Back To School Tips

With the beginning of a new school year just around the corner, parents are wondering how to help their children do their best this academic year. According to a research study commissioned by Georgia’s Partnership for Reform in Science and Mathematics (PRISM), parents are the most influential people in the academic success of a child, ahead of teachers, coaches and spiritual leaders.

This is good news, but many parents wonder how they can make a positive impact when they aren’t experts in the subjects their children are studying. Every parent can put his or her child on a path to school readiness and academic success. Here are some recommendations:

..:: Get Involved ::..

  • Studies show that students whose parents are involved in schools are more likely to resist negative peer pressure, more likely to graduate and to go to college, and less likely to have learning and behavioral problems.
  • One of the best things you can do to see that your child gets the most out of his or her education is to get involved and encourage them to do the same. Serving on the PTA or becoming a class parent assures that you know what’s going on so that your child can take full advantage of school events.
  • Encourage your child to sign up for extracurricular activities and take part, as a family, in school work days, spirit nights, donation drives and the variety of activities held throughout the school year.

..:: Maintain an Open Dialogue ::..

  • Don’t wait for a conference to talk with the teacher about a child’s progress. Students will be more successful if parents have an open dialogue with their children, teachers and school administrators from the start of the school year.
  • Be positive. Your child may be nervous about heading back to school, so be sure to model optimism and excitement about the new year. Your child will pick up on your good attitude. Also, let him or her know you're always available to talk about problems.
  • Discuss your child’s learning style and past successes and challenges with school. Ask questions about your child’s curriculum, educational track and expected benchmarks for the academic year. Notice when your child completes homework/assignments and provide encouragement. Praise your child for positive efforts even if you don't see the results yet.
  • Talk every day about the progress he/she is making in each class. Encourage your child to talk to teachers if he/she does not understand an assignment.
  • Almost every student approaches the start of a new school year with at least a bit of trepidation, and if your child has struggled with school in the past, he/she is much more likely to be less than overjoyed about heading back into the classroom. Remind your child that she is not the only student who is a bit uneasy about the first day of school. Teachers know that students are anxious and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.
  • Point out the positive aspects of starting school. Refresh positive memories about previous years.

..:: Support Good Study Habits ::..

  • Create a homework center—a specific area in the house where your child can do homework each evening. Establish a regular homework time, making sure that it’s in a quiet place and stocked with enough supplies, such as pencils, erasers, paper, a folder or two, and a calculator.
  • Establish a household rule that the TV set stays off during homework time.
  • Supervise computer and internet use.
  • Be available to answer questions and offer assistance
  • Keep encouraging literacy at home. Read at least once a week with your child and make frequent trips to your local library.
  • Have a dictionary available for your child to look up new or unfamiliar words
  • All students need to be proficient in Science and Mathematics in order to be successful as adults. Communicate the importance of learning Science and Mathematics. From the kitchen, to the family car, balancing a checkbook and figuring out the discount on their latest purchase – Science and Mathematics surround us and enrich our lives in many ways.
  • When it comes to your child and school, don't forget that routines are your ally. From consistent bedtimes to a well-established homework zone, developing positive habits can help ease anxiety and promote appropriate behaviors.

..:: Be Prepared ::..

  • Children between the ages of 6 and 9 need about 10 hours of sleep each night. Preteens need a little over nine hours. Therefore, setting a regular sleep routine could improve your child’s sleep habits and schoolwork. Establish a reasonable bedtime so that they'll be well-rested and ready to learn in the morning.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast. Studies have shown that children who eat healthful, balanced breakfasts and lunches are more alert throughout the school day and earn higher grades than those who have an unhealthy diet.
  • Have your child organize and set out what they need the night before; Clothes should be laid out in their bedrooms.Homework and books should be put in their backpacks by the door. Pack light, a backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of the student’s body weight. Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles and may increase curvature of the spine.
  • Encourage students to leave the iPods, cell phones and other electronic toys at home. Most schools ban them during school hours anyway -- and students have been robbed of their electronic items going to or from school. Teach your child not to share locker combinations with other students.
  • Encourage your child to keep a notebook or journal in order to write down the need-to-know info to help them remember details such as their locker combination, what time classes and lunch start and end, their homeroom and classroom numbers, teachers' and/or bus drivers' names, etc.
  • Use a wall calendar or personal planner to record when assignments are due, tests will be given, extracurricular practices and rehearsals will be held, etc.
  • Meet with the school nurse - This is especially important if your child requires any medications at school (for asthma, allergies, attention deficit disorder, etc.), has any allergies (foods, medications, bee, yellow jacket, etc. stings) or any medical conditions (seizures, heart conditions, etc.) that may restrict their participation in school activities.
  • Make sure students are aware of all school rules governing their behavior while in school.
  • Children may be embarrassed about being targeted by bullies, let them know it’s OK to report a bully to a teacher, principal or resource officer.
  • Prepare your child for social situations. A certain level of social anxiety is normal. Respond to signs of anxiety by talking to your child about school concerns. Make time to listen when kids want to talk - review your child's worries one at a time and help them problem solve so they don't become overwhelmed.

Helpful Resources :

School hours 
Online lunch/snack payment  
Free and reduced lunch application
Check grades   


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