After a summer of relaxation, the start of a new school year generates mixed emotions among students. Many children look forward to being back on campus with their friends but may not revel in the idea of waking up early or doing homework each night.
While summer break is a much needed-respite from the rigors of school, it doesn’t mean school should be forgotten entirely. In fact, doing some preparatory steps before a new school year begins can make the year go much more smoothly. Here’s how students and parents can direct their focus during the final countdown.
According to Scholastic, summer slide is a concept that was first acknowledged by researchers in 1996. Many comprehensive studies have come out since then and indicated that kids lose significant knowledge in reading and math over summer break, which can have a cumulative effect and lead to skill loss each year. Some research says up to 20 percent of school year gains in reading and 27 percent in math are lost during summer break. Children should be encouraged to read as much as possible during summer break, particularly since many schools require summer reading and subsequent essays or book reports upon returning to the classroom. Let kids read what they want, whether it’s comics, magazines, the newspaper, or even books they’ve read before.
School may not be on the radar early in summer, but it’s wise to purchase supplies early. Right before school starts there is a mad dash to grab notebooks, pens, clothing, and more, which can make for a stressful shopping experience for all involved. Shopping early helps families avoid that outcome.
Brush up on math skills
It can’t hurt for students to do a few math problems over the summer. Practice keeps skills fresh and any mathematical formulas prominent in their minds. All it takes is one or two problems per day to stay on top of math skills.
Visit educational attractions
Families can include museums, art exhibits, animal sanctuaries, libraries, science centers, and similar attractions in the list of places they visit over the summer. This way students can learn and be entertained simultaneously.
Start enforcing bedtimes
School-aged children (six to 13 years) need nine to 12 hours of sleep every night, according to KidsHealth.org. During the summer, late nights can easily be rectified by sleeping in the next day. But when school resumes, the alarm clock will be ringing earlier than expected. Parents can gradually implement earlier bedtimes as summer winds down so that kids are getting the rest they will need.
Get in the know
Parents can begin to pay closer attention to emails and social media posts from schools as they’ll likely contain information about upcoming school calendars, bus routes (or transportation registration), changes in personnel, or any additional updates. This will help alleviate any surprises on the first day of school.
Families can take several steps to get ready for school as the first day draws near.