The start of a new school year can be challenging for students of all grade levels. Whether your child is attending a new school or going back to a school they’ve been attending for years, entering a new grade is always an adjustment.
Keep reading for our top back-to-school tips for navigating the new school year. Learn how you can instill your child with confidence and set them up for success during the initial weeks or even months of school.
Give your child the tools needed for success
It sounds simple, but it’s a necessary first step: to help your child get ready for a new school year, you need to equip them with the right tools. If you haven’t already, make sure your child is set up with the recommended school supplies for each of their classes. This can make the transition to a new school year much smoother for both you and your child.
After several weeks of school, sit down with your child and chat about the start of the year—including the tools they have. Just because they have a folder for each class doesn’t mean they’re utilizing them efficiently or correctly! See if they are up to speed with the tools they have and determine if there is anything else they need.
Additionally, there are a few skills that you should add to your child’s figurative toolbox—things like self-confidence, accountability, and time management. Look for ways to model these behaviors around your child whenever possible.
Validate your child’s feelings
It is perfectly natural for your child to feel nervous or overwhelmed during the start of a new school year. Acknowledge any emotions your child might be feeling, and let them know that you are here for them. Reassure them by letting them know that it’s okay to feel anxious, especially during times of adjustment. By validating your child’s feelings, you are providing them with a safe space to express themselves, which can be incredibly valuable as your child adjusts to their new routine.
As the school year marches on, frequently check in about the items you have already talked about, and see if there are any new issues arising.
Set up a study area at home
We highly recommend designating a specific physical space where your child can study at home. This area should be quiet, inviting, and set up with all the study supplies your child might need. Go a step further and personalize the space with inspirational and creative decor.
While your child is studying, do your best to eliminate any outside distractions. Let your child know that you are available if they have questions or need motivation. Being “present” is always important—especially when it comes to studying and schoolwork!
Teach your child about effective study habits
By teaching your child about effective study strategies, you can help them start the new school year on the right foot. Plus, you can build confidence and independence in your student.
Take some time to talk to your student about the importance of prioritizing tasks, splitting large assignments into manageable chunks, and taking detailed notes. Help your child find a study routine that works for them, and be sure to emphasize that you are always available to provide guidance or support.
Encourage learning outside of the classroom
One of the best ways to support your child as they transition to the new school year is to show that you care about what they’re learning. Ask your child about what they’re focusing on in school. If you can, find opportunities to extend that learning beyond the classroom. Engage in discussions, check out books from your local library that align with the topics your child is studying in school, or arrange an educational outing on the weekend. Your enthusiasm for your child’s education will send the message that learning is valuable and exciting.
Follow a consistent schedule
Scheduling as much of the day as possible—blocking out time for homework, breaks, playing, eating, and sleeping—can make studying feel like less of a chore. Instead, it can just become another part of your child’s day! Consider creating a family calendar that you can post in a common area for everyone to see. Include things like the dates and times of extracurricular activities and special events. By planning ahead, you can help your child with their time management skills and help them adjust to the routine of the school year. As items, events, or responsibilities are added or removed during the year, you’ll be able to teach them how to properly pivot, finding time for fun activites while still completing tasks that need to be done.
Staying organized during a new school year is key to preventing your child from becoming overwhelmed. Similar to our advice for setting up a designated study space, make sure you have a place where your child can store the items they need to bring to school everyday—things like their backpack, workbooks, lunchbox, shoes, etc. The last thing you want is to be rushing out the door in the morning and realize that you’ve misplaced something.
Organization is also crucial when it comes to staying on top of homework and other responsibilities. A physical planner can be a great tool for helping your child organize their assignments. At BASIS Charter Schools, our students use Communication Journals (which we call CJs) to keep track of homework and other tasks. These Communication Journals also ensure a high level of transparency between students, teachers, and parents.
Openly communicate with your child’s teachers
To provide your child with the best possible support throughout the school year, make sure to establish an open line of communication with their teachers. Your teacher can let you know about your child’s strengths and challenges in the classroom, and vice versa, you can let the teacher know if there is anything happening at home that they need to be aware of. Frequent communication with teachers is also a great way to become more involved in your child’s education.
Set realistic goals
When standards are set high, students naturally reach for those heights—and even higher. Your student’s confidence will grow with each success, and every accomplishment reinforces their drive to succeed.
At the beginning of the year, work with your student to set achievable academic and personal goals. Does your child want to read more? Raise their grade in a specific subject? Join a new club? Throughout the year, be sure to celebrate their progress and praise their efforts. But remember—it’s okay if things don’t go exactly as planned. Whether or not your child hits their goals, providing a positive and nurturing environment is key to helping your child grow.
We hope that the new school year is off to a great start for everyone in our BASIS Charter Schools community! Ultimately, tackling the new school year comes down to being proactive, supportive, and involved. We hope that these tips prove useful throughout the year!
To learn more about BASIS Charter Schools and our commitment to student success, find a school near you and schedule a tour today. Applications for the current school year will be accepted year round, and we will be making enrollment offers to families as seats become available. Visit our Enrollment page for more information.
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