Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tip 38 - Back to School Brain Building Strategies

Now that summer is ending, it is time to prepare your child for the upcoming school year. Research indicates that one to two-months of academic gains are lost during the summer.  To get your child back into the groove quickly and effortlessly start now to prepare for the structure and demands of the coming school year.

1. Get back on schedule before classes actually start All Ages  One of the hardest parts of school is getting back into the groove of early to bed -- early to rise. Rather than wait for the first day of school start planning ahead by planning fun acitivities that begin about the same time school does - a breakfast trip to the beach or park; a morning trip to a local museum; a day at the zoo.  Schedule a few of these early morning trips a week or so before school starts so that going to bed and getting up earlier will not be a problem when school begins.

2. Back to school Spelling Bee Ages 6-10 One academic area that suffers the most during the summer is written language. Many children and their parents continue to read during the evenings before bed, but often there is little opportunity to practice writing and spelling. Plan a round-robin at dinner time where each child tests you or a brother or sister on spelling words from the past year. They can go back to old spelling tests or workbooks to find words. Or, you can choose fun words to practice spelling from summer reading - Spell the names of Harry Potter characters or other characters from favorite books, homonyms (piece vs. peace; boy vs. bouy. etc/) or words that should be spelled similarly that are not (straight vs. state; phone vs. foam) etc. See if your child can come up with fun words that are not spelled the way they sound.

3. Set up a homework station  Ages 7-14  If your child does not have a desk in their own room where they can study consider setting up a homework center somewhere in your house or apartment where distractions will be minimal (away from TV's or busy work centers, like the kitchen)  where your child will have his or her own space for books, papers, and a writing surface. Before school begins have your child decorate the space with school-themed pictures. Take an empty can, wrap it in gift wrap and turn it into a fancy pen and pencil holder then fill it with a couple of new pens, markers and pencils.

4. Set up an assignment calendar Ages 8 - 17 A week or so before school begins, help your child to start planning ahead for school assignments Purchase an inexpensive montly wall calendar and hang it in a highly visible area (kitchen, hallway or family room) so it cannot be ignored.  Before school starts ask your child to put in school holidays and known school events (athletic events, start of girl scouts, ends of semester dates, etc.) Then establish a routine starting on the first day of school that as soon as your child gets home from school the first thing he does before going out to play, starting homework or eating a snack, is to put homework assignments on the calendar. If there are math problems due tomorrow, put them in the square for today. If there is a spelling test on Friday, put the study time in for Wednesday or Thursday night. Setting this calendar routine will be build important self-discipline and planning skills.

TIP 38 - School supplies are a very small part of preparing your child  to get back to school. You need to get the brain prepared  as well! By gradually re-establishing routines and preparing for homework before school begins your child will have a head start when school actually begins.

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