Over the next three weeks, more than 80,000 students will return to the 265 Catholic schools in Texas to start the 2015-2016 academic calendar. Anxiety tends to run high for both children and their parents at the beginning of every school year. However, the Texas Catholic Conference Department of Education has a few simple tips to help reduce that stress level.
The first piece of advice may seem obvious, but it is often overlooked. Check the website for your Catholic school, as well as the one for the Catholic schools office of your local arch/diocese (You’ll find a complete list athttp://bit.ly/1ONU9FA) to locate current information on school supply lists, uniform requirements, activity calendars, student/parent handbooks, and other pertinent material.
School websites can also provide the most up-to-date immunization requirements for both new and returning students. Every student enrolled in Texas Catholic Schoolsmustbe immunized in accordance with the immunization schedule adopted by the Texas Department of State Health Services, accessible athttp://bit.ly/1hhVmu8.A student who fails to present the required documentation shall not be accepted for enrollment.The only exception to the foregoing requirement is a medical exemption signed by a licensed physician (M.D. or D.O.) authorized to practice in the State of Texas.
Back to school shopping can take a heavy toll on the family budget, but there are some effective ways to save a few dollars. Try to get the school supplies list early and determine what material you already have on hand. Every item does not need to be new. Anything you can find is essentially a freebie and adds to your savings. Also, avoid impulse shopping. Have a conversation with your child before leaving home — not in the store — to set the buying agenda in advance. Children are natural consumers and can be strongly influenced by marketing pressures, so establish their expectations before you start shopping. Once you hit the stores, make your purchases from a list and stick to a predetermined budget.
Another big challenge at the beginning of every school year is transitioning a child’s sleep schedule. During summer break, bedtime routines often shift by staying up later and sleeping longer in the morning. A few weeks prior to the start of school, begin to have children go to bed at a designated time and wake earlier in the morning. If they fight this new routine, allow them to read in bed to ease the transition.
Finally, do not let the craziness of the school year distract from your child’s spiritual growth. Continue to pray daily with children and for their teachers, classmates, and any academic needs. Offering these intentions will focus students on the importance of their school family, ease anxieties, and help both children and their parents grow in holiness. As Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Patron Saint of Catholic schools, prayerfully asked the Lord, “Grant me a penetrating mind to understand, a retentive memory, method and ease in learning, the lucidity to comprehend, and abundant grace in expressing myself. Amen.”