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Lazy days, rolling out of bed in a leisurely fashion, chilling at the beach, exploring nature, bike rides, hikes, picnics, pools, alarms, outfits, lunches, packing, buses, cars… Does anyone else experience a tinge of panic somewhere between pools and packing? I’m a homeschooling parent so I don’t have to worry about alarms or school buses, yet I still break out in a sweat thinking about all that needs to be done before this next season of learning kicks in.
So what can parents and kids do to get ready for the school year without disrupting the lovely flow of summer? Below are a few tips for simple ways to prepare so that you’ll be ready without the hectic rush. Each of these ideas can hop into your summer rhythm as a small portion of your days and weeks. I suggest tackling these items during the hottest part of the day when kiddos need a break from the heat, or first thing in the morning before you head out for the day.
To make space in your life for school gear, backpacks, projects and more, consider taking some time to go through your children’s toys. You can do this in one fell swoop, or in smaller portions. If the kids feel like playing cars, bring out all of the cars, Marie Kondo style. Same thing goes for animals, stuffed toys, puzzles, games and more. Have the kids sort them into piles – broken, giveaway, sell, keep. Kids are often more motivated to purge items if they know they can earn some money back to put toward new items, or that they can donate their previously loved toys to children who may not have the opportunity to play with these kind of toys otherwise.
For a free e-course on taming your mountain of toys, check out Tiny Peasant’s Playroom Remedy. It’s a one week guided purge of your toy stash that you can do with (or without) your kiddos.
Next time you create some art this summer, make it an opportunity to take stock of what supplies you have and what you need to refresh. Get the kids involved in sharpening pencil crayons, sorting through crayons (save the broken ones to make some new crayon shapes or melted crayon art), checking glue containers, etc. Are you missing paint colours? What condition are your paint brushes in? How is your general craft supply stash doing?
Jot down what you need to pick up or order and take care of it now to beat the back to school rush.
Get your kids to gather together their school supply remnants from last year and see what’s working, what needs to be fixed, and what is missing. You may not have a school supply list yet, but parents usually have a pretty good idea of the core items that will be required. Many of us go out and purchase all the items on a list even though we still have many of those same items from previous years at home. Pencil crayons can be sharpened and put back in the same case, erasers can be cleaned up and used again. Look for what’s left of looseleaf packs, find scissors, rulers and geometry sets. Maybe you can find that missing compass at a thrift store to complete your set.
This is a great time of year to look at where your children are spending time doing homework, reading, creating art and otherwise being their studious selves. Ahem. Spend some time with your kids dreaming up how those spaces may be more conducive to learning. Is there too much clutter? Is the paint colour distracting? Maybe the space can use some cushions – or is it simply too comfortable to focus on work? Refreshing a space can really get kids excited for the coming back to school season and take some of the ugh out of it.
Enjoy the rest of your summer, and the back to school season this year. The benefit here is threefold – save yourself battling crowds the week before school, help your child get excited for heading back to school and save the environment by not repurchasing items that you can spruce up and reuse from previous years.