Mission Critical: Prepare Now For The New School Year
By: Suzie Dalien, M.Ed.
Yes, it is the middle of summer.
No, you are not ready to seriously think about the upcoming school year.
There are smoothies to make, laps to swim, naps to take and vacations to plan – why in the world should you take time from your summer break to get prepared for the new school year?
If you only do three things this summer in anticipation of the hectic school year, your family’s life will be more organized, less chaotic and more productive. It’s true, three simple steps taken now can transform your school year – whether your child is homeschooled or attends traditional school
1. Devote 10 Minutes A Day To Getting Rid Of Clutter;
Clutter is the number one factor in morning/evening chaos in most homes. Who can honestly say that they have not spent the ten minutes before the bus arrives digging through stacks on the counter, the table and piles of backpacks and shoes near the back door searching for the permission slip for that day’s field trip? (Homeschoolers, change the scenario to searching through similar stacks in search of that day’s co-op lesson plan.)
This is the year where you take charge. Everyday set a timer for fifteen minutes. Pick a room and get rid of ten items you don’t: USE or LOVE. These items go to the trash, a donation box or to the part of the house where they should live. If you do this and your kids do this from now until the start of school you’ll find yourself in a more open, functional home.
As you de-clutter, take note of hot spots and how best to handle them.
- Would a hanging folder organizer at the kitchen counter help you keep important papers where you need them?
- Would it help to have a basket in each room to place things to be relocated to their proper rooms each night?
Every family has different needs but every family can benefit from reducing the extraneous detritus from their lives. Do not allow yourself to get hung up on making your de-cluttering efforts Pinterest-worthy. You can do that when the clutter is gone if you’re so-inspired. Instead, focus on building this quick de-cluttering routine in everyone’s day. You want clean, clear surfaces and a specific home for everything in your house. Don’t rush the process – let it evolve. Come fall, you’ll be amazed.
2. Make A Family Plan For The Upcoming Year;
Take a few afternoons over the summer to hold family meetings. While everyone is relaxed and refreshed put together a family plan for the upcoming school year.
Have everyone set three goals –
- one school-related goal
- one personal goal
- one family-related goal
List them and post them in a place where you will all see your goals on a regular basis. Putting your goals into concrete sentences makes them “feel real.” Allowing your children to watch you and your partner set goals helps them understand that learning is a lifelong challenge. Doing this ahead of the school year lowers the pressure and gives you all time to start on your goals before the hectic fall routine starts up again.
3. Take Charge Of Family Meals Now;
Food. Food. Food. Feeding a family day-in-day-out is a challenge. When school is full-swing along with outside activities, work and other obligations meal-planning, sane shopping and actual cooking are often the first things to suffer.
It’s so easy to hit a drive-through after a long day. If your grocery shopping patterns are haphazard, ordering pizza can quickly become a fall back meal. If your children attend traditional school, it’s easier to fill up their lunch account once a month than it is to pack lunches. Or is it?
During the slower months of summer, research different ways to shop and plan your family’s meals. There are many ways to get organized. It’s a matter of finding what works for you. Now is the time to experiment. Try once-a-month freezer cooking. Get your children involved in making healthy snacks and meals. Put a 30-day moratorium on junk food and take out meals. Put your foot down and stop cooking like you’re running a diner. Include something in each meal that everyone likes. If your child hates meatloaf, he can fill up on potatoes and green beans. Do not get up and make chicken nuggets. Kids who eat healthy, balanced meals do better in school. Families who take the time to figure out how to shop and cook together have more disposable income to spend on other things. It’s not easy but, taking charge of your meals is one of the easiest ways to help your child excel in and out of the classroom.
Refresh And Prepare Academically;
Now is the perfect time to ease back into academics with your little one. They’ve had time to relax and enjoy themselves by now, and it’s important to prevent “brain atrophy!”
For most children, this simply means adding a little fun and exciting learning into their summer routine. (See related article; 4 Crazy Simple Ideas To Make Summer Learning Fun)
If your child struggled academically the previous school year, Special Needs Tutoring can help make a significant impact going into next year! Working one-on-one with a special education tutor has proven to quickly help your child catch up, and even surpass their current grade level!
In short, by simply thinking about, and preparing for what’s to come…the fall transition will be MUCH easier!
What does your family do to prepare for the school year? Please share in the comments below!
This entry was posted on Monday, July 13th, 2015 at and is filed under Special Education Tips and tagged as Back To School. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.