Does “Back-to-School” Mean This for Your Family?


My husband made this announcement the other day while we were at a restaurant eating pizza with the kids. He said, “Kids, it’s back to school time, and we are going to use this time to ‘begin again’.”

My jaw dropped. We didn’t even discuss this. Usually this conversation with the kids starts with me yapping to him in private to help me, followed by, just me yapping at the kids.

I am not sure what brought about this change in his involvement here. It was either that after all these years of me doing it, he finally saw the wisdom in using the back-to-school time as a let’s-refocus-and start-again time, or because I wasn’t “yapping” at him to help with the kids, he felt free to jump in and help with the process. Probably the latter. After almost 30 years of marriage, I am beginning to figure out this relationship thing.

Well, whatever the change, I’m thankful for full support.

In summer, our vacation attitude spills over into all areas of our lives. You would think that since we all had a little more free time that we would have a cleaner house, our summer reading finished, and more frequent prayer time. This isn’t the case. We all just get a little lazier. More Redbox and Netflix. More pizza at restaurants. Perhaps this is all good and part of the rhythm of life—but after two months of this, my Martha-like temperament can take no more.

It’s back-to-school time!

One of the changes my husband was proposing was a 9:00 PM electronic shutdown. That means no phones, no TV, no computer–unless you really have homework that isn’t done–no YouTube, and especially no video games. Our house is dominated by teens, so for us this is big. Also, no one ever goes to bed before 10 PM in our house, not even the pre-schooler. This will be a challenge for many of us, but who knows? We may see earlier bedtimes and better grades!

I wrote an article for CatholicMom in 2010 about how much I loved back-to-school time.  What’s funny is that I could just reprint that article. After 6 years, I feel the same way! I love everything about going back to school. I love the new school supplies! I love the regularity of a schedule! And I mostly love the chance for a “begin again.” Some of the same changes I was making back then, I was planning on making now. Here are a few:

  • New chores. With still another kid out of the house going to college this year, we need to change our assigned chores. I have fewer kids at home, so hopefully that will mean less messes. It also means that we have fewer kids to do the chores. I am sure it all balances out; at least that is what I tell the remaining kids at home.
  • Better enforcement of the rules that we have. “Don’t leave your stuff in the kitchen.” / “Put your dishes in the dishwasher.” /“Put your shoes in the mudroom.” / “Don’t eat in the family room.” / “Don’t put your stuff there, either.”
  • Regular dinners.
  • Family prayer. For us this means: at dinner (including celebrating some feast days), short prayer before bed, and a rosary on Sunday evening.

Have you found back-to-school time a great time to start again? What are your back-to-school resolutions for your family?

Copyright 2016 Tami Kiser


About Author

Tami is the author Smart Martha's Catholic Guide for Busy Moms and the founder of She lives in Greenville, SC with her husband of 29 years.  She has 10 children:  8 boys and 2 girls ranging in age from 27 to 4. She also has 5 grandchildren.   Tami runs the Smart Martha ministry,, the, and teaches dance classes.  Thinking like a Smart Martha has helped her to constantly seek to “sit at Christ’s feet” even in the midst of piles of laundry and sinks of dirty dishes. Visit Tami at


  1. Catherine Annulis on

    Back to School is always the hardest time of the year for me. With over ten weeks of having everyone at home having fun together it is difficult to say goodbye to those lazy easy breezy days of summer.

    • You are right–reality has hit me on this second day of our school–I have to get up out of bed AND begin driving everywhere for everyone’s schedules. Maybe another month of summer wouldn’t be so bad. . .

  2. As a former teacher, I still love back to school time. I even get giddy when shopping for school supplies and never get any sleep the night before the first day. I appreciate your phrase “Martha temperament.” I also like to call it the nesting phase of the fall as I put up vegetables from the garden, collect apples in our mini orchard and begin yard clean up. This summer in particular was very hot so my longing for school days and the fall is in full swing. Thank you for your article. Glad to know I’m in good company. God Bless.

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