Friday, August 7, 2015

Preparing for the School Year


It’s time once again to start thinking about back-to-school plans. At Tutoring For Success, we’re aware that there’s still plenty of time left to swim, take a trip, hang out with friends, and just relax, but it is possible to continue enjoying summer vacation while preparing for the new school year. Here are just a few tips on how to get started:
  • There are a ton of back-to-school items out there that stores will market as “must-haves,” but not all students will require the same supplies. Sometimes teachers will be specific about what will be needed in the classroom, while others might leave it up to the student to decide what works best for him. There are, of course, always essentials like writing implements, loose-leaf paper, assignment books, etc, that need to be purchased,  but hold off on that expensive graphing calculator or those color-coded dividers until you know for sure that your student will indeed be using them.
  • Back to school shopping doesn’t have to be all business! Allow your child to select a new backpack or lunchbox – something she likes, that will help her get excited for the school year. New clothes and shoes can also serve this purpose.
  • Talk with your children and figure out which organizational systems work best for them. Do they prefer one big binder with dividers for each subject? Maybe smaller binders, or even individual pocket folders are easier for them to keep track of and will therefore prevent missing papers. A large desk calendar for writing down due dates, class schedules, and other appointments can do wonders for students who have trouble with time management.  Some students prefer to use an app. If you know that you child needs extra help with organization, work on establishing a system right at the beginning of the school year.
  • There are still a few weeks of summer vacation left, and you might have at least one more trip planned. Encourage your student to bring a book to read while making the long drive to Grandma’s, or suggest that he keep a journal about his visit to the Grand Canyon. Both of these activities are fun, low-key ways to sharpen vocabulary skills and prevent learning loss through the end of the summer.
  • It is common for schools to assign homework over the summer. Depending on your child’s grade level, she might be required to complete a reading list, write a book report, or do a math packet. In order to avoid a last-minute panic session over Labor Day weekend, it’s probably a good idea for students to get started on any assignments now, and complete them little by little over the next few weeks. This will not only keep their minds sharp, but help them to get back into the right mindset when approaching assignments.
  • If your child consistently struggles with organization and just can’t seem to get his act together, it might be time to bring in a professional. Academic  coaches can help students learn how to organize materials and properly manage their time, two common issues that often stand in the way of otherwise bright kids getting good grades. A tutor or coach can also work with your child to help brush up on the basics of English and Math, making the transition from vacation to school that much easier.

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