Our resident teacher, Emilie Blanton, who blogs over at Teaching Ain't for Heroes, answers the summer-old question, how do we prepare our kids for another year at school after a few months of a totally different (in some cases) schedule?
Parents are rejoicing across the nation as the new school year approaches. Some of our southern friends are already back in session! Somehow summer always seems so long until you're staring at the calendar wondering how the first day of school approached so quickly. What can you do to help your children begin the new year well?
First, try to get them waking up a little earlier. This isn't a problem with my children who seem to think 5 a.m. is an appropriate time to start the day, but if you have older kids who have started the magical sleeping in, see if you can give them at least a few days adjustment before the harsh reality of getting ready for school is upon them. It might help you get back in the swing, too. Some schools start early and parents might have gotten used to sleeping in a little later as well.
If this year is your child's first year of school or their first year in a new building, try to get them there before the first day. Some schools have Meet The Teacher days or orientation. However, if you're like me, these actually conflict with your work schedule. If that's the case, call up to school some time when you are free and see if you can at least get your child into some common areas like the cafeteria or the main entrance at least. Sometimes it helps that the building isn't some great unknown. If you can't swing that, some pictures from the school website are better than nothing.
Try to call school before orientation or the first day to ask about fees that you might not know existed. While everyone is guaranteed a public education, it's not actually free. Some school related fees can run in the hundred and parents can be surprised by this reality. Do you qualify for fee waiver or free/reduced lunch? Now is a good time to find out if you haven't already. If you don't know, ask. It's better to be told no than to qualify and never get the assistance. School related expenses can be much more costly than people realize.
Don't forget the practice some simple school related activities. Don't bog your child down with "Now it's HOMEWORK TIME!" but try to integrate some reading or writing into your day. Most students experience at least a little Summer Slide. Getting them back in the swing of school related skills can help your child avoid playing catch up for the first few weeks. It can also save them from the horrible hand pain of the first day of school that I've discussed before.
Brace yourself! The school year is almost here!