The Perfect First Day of School

Pencils, spiral notebooks, crayons, three-prong folders in the colors of the rainbow — on sale now! It’s that time of year, time for back-to-school sales, tax-free weekends, and time to get in gear for the first day of school. Are you  ready? Are you excited? Are you scared?

I suppose that some homeschool moms have been ready for weeks, just waiting for the day they could tear July off their calendars and jump into another year. I loved homeschooling, but I was never one of those moms. I remember well the first year we homeschooled. Being such organized people who always plan way ahead and know exactly what they are having for dinner a week from Friday (not a chance!), we didn’t even decide we were going to homeschool that fall until sometime in August. Boy, how I scrambled to pull something together! I always thought September was a great time to start a homeschool year anyway. Let the public schools start in August or even in July; I liked the old-fashioned September tradition myself.

Many of us may have an idea of what we think a perfect first day of school would look like. It’s something we keep in our imaginations. We certainly don’t have any photographs of that day, because we just haven’t experienced it yet. In actuality, most of our first days of school have been far from perfect. Perhaps we didn’t hear the alarm or we forgot one of the supplies we needed for our craft or the science experiment didn’t work like the instructions said it would or the healthy muffin recipe we downloaded was definitely healthy but not so tasty. Perhaps Jimmy sat too close to Janie and Janie pushed him out of his chair. Maybe Jimmy forgot how to add fractions even though we spent hours and hours on that last spring. Maybe we got frustrated and let it show.

What do we do with our less than perfect days, whether they are the first day of school, a birthday, an anniversary, or our long-awaited trip to the zoo? Less than perfect days are perfect days to teach the things we didn’t plan, things like how to handle disappointment, how to laugh at ourselves, how to try again when we’ve messed something up. Isn’t every day we live a less than perfect day? Isn’t that why Jesus had to die for us? I say three cheers for less than perfect first days of school. After all, they’re the only kinds we have.

This is the day which the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24, NASB




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6 thoughts on “The Perfect First Day of School

  1. This one was written just for me! I am a huge planner, a type-A organizer to the hilt. I even have lists OF my lists! Excel spreadsheets are my best friend, and nothing revs my engine quite as much as knowing exactly what each of my children is going to do in each subject each day. And all of that would probably work out pretty well except for one little thing … LIFE inevitably happens. We all know what they say about “the best-laid plans of mice and men!” A little prayer that I found about 10 years ago has been very meaningful to me; I pray it every morning. “Lord, I give up all of my own plans and purposes, all of my own hopes and dreams, and I humbly accept your will for my life today. Empty me of myself and fill me with your Holy Spirit, send me wherever you will, do with me whatever you will. Work out your whole and perfect will in my life today, at any cost. Amen!” When I submit my plans to the Lord, He is able to make each day work out “perfectly” … even if the alarm doesn’t go off, the dinner is burned, and the children forgot how to do the math lesson I taught them yesterday. Praise God for redeeming my time!

  2. Love this:
    “Many of us may have an idea of what we think a perfect first day of school would look like. It’s something we keep in our imaginations. We certainly don’t have any photographs of that day, because we just haven’t experienced it yet.”

    I’m very reluctant, and a little tired thinking about this year for some reason. In the past I’ve been bursting with enthusiasm. I suspect the “less than perfect days” are at least part of the reason.

    Thanks, very much, for the encouragement.

  3. We school year round so I miss the first day of school enthusiasms. I miss the traditional excitement. Lately, I have been longing for a break….a new way of doing things. I am thinking I want to return to the old way of doing things, but I don’t want to stop in the middle of our work to start over. What to do????