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Back to School Preparation for All Ages


What to do to help prepare your child for the start of the new school year



back_to_school
Back to School Preparation for All Ages
July 2012

If you have children, late July, August, and early September represent more than summer ending, cooler weather, and fall foliage. School begins once again for millions of kids across the country. Getting your child prepared, regardless of whether they are in Kindergarten or a senior in high school, is a must. Here are some tips to make the transition from several weeks of summer fun to school days and homework easier.

Kindergarten – 5th grade

• About a week before school starts, have your children go to bed at the time they will when school begins. Set their alarm or wake them up early. Many young children need to be on a schedule and preparing a week or so earlier will pay off, especially if you have a night owl or late sleeper.

• If you have a school supply list, buy the supplies early. For the child who is not organized, this is a good way to begin the school year off on the right foot. Label everything and get the backpacks ready the night before school starts. Buy some extra supplies to keep at home if your child is one to lose or forget their pencils or markers at school.

• If you have a Kindergartener, walk to school two or three days before school begins (or drive if they take a bus or you will be driving them). This helps acquaint them with what they will actually be doing that first day and can work wonders for alleviating the first-day jitters. If your child is especially anxious, ask if you can let them visit their new classroom for five or ten minutes the day before school starts.

Middle School

• Many sixth graders will be attending a new school for their middle school years. Oftentimes, the campus is much bigger and can be intimidating. Of course pre-teens may not admit they are nervous, but most parents are. Suggest a bike ride over to the school sometime during August just to look around. Many middle schools conduct orientation anyway a couple of days before school actually begins, but an extra trip without all of their peers might be worthwhile.

• Just as in elementary school, it is important to have all the school supplies ready, especially an organizer. Get in the habit from day one of checking it and being sure homework assignments are recorded. Visit the school website and see if homework and grades will be posted on the site. This is an excellent way to stay involved with your child's progress throughout the year.

• If your student struggles with the basics, math or language arts, consider hiring a tutor for some review sessions before and during the first semester. Also, it is quite common in middle school for students who are excelling to be moved to Honors classes sometime during the year. Being in an accelerated class is a good way to prepare a student for Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school, which count as college credit.

High School

• Find out when the PSAT and SAT exams will take place. If your student is not a good test taker, consider enrolling them in a test prep class. One can take the exam more than once if they are not happy with the score, so plan ahead and register early.

• Stay tuned in to your student's school and social schedule. Establish a curfew for school nights and limit the amount of time that is spent at a part-time job or involved in sports, especially if time management and study skills are not your child's forte.

• If your son or daughter is college-bound, start doing your research and be sure to attend the college nights that many high schools sponsor. Know what is expected on college applications. It is no longer a simple process like it was for the baby boomer generation.

These tips can help your children get back to school the right way and prepare them for a year of learning and fun.

Laurie Hurley is an educational consultant and mentor to small business owners.

Tags: Education, In This Issue

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