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  • Writer's pictureJonda Beattie

Back to School Basics

It just doesn’t seem possible that the new school year is already here. However, like it or not, school is about to begin again. Everyone wants this new year to be as good of an experience as possible.

Here are some tips to make this vision happen:

  1. Set the stage for a great experience.

  2. Watch your attitude. As parents you have a strong influence on how your child views the upcoming year. Don’t express doubts or worries you might have (I know that 3rd grade is tough.) but instead play up the positives (I understand there is a unit on dinosaurs this year.).

  3. Take away the fear of the unknown. Visit the school together before school starts, talk about the schedule and the teacher in positive terms.

  4. Provide a good example. Let your student see you enjoy reading or studying. Take trips together to a museum or science center.

  5. Allow time for morning routines. Give extra time in the mornings to get ready. This is easier if bedtime is also earlier.

  6. Teach your child to be self-sufficient. Have him do chores at home, develop checklists, have him lay out clothes and pack up for school the night before.

2. Develop good study habits.

  1. Know peak work times and use them when scheduling homework.

  2. Set up a calendar showing the study schedule.

  3. Chunk up big projects so that the projects are not so overwhelming and so that your student can say “done” more often.

  4. Use the calendar to show all commitments so you child is aware when he has after school activities, doctor appointments, music lessons and can then plan his studies and projects without setbacks.

3. Organize school materials.

  1. Obtain and use a planner. The planner should be checked every morning and evening.

  2. Synch the planner with the calendar.

  3. Organize notebooks, folders, and binders so that they are easy to use and find. Color coding for different subjects helps.

  4. Organize and minimize study supplies so that they are easy to carry to school and to use at home. Check with the school supply list. Avoid buying “fun” items that are a distraction to learning.

  5. Choose the best backpack for you child. Check to see if the school has any restrictions before purchasing.

  6. Set up a file at home for all returned and graded school papers. Keep all papers until grades come out. If the grade lines up with what you have, then purge most of them only keeping the ones that show growth and creativity.

5. Individualize study to suit your child.

  1. Know your child’s learning style. Is he a visual, auditory, tactile, or kinesthetic learner? Use his strengths to help him learn new material.

  2. Make learning real. Use new skills in real life settings. Use math to shop or cook. Use reading to follow directions or enjoy a funny story. Use writing to make lists or write a letter.

  3. Set up the best study environment for your child. Discover if he works best alone and with quiet or in the hubbub of the kitchen area where others are present.

For fun, start a “back to school” family tradition. Have a cookout before the first day of school or take a trip to a favorite place to eat where the children can order what they want. Talk about the joys and excitement of the upcoming school year. Have a surprise wrapped up for the children to open when they come home from school after the first day.

Let this be the best year ever!

Jonda S. Beattie Professional Organizer

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