Updated: Sep 13, 2021
It’s that time again! The school year is just around the corner. And while life isn’t exactly back to normal, there are still things you can do to make this year the best one yet. Whether your child will be going back in person, sticking to virtual, or you’re homeschooling, there are three things you can do now to get prepared and set your student up for success.
(Before we dig in, be sure to grab all the free resources mentioned in this post: School Planner, School Year Prep Discussion Guide, Online Reading & Math Resources and Key Questions to Ask Your Child’s Teacher)
It seems simple, but organization can make all the difference. Start by determining where your child will work on schoolwork. Whether it’s homework, homeschool assignments, or what they will use every day during virtual class, students need dedicated space work. Having materials all in one area will reduce how many times your child pauses their work to look for something, which will make school or homework time much more efficient.
We also suggest helping your student plan out their time to eliminate late or incomplete assignments or frantically finishing work at the last minute. Our student planner is free and has many different planning sheets to choose from. Before each school week, use the planner to block off practices, academic coaching, family time, etc.
This allows your child to identify how much time they have to finish homework in the afternoon before practice or if they need to work ahead because of a hectic day coming up. They can do this weekly planning with a parent or academic coach. It takes a lot of practice using a planner to understand how to do it independently, but it’s a great habit to help your child develop.
Set & Communicate Expectations
It's best to lay out expectations before the school year starts to reduce tension between family members. First, talk to whoever you parent with (relatives/family involved with schooling/homework). Discuss what your collective expectations are for your children so that everyone is on the same page. We’ve put together a list of suggested topics to discuss, just click here to grab the download.
After the expectations are decided amongst the adults, it’s time to bring in your child so they can have a voice in the process. Including them in the decision-making helps them feel empowered and more likely to stick with the plan. Use this time to ask your child what they think they need from you to help them be successful. This could be as simple as having snacks at home for after school or having your help with homework. They may not have an answer right away, but opening this door lets them know they can come to you during the year if a need arises.
This meeting with your child is a great time to communicate the expectations you and your parenting partners discussed. It’s important to not bring up negatives from previous years at this time. Discuss how positive this year will be and how you’ll work as a team.
Once your family has a plan, it’s wise to share anything that might be helpful to the teacher. Teachers do not automatically know your expectations around grades and behavior because each family’s expectations are different. During this discussion with your teacher, take the opportunity to ask them some questions and gather information to ensure you start the school year on the right foot. We’ve put together a list of questions to help you get the most out of this meeting.
Review Last Year's Learning
Lastly, before the school year begins, take some time to review what your child learned over the previous year. If they’ve been in a summer program or have been working with an academic coach, this should be relatively simple. But if it’s been a while since your student has had to recall that knowledge, it may take a bit more time.
Math facts are easily forgotten during the summer, and basic math knowledge is a key indicator of math success. For grades first through third, we encourage you to practice addition and subtraction math facts. For fourth grade and up work on multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction.
Reading is also subject to the summer slide. Reading is like a muscle - it must be exercised and worked to keep it strong. If your child has been reading all summer, encourage them to continue reading daily until the school year starts. But if reading hasn’t been a daily activity in your home, there’s still time to work on it. We suggest reading for 30 minutes each day. This could be your child reading independently, you reading to your child, audiobooks, or an online reading program.
The bottom line...
While things aren’t exactly how they were pre-COVID when it comes to your child’s education, you can still help make this year a success. Check out our list of learning resources that you can use to get ready for school, or if you need some additional help assessing where your child is at and getting them ready for the school year, book a complimentary assessment today.