SummaryAmanda Evinger, shares five proven tips on how to help the family prepare spiritually for the new school year and keep it all centered on Jesus Christ.
Recently, we took our kids on a trip to Theodore Roosevelt National Park and enjoyed the Medora Musical. In preparation, I spent plenty of time packing for our little adventure.
The adventure was a ball, but I can only imagine how disastrous it would have been if we hadn’t secured some important travel details beforehand or packed our bags with at least the basic necessities.
I can just envision it now—super cranky, cold, hungry, semi-dehydrated children, suffering from relentless boredom (if I hadn’t packed some car games and books, that is), longing for even just one morsel of a granola bar (at least), and the worst of it all—unrecollected, self-absorbed children without rosaries or prayer books on hand!
With this observation in mind as I approach the new school year, I feel I can safely make a subsequent one.
Just as making intelligent trip plans and packing the right things ahead of time can make or break a vacation, so can lesson planning and prayerful spiritual preparation make or break a school year.
In my opinion, the golden key to a successful school year is not only practical academic preparation, but also a good dose of heartfelt prayer.
In light of this, here are a few suggestions to keep your school year centered on Jesus Christ and our sacred Faith.
1. Consecration to the Sacret Heart.
Consider consecrating (or re-consecrating) your family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, or even doing the Consecration to Jesus through Mary by St. Louis de Montfort, with the intention of successful school year.
There is also an enlightening Preparation for Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary for Families written by the Apostolate for Family Consecration that may help you kick-start your school year with the right attitude.
2. Ask St. Martha for help in simplifying your plans for the upcoming year.
Were you way too busy to pray well last year? If so, what can give? Are there some things that can be done at home so you don’t have to go out so much (like online shopping)? Are all of the extracurricular activities your kids are involved in really helping them meet their goals in life?
3. Consider making a retreat before beginning the school year.
For some parents, this may simply mean sneaking away to make a Holy Hour of Adoration alone. Others may be able to get away for a day or two and visit a nearby monastery, or go on a mother’s or father’s retreat at a local parish.
Parents may even want to encourage their children to take time to make their own sort of retreat before beginning their school year.
Just as Jesus prayed in solitude before beginning His mission, so we must walk in His footsteps and found our educational mission on prayer.
4. Stock up on some great books to help you stay connected to the Lord throughout the year.
Daily devotionals such as the A Year With… books by St. Benedict’s Press, Small Steps for Catholic Moms by Bean and Foss, or Grace Cafe by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle are perfect for busy homeschooling parents who need to slip meditations in the cracks of their day.
By having daily entries, they can help an overloaded parent make sure they are still making time for spiritual reading every day. Homeschooling books such as SEM’s Planting the Seeds of Faith, Marianna Bartold’s Keeping it Catholic, and Kimberly Hahn’s Homeward Bound are also helpful to keep a parent smiling along the all-too-often arduous daily homeschooling journey. Pamper yourself and stock up on the books you’ve been eying—you deserve to be inspired!
5. Fine-tune your morning devotional schedule and make concrete prayer commitments for your homeschool day.
My suggestion is to write out your individual morning prayer goals and routine, as well as which prayers and spiritual aids you hope to incorporate into your school day. After a few months, check and see if you are meeting your goals, and if they need to be changed in any way.
Many parents like to begin school with basic prayers, the recitation of the Ten Commandments and the Pledge of Allegiance, as well as a beautiful snippet of a Saint story for the day.
In the end, however you decide to prepare your heart and soul for the coming school year, remember one thing: the love of God.
God’s love is always ready to carry us through the ups and downs of life, no matter what they may bring. As homeschoolers, we can be confident of His omnipotence.
He is definitely on our side, crafting the marvelous work of our home school—as long as we let Him do so. He is longing to enrich us and our children in more ways than we can fathom!
Keep the faith, and don’t forget to pack your spiritual bags for the new school year!