Ground Control Parenting – Carol Sutton Lewis

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Academics

Back-in-School Check-in: Is Everything on Track?

Now that your son has gotten his first few weeks of school under his belt, here are a few areas to check in and focus on:

School Supplies, Backpack: Does your son have the proper supplies for all of his classes? Does he need extra folders for the handouts from class? Does the math teacher require graph paper notebooks? While the teachers in the lower grades (K-4) usually give lots of direction to parents if the children need additional items, middle/junior high school (5-8) tend not to involve the parents as much, expecting the students to take on more responsibility for organizing themselves. If you have a middle schooler, spend some time at the beginning of the school year helping him focus on getting his supplies together and organized. Is his backpack the right size, and does it have the right compartments? Is it ridiculously heavy? If so, and if it is within your budget, you might want to consider getting duplicate copies of his heavier textbooks to leave at home so he doesn’t have to lug them back and forth to school each day.

Calendar Check: If he has regular homework assignments, does he have a calendar/assignment book? If the school doesn’t provide one, get one for him and help him figure out how to use it to keep track of his short and long-term homework assignment and projects. Some schools have online portals on which teachers leave assignments and students can keep their calendars. If your son’s school has one, ask him to give you a tour–it will help you understand how he needs to be organized. Students with smartphones may want to keep their calendars on their phones. You know your child: if he is likely to get distracted by everything else on his phone, that probably isn’t the best plan.

Study Space: Make sure your son has a good space in your home for homework and studying. It should be free from obvious distractions (no TV nearby), include a desk, a comfortable chair and a good reading light.

After school Schedule: How is his after school activity schedule shaping up? Is he doing things that he enjoys, and is the schedule manageable? Continue to check on this as the school year progresses and the amount of school work increases.

Helping your son focus on being organized in these early days of school can set him on a good path for the entire school year.

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