Is Your Student Ready to Go Back to School?

By Huntington Learning Center

Your child is still enjoying a relaxing summer break, which is exactly what they should be doing. But in a few weeks, it’s time to start getting ready for back to school. Back-to-school preparation is key to students’ success. Most children prefer the fun of summer to the structure of school, so a little preparation can go a long way toward easing stress and making them feel less overwhelmed about getting back into learning mode.

Tips to prepare academically

  • Deal with lingering academic problems. Make sure your child is ready to succeed. That means addressing any issues that arose last school year. If your child struggled with low grades and high frustration, it’s not too late this summer to get them tutoring help from Huntington. Our programs provide personalized instruction that is designed to better understand your child’s academic difficulties and find a solution to successfully overcome their challenges. No matter your child’s struggles, Huntington can help your child get back on track before the first day of school. 
  • Start working on the organizational system. For many students, organization is a challenge. Summer is a good time to revisit best practices on how to maintain a planner, binder system, and filing system (paper and digital). A couple of weeks before school begins, take your child shopping for supplies and have them start getting their materials ready and the planner updated. 

Discuss the art of prioritization. Have your child refresh their memory on how to prioritize, using the example of homework. Generally, that involves dividing homework into categories: Due tomorrow, Due this week, Due next week or beyond. Ranking specific tasks from most to least challenging helps too.  During homework time your child should focus on homework that is due soonest, and work on the task they have ranked the most challenging first. They should stick to the schedule that reflects the priority list they just determined. Prioritization is a key component of good time management.  If your child needs to practice this, they can prioritize activities they have planned over a few summer days. For example, prioritize their summer chores and/or their daily activities. For example, prioritize their “to-do” list for the day or week, and then rank those activities.  Keeping track of activities will help your child stay organized and perhaps give them more free time for summer fun.  

Tips to prepare emotionally/socially

  • Talk through transitions. If your child is going to be a new middle or high school student, chances are they’re experiencing some back-to-school stress. You can ease their worries simply by talking about what to expect. Assure your child that they won’t be the only person who feels nervous about the change. Teachers will help them get up to speed with new expectations and you’ll be there for support at home. 
  • Build your child’s confidence. Confidence comes from being prepared in school and understanding the Remind your child that staying on top of school and homework is the very best way to avoid school struggles. However, your child needs to realize that when a subject gets difficult, not all hope is lost. Let your child know that help is available when they need it and that you believe in them. No matter what kind of problem gets in their way, with persistence, patience and individualized support, your child can overcome it. 
  • Set the tone for positivity. You have a big influence on how your child talks and thinks about school. Make sure you are optimistic about the new year. Let your child know that new school years can be exciting, fun, and a fresh start filled with opportunity. If your child isn’t interested in talking about what they’ll learn, try a lighter topic like what classmates and friends they’re excited to see again. Encourage your child to reach out to school friends too, which will give them an opportunity to interact with peers who are in similar situations. 

Tips to prepare physically

  • Restart the routine. For the first month or so of summer, many children want to catch up on sleep, socialize, play video games and relax. There’s nothing wrong with a few lazy weeks of summer, but it’s good to start getting back into a routine in the 4-6 weeks before school resumes. Have your child incorporate some structure into their summer schedule that includes: 
    • Daily exercise
    • Daily reading
    • Daily writing 
    • Outside time 
  • Control the bedtime. For most children, especially teenagers, the school routine is a rude awakening compared to the laidback summer schedule of late nights and sleeping in. You can help their bodies and minds adjust by encouraging an earlier (screen-free) bedtime during the last couple of weeks of summer as well as an earlier wake-up time. For younger children, a few run-throughs of the morning routine on a typical school day would be valuable—even just a week ahead of the first day of the new year. 

Whether your student is moving through elementary school or headed into their senior year of high school, easing from summer to a new school year is beneficial. If your child’s concerns about returning to the classroom seem worse than ever, it’s important to get to the root of the issue. Your child might be afraid to struggle through another school year. Call Huntington at 1-800 CAN LEARN. We’ll perform an academic evaluation to determine any trouble spots and learning gaps and a customized tutoring program to help them rebuild their skills and confidence.