As we get ready to say goodbye to the lazy days of summer, it's time to turn our attention to the new school year. Whether you're a student yourself or a parent responsible for one, make the often harsh transition a lot easier with these four tips for starting the school year off on the right foot.
Photo by Andre Arkusha (Shutterstock).
1. Plan Out And Reset Your Daily Schedule
Many adults and children have different schedules during school holidays than they do during the school year. Bedtimes and wakeup times creep later or simply become irregular. Two of the biggest keys to a student's success, though, are getting enough sleep and sticking to a consistent routine, so now is the time to ease into the regular schedule.
- Slowly move bedtimes and wakeup times back to what they should be during the school year. You can do this gradually over one or two weeks. If meal times or other regular routines have changed over the break, reset those as well.
- Map out the school schedule (holidays, sports carnivals etc.) on a calendar. For parents, a family calendar in a prominent place helps everyone see what's going on at a glance, including after-school activities and childcare.
2. Organise Your Workspace And Supplies
If you (or your child) don't have an organised area to work in yet, now's the time to get it set up.
- Declutter and streamline the workspace. Make sure it's a quiet, distraction-free place. Older students might benefit from using one of the many distraction-killing apps and tricks people in the workforce use.
- Stock up on the supplies you need, including any organisational accessories such as file folders or desk trays. (But don’t go overboard – depending on your school, you may have to wait until term starts for the official list of supplies.)
- If you're buying a new computer for school, you might want to set the computer up before the first day of school, so you're not fumbling with the PC at the last minute.
- Make sure you have a system for processing school work (a paper filing system? Scanner and laptop?) and keeping upcoming assignments visible. (I use a clear plastic folder by our front door to hold school notes and similar paperwork, and a file box to store student artwork and tests until I get a chance to process them.)
- Speaking of paperwork, there's often lots needed at the start of the year, such as medical forms or immunisation records. Now's the time to get those medical and other appointments out of the way so you can have the forms ready when you need them.
3. Get In The Back-To-School Mindset
The new school year is a refreshing time, when you get to start anew. However, your mind might still be back at the beach. To get juiced up about the new semester:
- Review your previous academic achievements. The summer might have made you forget about what you achieved last year. A quick review of reports can not only energize you for the new school year, it can help you identify areas you might want to work on more this semester.
- Set goals for yourself for this upcoming school year. Setting goals (and sticking with them) is an important skill students of all ages can learn. Instead of vague goals like "get good grades", come up with SMART goals like "During the first marking period, I will complete my homework during the hours of 6 to 7 p.m. on school nights at my desk in my bedroom. After completing my homework, I will put my homework in a homework folder and put it in my backpack. At school the next day I will turn in my homework to my teacher."
4. Start The First Week The Way You Want To Continue
Doing the above should help you get a good start on the school year. You can make the first week even easier by setting up the daily routines that make school life easier.
- The weekend before, pick out outfits for the week with your child. Each night before school, prep lunch and snacks, and maybe even dinner.
- Throughout the week, try to get to school early, check out the school's resources, and start making friends in class, HerCampus advises.
Have a great year!