TOP TIPS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL
Life gets hectic when children go back to school. A new year brings new classes, new teachers, and new opportunities and challenges. Make the most of the transition to a new academic year with these tips.
- Master Your Family Schedule
Take control of your time by keeping everyone’s schedule on a single calendar. For many families, a large dry-erase board calendar with squares for each day of the month is ideal for keeping track of multiple people with music lessons, sports, religious activities, and jobs. Use a different color of marker for each person in the household.
A smart phone calendar app is also a great option for highly mobile families. Look up anyone’s location as needed and even set alarms to remind you of pick-up times.
- Master Your Study Space
A place to study at home should have some basic features:
- Adequate lighting
- Space for writing
- Storage for supplies
There are many options for meeting those needs. A separate desk for each student is one way. A table also works if you add some containers for pencils, extra paper, and special tools such as rulers and calculators. If a student prefers a comfy chair, get a lap desk for them – one with a top that lifts to access storage for a notebook and pencils.
- Master Technology
Set rules for your family about when cell phone, television, and game system use is appropriate and when technology needs to be turned off. Medical professionals warn that excessive exposure to screens (screen time) can cause sleeping problems, so make sure any blue light devices are not used within an hour or two of bedtime. Some families have children return phones to a central charging location in the evening. This avoids lost phones and gives parents an opportunity to check for inappropriate text messages or unsavory apps on kids’ devices.
- Master Social Skills
With so many accounts of bullying in the news, be sure to talk with your kids about treating others with respect (students and teachers) as well as expecting appropriate behavior from others. They should know before anything happens:
- Where/to whom they should go if anyone or anything seems unsafe
- How to stand up for a person being shunned or bullied
- How to speak kindly and include others at lunch and recess
This is a great time to speak with them about what your family values and why.
- Master Language Arts
If there are concerns about a child’s reading or writing skills, one of the best solutions involves good books. Children who read quality literature develop a love for reading. Readers develop larger, more complex vocabularies and understand more complex grammar and syntax. Good writers are invariably good readers. Let kids read at their level and read books to them that are beyond their reading skills. Children can understand far more than they can decode at younger ages! A chapter each evening after supper can be a great way for families to share a great story. Here are some suggestions:
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
- The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
- Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Master Mathematics
Math skills are cumulative; each skill builds on the ones learned earlier. Unlike history or literature, which can be studied out of order, e.g. modern era, then ancient history, math is sequential. Work on areas where your child struggles so they can have a firm foundation for later skills.
Check out www.ipracticemath.com for worksheets and other practice tools organized by grade level and by topic. Whether you need drill on integers, multiplication facts, or high school math, you can find help here.
Here’s to a productive and pleasant year of learning for everyone in your family! Mastery is within your grasp.