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Have your kids returned to school yet? Our local schools start in just 2 short weeks (a few have even started already) and that means back to school shopping, getting back into routines, and prepping the Goof for going to “big kid school.” Today I am excited to share with you some tips for getting your kids back into school mode, including some great free printables.
If you are anything like our family, summer throws your schedule out the window. While we still try to do some educational stuff like reading, playing games, visiting discovery centers, and more- it is more about travel, relaxing and having fun. It is hard to get out of “fun in the sun” mode and back into “school mode” without a little prep. While the Goof is going to his first year in elementary school, the last two years of starting preschool have given us some insight in how to get him ready for the more structured schedule ahead. So here are some tips to help get kids back into school mode.
Tips for getting kids back into school mode
- Take the kids school shopping. Maybe this means supplies, maybe it means clothing, or maybe it means supportive items for at home. No matter what you are shopping for, find a way to involve the kids. Let them pick out a new backpack, or choose what color of notebook they want. The Goof and I headed to Walmart to pick up some supplies. I loved that I was able to let him choose supplies, then go get clothes in the same trip. We also headed back to the electronics department to get him headphones (required by the school) and a printer for the home (but more on that in a moment).
- Talk about the new school year. Find out what your kids might be excited or nervous about. Talk to them about what they hope to learn,who they hope is in their class, anything that comes to mind. I have found talking through his thoughts on school has helped calmed the Goof’s anxiety.
- Tour the school. If your kiddo is heading to a new school, call the office and see if you can come tour the school. Go with your kid and get to know the school yourself as well. Learn where everything is from classrooms to the library, to the restrooms, and more. This can also be a great time to ask questions if you are lucky enough to get to meet teachers or a principal. The Goof’s school is actually doing a trial “Kindergarten preparedness” program so he is getting to go every day this week for a few hours with other kids to learn the school and where everything is BEFORE they are there with all the older kids.
- Print out all the important info. Remember how I said we picked up a printer? Well, it seems like EVERYTHING for the school is online. Which is great in some ways. But sometimes it is also really nice to have a hard copy of items such as the bell schedule, the calendar with days off, and a other important items (like school supply lists). One thing I did was I had the Goof help me print off all this important info and then transfer important dates into my planner, or put lists where we knew where they were.
- Let them label school supplies and check off their lists. One of my favorite things as a kid, and as a college student (yep, I am a student as well) is getting new supplies. Is there anything better than a brand new package of crayons or markers for a kid? For me as an adult it is a new spiral notebook and pens. LOVE THEM! Help get kids excited by letting them check off their school supply list and help label items. (Keep reading for some free, cute printable labels)
- Start following a back to school schedule. It is rough to try and transition to an earlier bedtime or wake up time within a few days. Start transitioning now if you gave up the normal schedule during the summer. Also focus on getting up, dressed, fed, and doing some reading or other educational activities in the morning to get used to getting up and going. In our family, that usually includes the Goof reading a book to us. (If you want to keep track of their reading I have a free printable reading chart included for you below.)
- Set up a homework station. So, I am a student (well, I just graduated with one degree and am taking a semester off before starting back up), my husband is a student, and now the Goof is also in school. One thing that is super important to each of us is to have a homework station with some essentials. The thing is though, we live in a small rental. 3 bedrooms, no extra room really. So how do we do it?
Setting Up A Homework Station In Small Spaces
Even though we live in a small space, having a homework station is important to getting back into school mode. We actually have ended up using our dining room table as our homework area. We can fit all three of us at the table if needed. But we do have a few tips to help make it work.
- Make sure to have a portable station for supplies. Maybe it is a pencil box, maybe it is a backpack. Whatever it is, have something that is easy to move around that holds books, paper, pencils, laptops, whatever you need. My husband uses his backpack, I have a little office organizer that holds most of my stuff. The goof uses an art kit in a basket to carry most of his stuff.
- Minimize space used. If you are a college student, ebooks are awesome for minimizing space. I also like that my husband has a smaller laptop (or netbook). We also choose to use space saving items like printers. I love the HP Deskjet 3752 for our place because it is small, but does everything I need it to (scan, copy, print). It is the world’s smallest all-in-one printer. It is also wireless which is great because then we don’t have to hook our laptops up to it, we can seriously print from across the room. Seriously though, this printer is about 1/3 of the size of our previous all-in-one printer. It also uses less ink with the Original HP high-yield ink cartridges that print 2.5 times more pages.
Another way I minimize space is by scanning information or taking pictures with my phone. If I end up needing a print out later it is super easy to send a print job to my printer straight from my mobile phone. I can even connect my phone to the printer so I don’t need to be connected to our home wireless network.
- Minimize distractions. Being in a small space, we have a hard time getting completely away from all distractions. Bedrooms have toys, the living room has a television, and the kitchen has a lot of food. This is one reason we chose our dining room. With the layout of our home, the dining room keeps most of the distractions out of our eye sight. We also have it separated by a gate so our toddler twins can not get in and distract the Goof or a parent working on school work.
Now that you have read our tips on getting back into school mode, I am exicted to share some great printables with you. One is a reading chart with a book for each day that you color in as you read. You can do it as a timed reading or reading a book each day, whatever works best for your kids. The other is a set of “Property Of:” labels that can be used for everything from notebooks to pencil boxes, to lunch boxes. The labels print as Avery size 5160. You can print them on white labels and even let the kiddos color in the crayons if they want.
A few guidelines about our printables:
- Printables are for PERSONAL use only. Teachers- feel free to print for your classroom. Basically, don’t try to sell our printables or use them as your own. NOT COOL!
- If you share our printables, please do so by linking back to this post for others to get the printables for themselves.
- Do not remove the copyright from the reading chart.
- When printing, first click on the link, then click “download”, choose “open using Adobe” and THEN print. Skipping to download and open in Adobe steps may cause the printables to print incorrectly.
CLICK HERE to get your free reading chart printable.
CLICK HERE to get your free property of labels.
If you want to pick up the HP Deskjet 3752 to print these on, you can find it in the electronic department at your local Walmart, or online at Walmart.com Learn more about this great printer and order it online here:http://cbi.as/4qann
Do you have any tips that help get your kids back in school mode? Or maybe a tip for setting up a homework station in small spaces? Leave a comment down below letting me know.