It’s hard to believe in all the heat here in Georgia it is time for regular school sessions to begin. Our state has multiple beginning school dates and regulations, according to county guidelines.
I know that in DeKalb County the first day of school for the students is on August 6 and masks are mandated on the busses and in the school building. There is a choice of enrolling in a virtual learning option but once that choice is made it is a semester-long commitment. The child’s regular assigned schoolteacher would not be the teacher for this option.
It doesn’t matter if you choose one of the public-school offerings, a private school, or home schooling. Whatever you chose, make a plan!
1. Play up the positives. Have conversations with your children about what they have to look forward to in the upcoming year. While it is certainly appropriate to talk about safety in the school, keep the discussion positive and not fearful. Look up the curriculum and remark on units of study that you know your child will enjoy (I understand there will be a unit on space and planets this year).
2. Teach by example. Let your children see you enjoy reading, learning, and enjoying new experiences like a trip to the Botanical Gardens.
3. Set up the school day schedule. The summer schedule has probably been more relaxed. About a week before school starts get in the habit of waking earlier, allowing time to get dressed and eat a breakfast. Think about earlier bedtimes. Schedule times for homework and study.
4. Prepare a work/study area. Set up a place in the home for your children to do their schoolwork. It can be in the kitchen, a den, or the child’s room. Know what works best for your children and then be consistent. Gather the school supplies and containerize them. Keep school supplies to a minimum. Avoid buying “fun” items that are a distraction. Obtain a school calendar and planner. Synch the calendar and planner. Set up files for projects and returned graded schoolwork.
5. Set up an information file or notebook for each child. This file is for all the paperwork that comes to the parent from the school. File in this folder general information such as the school calendar, school hours, rules, fees, any team sports available, contact information, PTA news.
6. Encourage your children to be self-sufficient. Have them do chores at home. Have them prepare their clothes the night before including laying out a favorite face mask. Have them lay out all their school supplies and if applicable pack their backpack. At first you will want to monitor their homework and planners but as the children become more self-sufficient you can start to wean off the monitoring from daily to weekly to just occasionally.
Just for fun, start a “back to school” tradition. Have a cookout before the first day of school or go to a favorite restaurant or ice cream shop. Talk about the fun and excitement of the upcoming school year. Have a small surprise wrapped up for the children to open after the first day.
Let this school year be the best and most productive ever!
If you want help or just some assistance in developing a back to school plan, setting up a study area, or working any organizational plan either outside or inside your home, join Diane Quintana and me on our Clear Space For You clutter support group.
Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, award-winning author, as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients tackle the toughest organizational issues. Jonda does hands on organizing and virtual organizing. For more of Jonda’s tips connect with her on Facebook