Top 10 Tips for Getting Back to School Ready
Back to Online School
It’s that time again! The summer is nearly over and it’s time to start getting ready for back to school. For students in online schools, back to school means something different than it does for families in traditional schools. Early school bells, loaded-down backpacks, school lunches, and carpools may be a thing of the past, but schooling at home means there are other important preparations to be made. These tips will help ensure that you’re prepared and relatively stress free as you begin the new year.
1. Re-establish Routines
A summer of relaxed bedtimes, late nights, and lazy mornings can make it difficult to get back to business on the first day of school. To make the transition smoother, ease back into the school routine by gradually shifting bed and wake up times to the usual routine as the first day of school approaches.
2. Set Up Your School Space
If you’re looking for ideas, our Learning Spaces Pinterest board has some great examples of home learning spaces. These include everything from large dedicated school rooms, dining rooms and kitchens that play double-duty as learning spaces, and clever “classroom in a closet” spaces that hide away at the end of the school day. Many of our school Facebook pages also share photos of other families’ school spaces. Take a look at what others have done and get inspired!
3. Buy Your Supplies
You won’t need much, as those boxes of materials contain just about everything you’ll need. But you will need things like paper and pencils, printer paper and ink, and some household items for science. Go through the first few lessons and make a list of what you’ll need. Of course, kids won’t need whole new school wardrobes, lunch boxes, backpacks, and other typical supplies that can really add up. But they still might enjoy picking out a few fun personal items, like notebooks, pens, or binders.
4. Get Organized
Store all your materials in a permanent place that is easily accessible. It’s frustrating to lose momentum during the school day (or lose your student’s focus) due to spending time searching for the right textbook or a stray pair of scissors. Clear, marked containers for supplies and folders for each subject can help keep materials in order. Some families with multiple children find that a color-coding organization system works for keeping everyone’s materials separate and orderly. Consider what will work for you and prepare in advance.
5. Ease Into the School Year
Judging from the comments we get on our Facebook page, lots of kids (and Learning Coaches) can’t wait to get started once the materials start to arrive. If you’re eager to start, try doing a few lessons here and there to get accustomed to the Online School. While you can make progress through the lessons, remember that you won’t be able to track attendance until the school year begins. At the very least, Learning Coaches should spend some time looking at the first few lessons and the accompanying Teacher Guides and getting familiar with them.
6. Get Comfortable With the Online School
Spend some time exploring the OLS. Make sure you know how to track attendance, mark off lessons, and get help when you’re having technical issues. The 2012 School Year Guide in your OLS is a great resource for new families, full of advice, videos, and helpful links.
7. Create a Schedule
Plan your days out and include time for breaks, Class Connects, meals, chores, sports and any extracurricular activities. Online school allows for a lot of flexibility as to how you schedule your school days and when you complete subjects. As you get into the swing of things, you may find that your original plan needs to be altered. That’s OK!
8. Have a Plan for Meals
Make sure you have a supply of simple, healthy lunches and snacks to keep the kids fueled during the school day. Consider making a meal plan to avoid cries of “what’s for lunch?” and make meal time easier for everyone. Pinterest is again a great resource for when you’re out of ideas!
9. Get Support
Attend back-to-school or summer events in your area and meet other families and staff. Check your OLS for links to Parent support Speaker Sessions and attend any that sound helpful to you. Visit our school Facebook pages for opportunities to connect online with families in your school or area. You’re not alone!
Enjoy the final days of summer and try not to worry too much. You have support! Remember why you chose online education, and what a special opportunity it is to have your children at home with you for their education.