For my family, the first day of school is quickly approaching. I typically start our homeschool year on August 1st. That's earlier than most of our homeschooling friends and lends for a short summer break, but because here in North Carolina we must have 180 days of school, it's important we start early because we do travel quite a bit as a family and I can't always count all those travel days as school days.
All children - not just my own - need to have a smooth transition back to school. Abrupt change is hard even for the most flexible of people and that is why we need to prepare our kids emotionally, as well as academically, for the start of classes.
Here are some tips for preparing your kids for the start of school:
- Take the time to actually talk about the start of school and why their education is so important to you and your family.
- Don't forget to tell your child how proud you are of all the progress that he or she has made over the last year. Be specific and list a few of their accomplishments. Ask your child what he or she is proudest of - you might be surprised!
- Talk about goals for the school year. Ask your child what he or she hopes to learn or what skills they'd like to develop. Write it all down and post your goals on the fridge or some place where everyone will see it. I've made up a free printable to help your child organize his thoughts. Download it here.
- Work up a budget and make a list of school supplies, clothes, etc. Then go shopping together, sticking to both your budget and your list!
- Create 4 or 5 weekly lunch meal plans, or have your child do it. Add magnets to the back of each week, stack them on the fridge, then swap them around each month.
- Ask your child to create a daily schedule. Make sure they begin with the time that they wake up and end with the time they go to sleep. Doing so helps kids visualize their day and prepares them mentally for changes in their lax summer routine.
- Set aside a small space in your home where your child can sit and do homework, or update an existing space. Let your child personalize it and make the area more cozy so that he or she enjoys spending time doing his or her homework.
- As a family, celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of the school year with a special party, night out, or gift.
In addition, consider signing your family up for PreK12 Plaza, a bilingual online resource that works toward preparing your child for college readiness. You'll love all the materials you'll find on the site. Check out their introductory video: