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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Back to School Checklist for Parents



Getting prepared for the upcoming school year can be a complicated task that involves gathering school supplies, connecting with new teachers and administrators, establishing individual needs, creating house rules and routines, coordinating nutritious meals and snacks, and arranging any needed accommodations. To help with the process, I have created the following checklist:

Stock Up on School Supplies
  • Check the school website or call to inquire about of list of required supplies. 
  • Find out whether students will store supplies at school or bring them home each day. 
  • See if the school will allow you to get an extra copy of all textbooks for use at home. If not, you can usually find used copies on the internet. 

Plan to be Involved
  • Mark school events on the family calendar. 
  • Attend back-to-school meetings. 
  • Schedule and attend parent-teacher conferences. 
  • Find out the best way to communicate with each teacher – phone, email or note. 
  • Find out from each teacher how he or she communicates homework assignments. 
  • If your child has a 504 designation or IEP, be sure to make arrangements to meet with the teacher so that you can review strategies that have worked in the past.
Create a Scheduled Plan and Routine with Clear Expectations
  • Create a study schedule for each student in the house. 
  • Arrange childcare, tutors and after-school activities. 
  • Avoid over-scheduling. All students need free time. 
  • Create a Family Life Schedule by purchasing a dry erase board with a two-month calendar. Schedule major family plans, activities and appointment for each family member in a different color. 
Establish the Rules and Routines
  • Establish a firm bedtime before school starts. 
  • Determine where and when your child will do their homework. 
  • Figure out a plan for balancing homework and free time, 
  • Set firm rules for television, video games, and computer use for non-school related work. 
Plan for Healthy Meals and Snacks
Arrange healthy breakfasts that avoids sugary cereal, syrup, and processed, prepackaged foods and mixes. Consider options like fresh eggs, yogurt with fruit, and gluten free organic bread.
Have plenty of healthy snacks that are free from sweeteners and preservatives. Consider snacks like fresh fruit, cut veggies, nut butter, and dried fruit, nuts and seeds.
Make what I like to call “brain food.” Go to an organic market and select unsweetened, preservative-free nuts, seeds, dried fruit that your child likes and make snack bags. I love to get all my snack food from Tierra Farm.

Call the School and Make Arrangements for Any Needed Accommodations
  • If your child has a 504 or IEP make sure that all accommodations are updated. 
  • Meet with all teachers to assure that they understand the individual needs of your child. 
  • Provide a summary of your child’s strengths and weaknesses as well as their needed accommodations for the teachers. 
  • Arrange for routine communication with all teachers, tutors, and therapists. 
To learn more about teaching executive functioning skills and acquiring other helpful learning materials, consider purchasing Planning Time Management and Organization for Success. This digital download offers methods and handouts that guide and support students in the areas of learning strategies, time management, planning and organization. It includes questionnaires, agendas, checklists, as well as graphic organizers. You will also find handouts and advice for reading, math, memory, setting priorities, motivation and incentives programs. These tools were created over a ten-year period for my private practice, and the materials accommodate learners of all ages from elementary to college. What's more, on the product page, I offer a free sample assessment from the publication too, as well as a free video on executive functioning.
 
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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