Around the Kitchen Table: School starts again

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School. The word triggers memories for a lot of us, stress for others. I admit I disliked school. I love learning, still do, but the confines of regimented classes aren’t for me. My favorite class periods were lunch and recess. That’s when I felt a bit of freedom and could find a few minutes to actually think.

Another thing I enjoyed about school was buying supplies. Getting school clothes was torture, but I loved the smell of the new crayons, Big Chief tablets and notebooks and I got to pick out a new handkerchief. Most people used a hankie back then.

If you think about it, you can do a lot of stuff with a handkerchief that you just can’t do with a flimsy paper tissue. A handkerchief can serve as an emergency tourniquet, a flag for a spontaneous game of flag football, a “white flag” to be waved when playing battle, to catch a bug, to pop your sibling on the backside (wet is better), to stop up a hole in just about any size pipe – the list is endless. I’d like to see somebody do any of those with a wimpy paper tissue.

I still carry a hankie. It’s come in handy on more than one occasion, but I digress.

Fortunately, most subjects were easy for me in school and I had to do little actual homework – just enough to get by and usually at the last minute. (Don’t tell my grandkids.) One subject was my nemesis, however: math. I did great in math until seventh grade when the “powers that be” decided to use my classmates across the state for an experiment in “new math.” We were the guinea pigs of our generation. It was one trial that flopped spectacularly and left me permanently crippled when it comes to math beyond the basics.

It was so bad in my case that my 10th grade math teacher finally, in exasperation, told me, “Your head is as empty as a schoolroom in July!” When it came to higher math, I had to agree. Fortunately for my children, when I decided to homeschool, I employed math tutors for that subject. All of those factors played into choosing to homeschool, along with a few others.

Today, there are many school choices which can help parents decide what is best for their children. But whatever you decide, there is no way around dealing with a certain amount of stress when it’s back to school time. I wrote an article several years ago about stress and the changes that the school schedule can bring. Here is an excerpt from that article that may help you as you and your family head into the new school year.

Pinpointing your unique stress points and talking through expectations can go a long way in helping you get through the back to school season with most of your sanity.

Here are a few handy tips to consider:

  1. Talk through your schedules and brainstorm solutions for potential conflicts and problems.
  2. Implement a new dinner and sleep schedule and nail down your breakfast and lunch-making routines.
  3. Don’t overschedule yourself or your kids. Playing two or three sports sounds like fun until you’re all exhausted and ill-tempered from lack of rest.
  4. Make sure your child has at least one “free” day a week with no scheduled afterschool activities or obligations. Everyone needs some down time, especially children.
  5. Give yourself time to relax too and schedule some time with your partner. Relationships often suffer during the busy school season.

Breakfast Made Easy

Bake biscuits, rolls or croissants, and split them in half. Add cooked sausage, egg, bacon or ham. Wrap individually with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator (or freezer). On busy school mornings, simply take out as many as needed, microwave till heated and you have a nutritious breakfast to take with you.

Tip: Make enough on the weekend to last the coming week. This saves tons of time and helps keep your stress level down.

by Tamra M. Bolton

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