I just finished our Back to School package, which will run in print on Aug. 8. Following my own advice, below, I looked up such things as when do my kids have orientation and discovered that egad, my sixth-grader has summer reading I didn’t know about and an orientation on a day I scheduled a dentist appointment. Even I, as the family editor at the Statesman, don’t have it together.
Here’s my list of 10 things kids can do before school starts:
1. Get back on a sleep schedule. Gradually start going to bed earlier and waking up earlier. It will make that first week so much easier. School-age children need at least 10 hours a day.
2. Get your yearly physical, especially if you want to pay sports. Make sure you are up-to-date on shots. Get the list of required vaccinations by age from your school district or the Texas Department of Health Services and be aware that additional shots are needed in middle school and high school.
3. Figure out where the bus stop is or how you are getting to school and back. By mid-August most districts have bus stop information online.
4. Get your school supplies and backpack ready. If your school has a list, use it. If not, pick up some general supplies you know you are going to need to lessen the amount you’ll have to do the first week of school.
5. Find out when Meet the Teacher is or orientation. Meet the Teacher is a great time to ease into the school year with important information such as who your teacher is, which friends are in your classroom and what other supplies you might need. Some schools even let you drop off supplies on this day. For kids in middle school or high school, find out when you can get your schedule, your books and maybe a locker if you’re allowed to have one.
6. Get reading and put down the screens. If you have assigned summer reading, are you done yet? If not, start cranking in these next two weeks. No assignment? Pick up a book anyway and get in the habit of learning again.
7. Start investigating after school activities. What kinds of clubs, sports or music lessons do you want to do this year? Do they work with your family schedule and finances? If you did activities last year, do you want to sign up again or do you want to try something new.
8. Get your homework space ready. Where are you going to do your work? Do you have a desk, a space at the kitchen table or a comfortable chair with a lap desk? Do you have all the supplies you need at home, including paper and pencils? Does this space have good light and few distractions?
9. Look ahead at the calendar. When are the big events happening at school this year that you don’t want to miss? Put them on your family calendar. When are the random days off and extended breaks? What will you do on those days? Do Mom and Dad need to get you a baby-sitter or find you a camp or take the day off?
10. Enjoy these last weeks of vacation. If you’ve wanted to try out a new pool or go to a new park, this is your last chance. You can find my list of cool things to do before summer ends at austin360.com/raisingaustin.