Getting into the Groove of Back to School: 5 Tips for Success

The long weekend is over and school is in session for another year. Congrats kindergarten parents – you survived the first day! Last week’s post looked at how difficult it can be for parents to send their kids to school for the first time. This week I want to take a look at the students. From elementary up to post-secondary, school brings with it several challenges. We have created a one size fits all education system which some kids flourish in and many others flounder. Here are some ideas, no matter what education level you or your children are in, that may help make the school year run a little smoother.

1) Get to know your teachers/profs. Introduce yourself, spend a couple of minutes after class asking questions. Getting to know your instructors sets you apart from the class and may present in extra opportunities. I know of a university student who made an effort to get to know her profs in the classes she was interested in and it led to a job opportunity.
2) Get organized. Make lunch the night before and maybe even breakfast (smoothies keep well in the fridge). Set out your clothes the night before. Pack your backpack. Get into a morning routine that works for you.
3) Set up homework/study time. I get that everyday might be different and it’s not always doable to follow a schedule, but if possible try to set up homework time. It might be right after you are done class, or maybe after supper. If you know you have designated time for school work it may help with procrastination and also peace of mind. You have a definitive start and end time – you don’t have to spend all your time on homework.
4) Use a calendar. Write down due dates and all commitments that you have. Whether you put it in your phone, or go old school and write it on a calendar find a method that works for you. Using a visual lets us see everything that is on our plate and plan accordingly. No surprises.
5) Use your supports. Ask your instructors questions or for extra help – that is what they are they for. If you know you or your child struggles in a certain subject, be proactive in seeking out extra help. Maybe it means finding a tutor, spending a little bit of time each day working on it, or attending a help seminar. The whole purpose of school is to learn, we are not expected to already know the material.

September brings on a fresh start and a new opportunity to have a successful school year. It is easier to get into a good routine from the start rather than change your habits part way through. I realize this post doesn’t touch on any of the social challenges that come with school so stay tuned next week for that post.



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