It’s back to school time across the country! As we face unique challenges this school year, between distance learning or hybrid schedules, it’s more important than ever that we take the time to prepare our students to go back into the school mindset refreshed and focused so that they can prosper throughout the year. Here are some of our ways to get your home, your kids, and yourself ready for going back to school.
Especially with the addition of distance learning for some students, more kids will need a clean and clutter-free room — or at least one as clean and clutter-free as possible. Not only will this look good during Zoom class calls, but it will mean your student’s space will be less of a distraction when they’re doing homework and studying.
Having structure is key in helping your students stay on top of their work and avoid unnecessary stress. Set up a calendar in a part of the house everyone has access to, or even an online calendar app, and keep everyone up to date on everything from assignments and due dates to what’s on the menu for the week. (This also will help you prep grocery trips!) You can also set up an “inbox” for items you have to review or sign.
Give your student a key to success by having a space set aside for them to work on their projects. If you have more than one school-aged child, you might also consider what the needs of each one will be: do they need individual study spaces, or can they share one; will they be a distraction for the other; should the study space be in a monitored area to ensure there are no opportunities to lose focus, or are they able to work independently? Take the time to really prepare a space (or spaces) that can be well-utilized by your student to get the most out of their at-home study time.
Get essential food for them to make sure growling stomachs don’t distract from their schoolwork! For at-home learners, make sure your home is stocked with readily available healthy snacks and meals that won’t bog them down throughout the day. If they’re heading to class, have lunches prepared with healthy, energizing food to ensure they don’t crash before their next class.
Schools will usually send out a list of required and recommended materials for students based on grade level, which can be a great starting point when shopping for new supplies, but also keep in mind that what might be best for you student might differ. If they’re often misplacing things, a binder that allows them to put in notes from each class might work better than individual notebooks for each class. Have supply packs of spare pens, pencils, and other essentials handy in the car or to keep in their locker if they leave anything at home. Before buying any new clothing, have your student go through their wardrobe and separate out things they’ve outgrown or don’t want. Be sure to let your kids know the importance of having clothes be ready for the wash so they won’t “have nothing to wear,” especially now when we should be washing clothes more regularly.
Part of ensuring your student is ready for success is getting them in the school mindset, especially if they’re learning at home. Simulate the school day to either prepare them for getting back in a classroom or to make sure distance learners can stay focused on school, during school. Alarms are your best friend, from making sure they’re up on time, getting ready quickly so they won’t be late, and are getting to bed at a time that sustains the schedule. When you’re setting the school day schedule, don’t forget periodic breaks for snacks, stretching, and looking away from a monitor!
How do you get your home and student ready for the school year? Leave your tips in the comments section!