“It’s Elementary My Dear”

School is up and running for many children around the country and I’m sure all those who must contend with the back-to-school check list have already put themselves in gear for this 2015/2016 school year.  There is so much to think about and a great deal of things to do to complete the task of ‘school-ready’.

At the very top of the list are attire and supplies.  Since attire is determined by the district, the school, or the parent, I’ll turn my attention to supplies; often viewed by many parents as not very important.  All teachers usually generate a list of supplies they expect their students to acquire to be prepared for the vigors of the classroom.  It is critical that each child be able to fulfill the requests of the teacher for each lesson.  It allows for a smooth and quick transition from one lesson to the next.  But, before supplies go to school with your child, I suggest labeling everything with an indelible magic marker, from pencils to books.  There will be no need to defend ownership of an item if a very clear label says it all, which will ultimately avoid classroom dissension.  These are extremely helpful ways to allow the teacher to teach.  And, isn’t that the ultimate goal all parents seek?

Yet, just as being ‘school-ready’ should be of top priority, being ‘home-ready’ should be of equal importance.  As we shop for school supplies, we often forget about supplies for home.  All students from kindergarten to grade 12 will inevitably need supplies that will get them through homework and school projects.  A great little resource might be the creation of a ‘homework box’ with everything you think your child might need to complete assignments.  The list might simulate that of the school supply list.  Generally, you will want to provide age appropriate items.  A generic list might include: two or three pre-sharpened pencils and/or erasable pens, a pencil sharpener, a large gum or rubber eraser, crayons and/or magic markers, stick or liquid glue, age appropriate scissors (blunt-sharp), scrap paper, multi-colored construction paper, double-sided ruler (inch-centimeter), age appropriate math manipulatives (from hands-on counters to calculator).  Plus, anything else you can think of that would prepare and provide a well lit, yet welcoming and consistent homework station for a diligent little student who will be prepared for anything an assignment might require.

It might even be fun to allow your child to decorate and name this ‘homework box’ that will be used to store all the supplies when not in use and can always be a cute way to refer to it.  It is the ultimate way for them to avoid wasting valuable time hunting for an item every time it’s needed.  For instead, it’s all right there at their fingertips.

I’m sure there are new curricular demands placed on students these days, as there are always updates in educational expectations.  Math is one subject area I continue to hear parents struggle with because it is so different from the more traditional method, which is straight forward and easier to understand than its counter-part and present competition.  But, by following along with your child as they fulfill their assignments you will know the demands placed upon them and remain aware of their progress.  Things will be much easier for you to understand and you will be more able to assist your child in their time of need.  The connection will allow you to communicate consistently about school and other things in your child’s life.

As you remain close and connected, providing praise for even their smallest endeavors, you will help them gain a sense of  commitment, accomplishment, and a confidence about themselves and their abilities that will aid them in their school life (and life in general) ….And,  you will show your much needed support as they fulfill the inevitable demands, requests, assignments and projects that will be required of them throughout their school journey.

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