG 2010
It's Back to School Time!
It’s August, and, if
you have school-aged children, that means
change. I once heard that the only people
who really enjoy change are babies with
dirty diapers. With some planning, change
doesn’t have to be such a painful thing.
This issue I am sharing some of my
favorite back-to-school tips. I also am
also thankful to include Dana Bailey’s
back-to-schooling advice for
homeschooling families. Enjoy, and may
your back-to-school days be peaceful,
joyful, and blessed in every way!
Create a central
place for children to store backpacks,
lunchboxes, jackets, and shoes. We
removed the hanging bar from our front
entryway coat closet and placed
tri-hooks (Each hook has a place for a
backpack, lunchbox, and jacket) on each
side of the wall, and put a small
closed-back shelf to hold
most-often-worn shoes. Securely anchor
the hooks on a stud or beam so that they
can stand the weight of a full backpack.
Label jackets and
sweatshirts with a permanent marker.
Identify a place
that children can do homework, and that
it is sufficiently stocked with pencils,
erasers, etc. The best place for younger
children will probably be in the kitchen
or somewhere that is convenient for you
be in case they need help.
Find a small chest
of drawers to save “keeper” papers. Try
to only save the best papers that show
your child’s abilities, and toss the
rest (there will be many more papers to
come!) When the drawer fills up, weed
out least favorites and keep adding.
When it fills up again, file it in a bin
Create a file for
pending papers. (I.e. fundraiser
magazines and packets, scripture memory
Create a notebook
for pertinent information to have at
home such as class schedules, school
calendar, team rosters, etc.
Do a family “home
tidy” before going to bed, so you can
start the morning with a clean and
Lay out clothes the
night before, including socks and shoes.
If you have a child who is finicky about
textures, try new things on the night
before. Ask, “Does this feel okay?”
Make sure your
child gets back into a good sleeping
routine at least a week before school
starts (nine-ten hours a night is
Consider what you
want your mornings to look like and
begin your routine. What tone do you
want to set for the day? Limit TV and
videogames. Read a short devotion or
lead the family in a prayer. If your
children walk to the bus stop, you might
pray over them before they walk out the
door, or if you drive them to school,
you might use that time to pray for
Make a plan for
after school, and communicate that plan.
You might allow a short time for a snack
and catching up on the day’s events, but
then start homework and any practicing
before the “fun” stuff, such as playing
with friends. For older children with
more homework, you might set the timer
for 30 minutes, then give them a play
To reduce the
morning rush, make breakfast foods the
night before. I do not like to cook in
the morning and start the day with a
dirty kitchen, so I often whip up some
scrambled eggs and bacon or oatmeal
while making dinner. The next morning we
are able to easily make egg/sausage
bagel sandwiches, or just heat up
single-serving portions of the oatmeal.
On Sunday evenings,
help children make their sandwiches for
the week, put them in sandwich baggies
and label them with Sharpies, then place
in a freezer bin. You might also pack
non-refrigerated items the night before,
such as pretzels and fruit. This makes
packing a lunch in the morning easy, and
it keeps lunchmeat cool until lunchtime.
No need to carry an icepack, either.
Use your slow
cooker more often. Preparing dinner will
be one less thing on your to-do list .
Check out my
blog for one of my favorite slow
back to top
Advice from a Homeschooling Mom
by Dana Bailey
Organize your school
I’m not the type of mom who makes her
home school area look like a classroom, but
I do like to keep supplies handy and
Create a notebook with
your schedule, reading list, list of
curriculums and whatever else you need to
have close by.
This is where I keep my lesson plans
and ideas for future projects.
I keep a record of community service
hours and field trips we take.
I often call it my “brain” because it
helps to keep my focused on what we are
law does not require home schools to write
lesson plans, but it really helps in
preparation for the new school year. Nothing
is more disappointing than starting a lesson
only to realize you need some extra supplies
for a project that you don’t have.
I keep a running list in my purse of
extra items we need along with a date of
when we need it by.
Set clear boundaries
for your schedule.
Set specific hours to do school &
stick with it.
Try not to make appointments during
that time or play dates.
Turn on your answering machine and
set your cell phone to vibrate during school
Answering the phone is the best way
to break the flow of your school day.
Start off slow.
We never start with our full schedule
if we have been off for more than a month.
We start with half days and work up
to our full schedule.
This makes the transition from summer
break to school much easier and a little
Don’t sign up for every
field trip available.
It is so easy to start the new Fall
season with high hopes of going on many
interesting field trips during the year. It
is really easy to over load your schedule,
leaving you with little actual school time.
Limit yourself to one trip a month
until you get a better grasp on your
Create a menu for the
week, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and
Meal time can be an anxious time of
day if you are not ready for it.
Breakfast prep should not take too
Bake muffins the night before and
prepare a smoothie from frozen fruit in the
Keep lunch easy.
Often we eat sandwiches or pop some
pizzas in the oven.
On really busy days, dinner is slow
cooked in the crock pot or a casserole that
I prepare ahead of time and bake when I’m
Remember, tomorrow is a
If today was horrible, that is o.k.,
you can start all over again tomorrow.
When you are starting a new school
year after a summer break, it is an
adjustment to the new schedule. Remember to
be patient with your kids as they get back
in the groove.
Take lots of breaks, play games, take
Always start your day
with the Lord.
Spend some time in prayer with your
children before any lessons begin.
If things are getting a bit crazy,
stop & pray together asking the Lord to help
As important as a good education is,
the heart of our children is even more
Have fun with your kids.
Don’t get so wrapped up in your
lessons that you forget the reason you are
homeschooling your children.
Dana Bailey, mother of
10, has homeschooled since 1996. She was
named Texas Homeschool Leader of the Year in
2006 by Texas Homeschool Coalition.
When Dana isn’t
homeschooling, she enjoys Monday night date
night with her husband, blogging and coffee
with good friends.
Dana is also a speaker to
women’s groups and home school groups. Dana
and her family attend
Frisco. Learn more about Dana’s ministry at
back to top