How to Prepare for the School Year in a Christian Mindset
Can you believe it’s already July? Summer always seems to fly by, but July is the time where it becomes most apparent that the school year is quickly approaching. From advertisements on back-to-school deals, to information and class lists being released, it’s no secret that school will soon be in session.
At Resurrection Christian School, we are so excited for the upcoming school year and to see all our families once again! No matter what age or grade level, getting back into school can be a bit of an adjustment. We’ve compiled some ways to get ready for the transition back into school, and each way can be driven from a Christian mindset. Start practicing these ideas now to prepare for the school year, and contact RCS for any enrollment questions!
Start Building a Schedule
“Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating he had done.” (Genesis 2:3)
All throughout the Bible, we see examples of the importance of duty and work, but also the same can be said for rest. When the Bible speaks of God’s work, it speaks of six days worth of some pretty intense work. Then on the seventh day is when God is shown to rest, thus creating the Sabbath.
The purpose of this story is to find balance between work and rest. In ancient times, it was a pretty spectacular concept to take a day off. Even in modern times, it can feel pretty challenging to actually take a day to rest. Families know that weekends, those days which are supposed to be meant for down time and relaxation, are often the busiest. Weekends quickly become the time for birthday parties and sports events and practices and everything in between. While we can’t always free up an entire day so easily, building sleep into a schedule is one of the best ways to ensure we’re getting the rest we need.
Even though rest is one of the first priorities to be pushed aside, creating a schedule that builds in and allows for some down time will help your family in so many ways! Start preparing for the school year by building some routines now. About two weeks out from the start of school, start formatting a bedtime schedule and practice waking the kids up at a scheduled time. An important thing to note is that this does not have to be exact to what you’d like to see during the school year! If you’re wanting your 10-year old to be in bed by 8:30 during the school year, there’s a good chance that time has slipped over the summer. Start with some flexibility, like being in bed by 9:00 or even 9:30, then keep moving the time up gradually over the last few weeks before school starts.
For older kids and teenagers, work with them about what a reasonable sleep schedule should be. Even if your teenager verbalizes their disagreement about a bedtime (which is not at all surprising), they often need the most help with getting an adequate amount of sleep. In fact, teenagers still need over 9 hours of sleep every night to be healthy and get enough rest! Talk with your family about the importance of rest, and bring it back to the message that God sends us. We rest so that we may grow, and so that we can seize each day to the fullest of measures. When you and your family allot for rest in your schedules, you’re ensuring that success is attainable for everyone.
Go Back-to-School Shopping in a Reasonable Manner
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Those advertisements that have been coming out since practically since school was still in session keep calling: back-to-school. Back-to-school. There are so many beautiful notebooks and pens and pencils and new outfits to be bought, and you simply must have them to be fully prepared for school, right?
Regardless of if back-to-school shopping has ever been a tiresome event for you and your family, or if your family goes all out, reflect on what’s most important. It can be so easy to see the plethora of advertisements telling you what you need to be successful this school year, and forget what you actually need.
Make a two-columned list with your family before taking on back-to-school shopping, dividing the categories into “need” and “want.” Start with the “need” category, and focus on things that are necessary. After completing this column, move over to the “want” section. Your family might want a new pencil case, or a new outfit, and that’s totally OK. Write it all down, and reflect with them on the teachings of Jesus. Talk about what treasures are most important, and think back to what everyone will need to start off the school year in the best way.
Take it a step further, and look to see what school supplies are in demand for students in need. Many schools, churches, or even stores have drives to collect supplies and clothing to help out families in the area. Have a discussion with your family about their needs and the needs of others. Children are often some of the most selfless of us all, and this discussion will be a beautiful opportunity to prepare for the coming year.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
“Compassion” is such an important word, and has more recently shown itself in the classroom. In fact, there are now tons of books and articles for educators on how to teach compassion to students. Compassion is one of the greatest virtues a child can have, and it is one that should carry over into adulthood.
The words of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus have long reflected the importance of loving one another, and the beginning of the school year is an excellent time to have some conversations about compassion. Schools can sometimes be a venue where bullying takes place, and addressing compassion before and during the school year works as an excellent preventative measure.
Present scenarios to your family, and they do not just have to be bullying related. Talk about what compassion would look like if they saw a student sitting alone at lunch, or if they saw a student crying. Ask your children what compassion would look like if they saw a classmate without a partner, or a new student join their class. Reassure them that even if their compassion is not always reciprocated, they tried to do the right thing. These lessons can be especially valuable for teenagers, as some of the bullying can reach its boiling point during the middle school years.
Jesus spoke of compassion often, knowing it was something that could change the world. Kindness is a first step, but teaching compassion to your children is a way to help them think of others in a much more in-depth way.
The school year is approaching, and each of these topics offer great opportunities to prepare as summer is coming to a close. At RCS, we have so many churches and religions represented, all of which are validated and respected. These lessons are good reminders for the upcoming school year, regardless of religious belief or background. Enjoy the time you have with your family this summer, and contact RCS to learn more about enrollment.