Back to School – Have a Plan
It’s hard to believe that here in Georgia where temps are up into the 90’s that the new school year is about to start. Schools are opening the first week in August. So, even though it feels like summer, make a plan to have the transition into this school year the best one yet!
Set the stage.
Have a positive attitude. Don’t go on about how hot it is and how you can’t believe they are starting school. Don’t express any worry or doubts you might have (I know that third grade is tough) but play up the positives (I understand they are teaching a unit on space study this year).
Take away the fear of the unknown. If your child is going to a new school, visit it ahead of time. Find out schedules and the teachers names and talk it up in positive terms.
Teach by example. Let your child see you enjoy reading, learning, and enjoying new experiences like art exhibits, concerts, or museums.
Allow time for morning routines. Plan for extra time in the mornings to get ready. This is easier if bedtime is also earlier.
Encourage your child to be self-sufficient. Have him do chores at home, develop checklists, have him prepare his clothes and backpack before going to bed.
2. Develop good study habits.
Set aside a designated study area.
Plan the best times for schoolwork. Know his peak times and his schedule.
Have a calendar in place to show special activities, appointments, and study times.
Chunk up big projects so they are not so overwhelming and so your student can say “done” more often.
3. Organize school materials.
Obtain and use a planner. In the beginning check the planner with your student every evening and morning. Then encourage your child to do this on his own.
Synch the planner with the calendar.
Organize notebooks, folders, and binders so they are easy to use and find. Color coding for different subjects helps.
Organize and minimize study supplies so they are easy to carry to school and use at home. Check the school supply list. Avoid buying “fun” items that are a distraction.
Choose the best backpack for your child. Check if the school has any restrictions before buying.
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 the papers only keeping ones that show growth or creativity.
4. Individualize study to suit your child.
Know your child’s learning style. Is he a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner? Use his strengths to help him learn new material.
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.
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 where others are around.
For fun, start a “back to school” family tradition. Have a cookout before the first day of school or have a trip to a favorite restaurant or ice cream shop. Talk about the fun and excitement of the upcoming school year. Have a surprise wrapped up for the children to open when they come home from school on the first day.
Let this be the best year ever!
Jonda S. Beattie Professional Organizer