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Back to School Checklist

HAPPIFAMLI

Back to School Checklist

Addie Gross, Contributing Writer

August 7, 2018

Some great ideas for a Morning Checklist to print out and tape to your front door, as well as a list of things you might want to consider getting done before the school year starts.

My son started kindergarten last year. In our excited rush to get him there on time (and get some pictures in front of the school of course), we forgot to have him use the bathroom one last time before we left the house. Luckily, he didn’t pee his pants and we were able to use the bathroom in the front office before any accidents happened, but could you imagine if things hadn’t worked out so well? That very day, I immediately went home and printed a checklist of things we need to remember to do every school morning. I taped it right to the front door so we could check the list before leaving the house every day. Here are some ideas for a Morning Checklist to print out and tape to your front door:

  • Make bed
  • Use the bathroom
  • Eat breakfast
  • Brush teeth
  • Brush hair
  • Wash face
  • Get dressed
  • Shoes on

In addition to printing out a Morning Checklist, here are some more things you might want to consider getting done before the school year starts:

  • Fresh haircuts
  • New shoes/clothes (lay out first day outfit so it’s ready to go)
  • School supplies (ready to go inside backpack)
  • Fall sports/lessons
  • New backpack, lunch box, and water bottle
  • Stock up on school lunch and snack foods
  • Make sure homework stations at home are set up (fresh paper, pencils, staples, etc).
  • Plan a special back-to-school breakfast
  • Make sure you clear enough space on your phone to get those back to school pictures! And charge your phone the night before!
  • Set your alarm to your new wake up time. Bonus points if you practice going to bed and waking up earlier a couple days before school starts to get everyone into the new routine.

Good luck and have a great first day!

Summer Learning Loss

HAPPIFAMLI

Summer Learning Loss

HappiFamli, Senior Reading Correspondent

July 10, 2018

While summer is a great time to relax and have the kids enjoy some time off,  it is still important to make sure your kids don’t have any summer learning loss.

Every summer I start off having a ‘grand plan’ about what our summer will look like – long, relaxing days by the pool, lots of fun, and of course educational outings for the kids with time each day for reading books and doing some problem solving to keep those math skills sharp. 
 
I don’t even know why I kid myself.  Summer turns into a juggle of getting kids to camps, having friends over, sports activities, washing soggy towels from the pool, trying to limit screen time, all while I am trying to work from home.  Fun, but yet, not so much.
 
But here’s the thing – while summer is a great time to relax and have the kids enjoy some time off (who doesn’t remember great times at the pool all summer lazing the days away while eating as much junk food as possible), it is still important to make sure your kids don’t have any summer learning loss.
 
Yep – that’s an actual thing.  
 
It has been well-documented that students lose between 1-2 month’s worth of academic knowledge each summer.  And while that doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, the problem is that it becomes cumulative.  A 2007 study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found the achievement gap at ninth grade mainly traces to differences in summer learning during the elementary school years. And a 2004 study found that all achievement gaps among students tend to be exacerbated by summer breaks.
 
Not good.  And yes, this adds on a little more momma guilt, but it also makes me stop and think about how important it is to keep my children’s skills moving in the right direction over the summer.   The challenge is how to make it part of our everyday routine and fun at the same time.
 
Here are some ideas to keep the “summer slide” at bay:
  • Do word searches and cross word puzzles together (you can find them for all ages)
  • Do puzzles, build Legos, solve sudokus and other brain teasers 
  • Read a variety of material – magazines, books, newspapers, cartoons
  • Have your kids read directions and do fun creative projects together
  • Find a great free, library program
  • Have the kids play some games at http://www.coolmath4kids.com/
  • Take outings to local museums
  • Enroll in summer camps – HINT: A great place to find camps is at www.happicampr.com
  • You can find even more fun summer activities that promote learning here