It’s almost that time of year again. By now you are seeing the “Back To School” signs all over the place. The last vacations are in motion and the reality of school is setting back into the minds of your children. They know summer is almost over.
How do you get your child prepared to hit the ground running? This article explores ideas to prepare your child for the academic school year without overwhelming them.
1. Create a fall master schedule. Take a look at all pre-scheduled family events that will be occurring in the fall. This includes activities such as:
- After school extra curricular activities (sports practices, lessons, tutoring, boy/girl scouts,etc)
- Weekend activities (games, tournaments, camping, family outings, etc)
- Holiday gatherings
All of these events are important to place on the family calendar because they take away from time for studying and project completion. The further you plan these events in advance, the better you will be able to help your child plan accordingly.
A good way to keep up with your family activities is to use an app. One app to consider is Cozi for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. Our family uses the iCal app on the iPhone to share family events between calendars. Google Calendar is another way to keep everyone on the same page.
After a master schedule is completed, post weekly events in your child's bedroom so they can be easily seen. Color code events so they can be easily identifiable.
Here’s an idea for a homework reminder center. Notice there is a clip for permission slips, flyers, and other important papers as well as daily and monthly calendars.
2. Begin to gradually wind down the summer routines. As you get closer to the start of the school year, begin to get your kids back on to a school schedule. This means going to bed and waking up earlier. This is especially true if your child has been going to bed significantly later than they would during the school year.
3. Evaluate and establish evening and morning routines. Time management is absolutely critical to success during the school year. Identify routines that you can tighten up before school starts. These include:
- Laying out your clothes the night before (and ironing if necessary)
- Making lunches/placing lunch money in a designated place the night before.
- Showering/bathing the night before.
- Placing all necessary school work in backpacks the night before (including homework, assignments, and projects)
- Determine ONE designated place for items your child will need for the day. This will save time when preparing to walk out the door in the morning.
4. Identify study locations and habits that are most conducive to learning. Is there a TV on or music that can easily distract your child? Does social media distract them from doing their work in a timely manner? Make a list of patterns and habits that may possibly hinder your child's ability to stay on task and adjust as necessary. If their study locations needs to be changed, change it. Make sure there is adequate lighting in the study location. Have a discussion with your children to make sure they understand the plan.
5. Stock up on school supplies. Make a list of supplies that seem to magically disappear frequently throughout the year. These will come in handy as the initial supplies are depleted throughout the semester.
They say that reading is fundamental. It’s cliche but true. Many schools have required summer reading assignments that must be completed before the beginning of the school year. Sit down with your child and make sure he/she understands what the assignment entails. In many circumstances, there is also a writing portion to the assignment as well. Make sure each step of the assignment has been completed with excellence. Don’t allow your child to turn in sub-par work. There is still sufficient time to get it done.
If your child does not have a summer reading assignment you can assign one. Have them pick a topic of interest and begin to read more about it. To develop their writing skills they should write a summary (1-2 pages max) of what they read.
Math is a mixed bag with students. They love it or hate it. Either way, math is a critical subject to learn. Here are some tips to help your child get back in the mathematical groove.
- Review standardized tests - Most likely, your child took some type of standardized test (STAAR, ERB, SAT, etc) last spring. Look for areas of strength and weakness. These are easily identifiable by looking at the portion of the test that had the fewest number of answers correct. These represent the areas where there are the greatest opportunities for growth.
- Websites and apps - There are countless websites and apps that can help your child to learn in various ways. For a traditional approach to learning, try khanacademy.org. Also,Student Guide is a website that will connect you with a plethora of math resources you can use.
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