Here’s a back-to-school checklist for parents and caretakers of school-age children to consider, and it doesn’t involve the purchase of pens, polo shirts or backpacks.
• Have you visited your child’s school?
• Did you meet the teachers?
• Have you designated a quiet spot in your house for doing homework?
• For elementary-age children in particular, did you in recent days establish, or re-establish, a sleep routine so the student won’t experience an end-of-summer shock and begin each school day feeling groggy?
If you haven’t done these tasks, there is still time before Northeastern Pennsylvania’s public and parochial schools toss open their doors for a fresh school year. The first day of classes for many districts in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties is about a week away.
Preparing for the school year can help to smooth the way for both you and your child, eliminating some of the hassles and stress typically encountered in the transition from vacation mode to an academic focus. We found an abundance of advice online for moms, dads and guardians, including one article titled “101 Back-to-School Tips for Kids and Parents.” If that’s about 90 too many tips for your schedule to allow, and you can’t embrace each one, don’t worry. Your child is the one about to get graded on performance, not you.
But realize this: You should be involved in your child’s education in a meaningful way. That means travelling beyond the bus stop and past the school entry.
Participate on school committees. Join – or, if needed, start – a parent group. Attend school open houses and other special events. Go to school board meetings. Visit and bookmark the school district’s website. Our perusal of sites for Lake-Lehman, Pittston Area and Wyoming Valley West school districts turned up a wealth of information intended for parents: schedules, district policies and handbooks on topics such as dress codes, gifted education, special education and bullying.
Consult resources such as the National PTA’s “Parents’ Guide to Student Success.” It provides a grade-by-grade breakdown of what your child likely will be learning, and offers guidance on what you can do at home to reinforce those lessons.
A child stands a better shot at reaching his or her potential in the classroom – which, more often than not, translates into a better life – if a parent or guardian routinely emphasize the importance of getting an education.
Show your child that you care about school; be there.