Evaluating the School Year


We're 6 1/2 days away from the end of the school year, and there's not a person in this house who is not ready for the school year to end. I think even the dog is ready for summer.

It's been a long school year around here. With my older daughter in middle school and my younger one struggling with a crowded classroom of challenging kids, we've spent a lot of time this year soothing worries, drying tears and simply giving our girls enough encouragement to get through the day. Some days we were successful; some days we weren't. But we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's just around the corner.

As we get ready for summer, I'm spending some time evaluating our school year, wondering what we could have changed and what we want to do the same next year. The end of the school year is a great time to sit down with your kids and talk with them about the things they have learned this year -- not just academically but socially, emotionally and spiritually as well. Talk with them about what they felt worked this year and what they felt they want to change for next year.

Evaluating the year is important for two reasons. 1) It creates some closure on the school year, and 2) it gives you a starting point for next year. I already know that we'll be making some changes in how we address things with both girls -- and they may not be the same changes for each kid. Each child is different, so our approach needs to be different.

I want to encourage you to take some time to take a look back on the school year. Focus on things your kids did well. Talk about places where they can improve. Give them some encouragement and feedback on how you think their year went. Encourage them to give you feedback on how the things you did during the school year affected them.

We can only get better at parenting our kids if we take some time to evaluate what we're doing and why we're doing it. Check in with your kids, and check in with God. Spend some time praying about your school year. Ask God to point out areas where you need to rely on Him more or change the way your interacting with your kids. God cares about you, and He cares about your kids. He's available to offer you wisdom and strength to make some changes if you need to. Trust Him to show you the path you need to take next year.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." That includes submitting our school year to Him. He will guide us to make good choices for our kids. We just have to trust Him -- even if when we evaluate the year we find drastic changes need to be made.

Before you dive into summer, take some time to evaluate your year. Your next school year will be better for it.