School’s in Session: But Should It Be?

It’s the season of our content. Parents everywhere find a moment of Zen as our children go back into the classroom to learn, socialize, and grow their brains so hopefully, at some moment they leave our homes and go do big things in the world. It’s Back to School Season.

I’ve always found it interesting that I don’t live in a realm where school goes back after Labor Day. I lived in Illinois for years (without children) and the portion of the state I lived in went back before Labor Day. The same is true for my time in Missouri and Ohio. Yet, each year I hear about these spaces and places where kids get to continue to experience the magic of summer up until the moment early September hits.

Is it AC in schools that led us to a place where we’re going back earlier? Is it the fact that few Boards of Education want to push their educational instruction into June? Or something else? And I won’t even mention year-round school here (which some of you reading this take part in.) Isn’t there a way to embrace the summer season in a way that benefits our kids straight up until we turn the page to September?

Some reports say roughly 25% of U.S. schools go back to class after Labor Day. A article reported on a survey just last year that was commissioned by the Ohio Travel Association.

“The survey found that 71 percent of voters said schools shouldn’t start before the end of August. Among the reasons why: High temperatures in August that make learning difficult. And businesses have argued starting school later would be a boost for the summer travel industry.”

September is instead the time of year where instead we are settling into our school routine in Ohio. And in that regard, I offer some advice as a post-COVID parent of elementary and junior high school students who isn’t quite ready for the summer to end… yet.

  1. If your kids have phones, check their phones nightly. Force an early shutdown so you can take a look at it. Make it a routine. Give it a thorough scrub down even though your eyes might be seething every evening before you go to bed. When these kids are back in school their friendships fire back up again amid emotion and energies running high and low and it can get nasty. Truth be told, one of my son’s “best friends” sent him a nastygram out of nowhere the other day and it took us three days to figure out what was going on. I’m sure the kid was tired, but there’s no reason for him to be profane- and buddy, your parents need to hear about it to make sure they’re raising a young man who goes places.
  2. If your kids are cranky, don’t be a dysregulated person and yell at them when they don’t listen to your instruction the first time. They’re overwhelmed and probably getting up at a new hour, while at the same time excited about the prospect of all the new shiny toys and books that come with the school year. There is a woman on Instagram who I think is fabulous about dysregulation and parents, I highly suggest checking out Dr. Brooke.
  3. And if your kids need homework help, and who doesn’t, determine what services in your community are low-to-no cost for quick turnaround help. I know they’re out there. In my backyard, we’re fortunate to have the Columbus Metropolitan Library School Help Centers. This isn’t our 1988 homework help. In a world where homework sometimes doesn’t exist, they have worksheets to give to kids in a multitude of areas. And college and high school brainiacs are volunteering to help with heavy subjects like math. Did I mention it was free? In our area, it is.

Save your family’s sanity by just changing a few things on your end in the next few weeks and I promise, you’ll be less frustrated and set yourself up for an even better school year.

And if you have a friend that’s an empty nester, like I do, make sure you’re checking on them and encouraging them to try something new and make some plans. It’s critical for moving into the college year on the right foot too. I host a radio show with said friend and we just produced a really great radio segment with experts on this subject, right here.

Happy school year, y’all! And maybe at some point, we’ll get that Labor Day wish.