School is starting across the country. Whether you’re a homeschooler, grade schooler, high schooler, or college student, it’s important to start on the right foot. Teachers and homeschooling parents need all the help they can get, and getting organized with your student is the best way to have a successful school year. So how exactly¬†do you have a successful school year? Oftentimes, like New Year’s resolutions, our school year plans fall by the wayside, and we’re picking up the pieces and scrambling to make ends meet in the spring.

As a student who has been through private and public school, college, and graduate classes, and now homeschooling my own elementary-aged children, I have some tips. They’re not just for students, though. Since we’re all students of life and living, employees, leaders, and citizens, we can all brush up on some ideas for a successful year. Let’s do it together.

  1. Start Fresh
    Don’t fall into the same rut, same routine, same clique as always. If you want to do something differently, now is the time! Choosing to do something differently is refreshing, helpful, and great for those around you as well.
  2. Set Manageable Goals and Keep Them
    Make a goal that is easy to keep, then celebrate the victories! If you have a heavy class load, set a goal to get homework done on time. Your goal may be to get something not-school-related done. An interesting goal I had as a teacher was to learn all of my student’s names by the end of the first week. Set and meet manageable goals and then reward yourself with something small.
  3. Keep a Morning Routine
    Whether it’s a special wake-up song on the iPod, an inspirational video while you brush your teeth, a healthy breakfast sitting with the family, or picking out clothes and styling your hair and make-up, a morning routine can be a game-changer. If your routine includes taking out and organizing everything in your book bag, you’ll never forget your homework or textbook. If your routine includes a meal with your family, you’ll be able to start the day with those you love. Including prayer and devotion as part of your morning routine is a great way to start with a positive and uplifting moment and stay focused throughout the day.
  4. Start With Prayer
    We often have bedtime prayers, but how important it is to start the day with God’s presence. If you’re not ready to jump into the Bible, you can use the YouVersion Bible App or find a great devotional book or study at your local ABC store or Adventist Book Center Online. My favorite devotionals are those that apply directly to my life, and there are a lot out there that will fit what you need as well!
  5. Prepare for Tomorrow
    You don’t have to stress and go nuts over planning, but preparing for the next day is a great nightly routine that helps people sleep better and be better prepared and less anxious about tomorrow. This may include putting your school stuff next to the door, packing your lunch, choosing your clothes, and planning your breakfast. You can get the whole family involved if you want!
  6. Take Notes
    Many schools are handing out planners at the beginning of each school year. If you don’t have a planner for yourself, your students, and your family, this can make all the difference! Keep homework, projects, library due dates, school and work deadlines, events, and more in a handy calendar that can keep you organized and on track. There are awesome ways to track time, moods, inspiration, and responsibilities in organizers such as bullet journals, wall calendars, electronic devices, and good ol’ pen and paper. Journal at bedtime, take notes in class, keep yourself accountable and help your memory by taking notes!
  7. Find Your Comfortable Space
    If the teacher doesn’t have a specified seating arrangement, find a place to sit and try to sit there in every class. This takes the guess work out of who you’re sitting by (and visiting with) and where you’ll sit tomorrow. Bonus: if you sit up front you’ll generally make better grades and your teacher will learn your name faster.
  8. Pray
    Pray for your family, those going to work, those going to school, and those staying home. Pray for your teachers, administrators, leaders, and school resource officers. If you can’t remember to during morning or nightly prayers, you can jot it onto the front or inside of your classroom notebooks or folders so that you remember to pray for each teacher. Your teachers don’t expect you to pray for them, and it will be a great way to bless them all year long!

Above all, have fun, focus, and work. This year will fly by, and all the time you spend in school will fly by. The habits and successes you have in school will follow you throughout your adult life. Make it work, and keep up the good work.