by Jennie Smith, Secondary Assistant Principal
It’s not too long now…school will be back in session! (Are you squealing with joy or shedding some tears?) Either way, here are a few tips to help get you and your kiddos ready for the big day.
Get Them Ready
When my first son started Kindergarten, I had no idea that a school routine could be a shock to his system. By Wednesday of the first week of school, he was sick and missed the last half of the week! I learned quickly that I needed to start a week or two before school to help my children adjust back to a school schedule. You can begin by adjusting their sleeping schedule – put them to bed a little earlier and get them up a little closer to the right time. This way their body is getting the rest they need and the first week may not be so rough.
Because I have boys, I have to get their stomachs back on school schedule too. Instead of grazing the whole day, I set specific eating times that mimic the school schedule. That way, they won’t be distracted by the grumbling belly in those first few days of school. Anything you can do to assist them getting back to the school routine will alleviate some issues that first week.
Get Their Stuff Ready
Back-to-School shopping can get expensive, but there are some easy ways to find the best deals. Because God calls us to be good stewards of what we are given, it is best to take advantage of sales. I most often use pinchingyourpennies.com. The people who run this site post sales from the weekly circulars and what coupons are available to use with those sale items. They have a specific “Back-to-School” forum that is especially helpful this time of year. Even if you are not an extreme coupon-er, this information is helpful and all in one place. Here is the link for the Arizona Back-to-School forum: http://www.pinchingyourpennies.com/forums/showthread.php?s=470dcbfb65051dcc200ccad7d9887df3&t=203012
The Krazy Coupon Lady is also very helpful. They have a web page that is easily accessible or you could “Like” them on Facebook and get all sorts of deals directly to your news feed: http://www.facebook.com/TheKrazyCouponLady. They are even posting videos to YouTube telling you how to get the best deals on school supplies.
If you are not a store hopper, use the ads to create a shopping list – prices and all – and head to Walmart for price matching. If you take just a little extra time to do some research, you can save yourself a little bit of money.
|I spent only $25 on these supplies from Staples and Office Max following the advice of The Krazy Coupon Lady!|
Get Yourself Ready
When you are out shopping, be sure to pick up some extra supplies for home. You’ll need pencils and paper easily accessible for homework. Have your kids pick out their homework spot for the year and get it all prepared with supplies. I use their pencil boxes (and any other leftover usable supplies) from last year to hold their homework supplies for the new year.
Research some fun lunchbox ideas prior to school. Surprise your kids with something new and different. There are some ideas at Kraftfoods.com, but they also have lunch box jokes and notes in printable form. Get a few ready and surprise your kids with the “old school” note in the lunchbox! A joke shared at the lunch table may inspire a new friendship. Here’s the link: http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/kid-friendly/lunchbox-ideas.aspx
Be sure to attend your orientation night (sometimes called Meet the Teacher). You will usually find a wealth of helpful information that will make the transition from summer to school a little easier.
The start of school is quickly sneaking up on us all and it is vitally important that we spend some time preparing in whatever way we can. What kinds of things do YOU do with your kids to get them ready for the start of school? Leave them in the comments below.
by Jennie Smith, Assistant Secondary Principal
and Mom to three stir-crazy boys
Ah…warm weather, the smell of chlorine, the excitement of a vacation plan…I love summer! But for many of us summer also means cooped up kids and the high pitched whine of “I’m bored.” Most of us don’t want our kids sitting in front of a TV or a video game all day. There are many learning opportunities for your child that are easy, fun, and educational too!
- Make one day a week an outing day. Visit a museum – there are some great children’s museums and others have pre-planned children’s activities in the summer. And bonus…it’s air conditioned!
- Find some educational computer games. One of my favorite websites is http://www.mathplayground.com/. There are many exciting and fun games there and kids don’t even know they are reviewing important skills.
- Turn a card game into an easy math game. For example, play War, but have your child add or multiply the numbers the two of you lay down. If they are right, they get the cards, but if they are wrong, you get to add to your pile.
- My kids love mad libs and the sillier the better. Do they know that they are reviewing adjectives, adverbs, verbs, and nouns? Probably not…please don’t tell them.
- There are many programs that reward your child for reading. Check your local library and click on the following link for a great article on different ways your child can earn prizes for reading: http://thekrazycouponlady.com/family/summer-scholars-kids-earn-books-and-prizes-with-reading-programs/
- Learn a new game like chess or backgammon together. Chess is an excellent mind and strategy game that uses logic and reasoning skills.
- Take postcard stamps and your address book on vacation with you. Let your child pick out a postcard at various stops and have them write a note to a friend or grandparent. They are practicing handwriting, spelling, and writing.
- Make your own zoo. Have your child research their favorite animals and draw and cut them out. They are reading and using their fine motor skills. Wait until Dad gets home…and then have the kids be the tour guide.
- Keep them moving – make sure they get some exercise by purchasing an inexpensive slip and slide and play human bowling. Set up “pins” (empty two liter bottles) at the end of the slide and see how many they can knock down with their hands and body. Don’t forget the sun screen!
- Encourage your child to write, produce, and put on a play based on their favorite Bible story. Go to the thrift store and let them pick out costumes and then invite Grandma and Grandpa over for the big show!
- Have a Scripture scavenger hunt! Hide a post-it note with some Scripture on it and your child can only get the next clue if they read it out loud to you. My kids would like this game even better if M & Ms were involved. Challenge each other to memorize one a week through the whole summer.
There are many easy, simple, inexpensive ways to engage your child’s mind this summer! If you have any fun and educational ideas for kids leave them in the comments below. Keep on learning!