Summer is half way through here and that means it’s time to start thinking about back to school! Ok, I know most of us aren’t quite that ready yet, but there are some things (and easy ones too!) that you can do over the summer to start preparing for back to school without really trying. These things don’t require much effort and can get you well on your way to having the best school year yet!
Having a background in education, I know how important the school year can be, and I know how stressful starting back up again can be as well. Between new teachers and requirements, those huge shopping lists and just getting back into the swing of things- the start of the new school year can be trying. Thankfully doing just a few things over the summer, can make it much easier on everyone when those school bells do ring.
Keep Your Kids Reading
This is the number one thing you can do for your child academically over the summer. Kid’s that read over the summer are proven to do better in school- and the fun thing is, that is really doesn’t matter what they read! Do they like chapter books? Get some. Comic books? Sure! Current events? Get a newspaper. Whatever they read is great- and the more the better! Visit your local library and see what summer programs they have. Visit them to find out about reading contests and try and check out books each week or a few times a month. Let your child pick books of interest to them. Reading is fun, and we want them to remember that!
Begin Shopping Early
One of the most daunting parts of starting a new school year (especially with multiple kids!!) is all the stuff you need! From new school clothes, to gear like backpacks and lunch boxes and then the supply list, there’s a lot to get. Starting early will make this easier. For clothes, grab some of the end of summer sales at your local favorite stores. You know it’s going to be warm for awhile anyways, so grab some clearance shorts and tee’s while they are cheap. When school supplies start popping up, begin grabbing a few things each week while you are out. Certain things vary each year, but some things stay the same, so grab everyone some glue, pencils and crayons and this will make your supply run a little cheaper.
I also like to start stocking up on snacks and simple breakfast ideas early too- and I ALWAYS look for the General Mill’s products with the special bonus back to school box tops on them! Having spent lots of time helping with the PTA in my day, I know how much these little rectangles add up and how much they really do help your kid’s school.
When I was a teacher, I worked in a district that had a very small supply budget. There were so many things we needed, and there was such a small budget to buy them with. The PTA would collect Box Tops from parents and use that money to help buy additional supplies for each classroom or for the speciality teacher, like new footballs for gym class or new recorders for music. These were such a life saver!
Now, as a parent, I am always clipping these out and look to purchase products that have them. I love how General Mill’s products have bonus Box Tops in the beginning of the school year- things like fruit snacks, Chex Mix, cereal and yogurts- things I am going to buy anyways. These bonus box tops give you 4 additional ones her box- that’s a total of 50 cents a box!
It doesn’t seem like much but if every parent brought in a handful of Box Tops per year that would translate to hundreds of dollars for schools, teachers and programs that our kids use everyday! So when I am at my local Walmart starting to get materials I know my kid’s will need for school, I always look for the special displays that showcase the back to school General Mills products with the bonus Box Tops- it’s just an easy way to help my kids and their school! Since these special bonus Box Tops are ONLY available at Walmart, that’s my favorite store for getting Back to School ready!
Research Standards for the Next School Year
All school district’s standards are available on your state’s website. Check them out for each of your kids and try and plan two or three day trips that will spark interest in what your child will be studying next school year. If your child is going to be learning about government, take a trip to the capital building. If they will be studying a local battle or historic event, try and visit there. This is not about reading text books or studying flash cards. It’s about excitement. Let your child see REAL LIFE examples of our standards. Let them enjoy. Let them explore. This will really help get them excited for school and will help them to connect facts in books to things they saw in real life.
Get a Workstation Ready
While you are shopping for supplies, remember to keep a few at home to set up a work station for your kids to do their homework at. You can make this at the kitchen table with a supply basket (see what we have in ours here!) or at a separate desk- but no matter where you pick, be sure it’s quite and well stocked for what your kids may need. Having this area ready will be nice for when your kid’s come home with homework day one.
Stay Connected With School Friends
If you live in a neighborhood like we do, than this is an easy one. We have kids running around in and out all day and they all attend school with my kids, but if you live more spread out or go to a private or charter school, then staying connected to school friends will make transitioning back even easier for your little ones. Simple play dates or a few park visits will keep your kids connected and excited to go back to see their friends!
So, even though there is much more summer fun left to be had, but doing these five simple things, you will be ahead of the game for when school does actually start! You’ll be so glad you did.