Steps for an Organized School Year
A few simple steps at the beginning of the school year can set the foundation for smooth sailing:
Make sure that the family calendar is in sync with the school calendar. This will help in planning vacation times and times when child care may be needed.
Attend back-to-school or meet-the-teacher evenings as well as other special meetings that affect your children. It's a quick way to become acquainted with your children's teachers and find out what will be expected of your children.
Read the school handbook to become familiar with school procedures. Learn how to report absences, handle medical appointments, drop off or pick up your child at school, and contact teachers to arrange conferences. When parents follow outlined procedures it is easier for the office staff and helps avoid mistakes.
Fill out all parent information cards. Make the appropriate changes if you move, change jobs or get a new phone number. Schools need to be able to get in touch with you quickly if there is an emergency. If these cards are out-of-date, time may be wasted in trying to contact you.
Get involved in some school activity. You will learn so much more about how the school operates and become better acquainted with teachers, staff and other parents. Find an area where you are able to participate. Since many parents work, most schools now have functions for parents before school, in the evening and on weekends. Schools also offer opportunities to help with one-day activities such as field trips, sports days and science-fair days.
Read aloud to tweens and teens
Question: My son just started middle school. Is it still a good idea to read to him every night? — Avid Reader
Answer: Don't quit reading to your son. All the experts recommend it. Studies even show that it is likely to increase your child's reading scores and his interest in reading. Furthermore, he is being exposed to a more advanced vocabulary. It also is a great way to communicate with him on a wide variety of subjects. And frankly, everyone enjoys listening to stories.
Here are some hints to make your reading sessions as successful as possible:
* Be consistent in reading to your son every night. You don't need to read for more than 15 minutes.
* Don't just read books. Choose magazine articles on topics that interest him.
* Have him make suggestions about what he would like to hear.
* Be sure to choose age-appropriate materials (no childish stories).
* Try to complete a chapter a night when reading chapter books.
* For a treat, watch movies or videos of books after finishing them.
Parents can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.