How to really prepare for back to school

It does not matter if your child is going back online or in the classroom, it is time to get back to success this school year. 2020 has been a year of uncertainty, making it hard to plan for the future. Regardless of the situation we are sharing tips that will help navigate you and your child back to success this school year.

Have a study plan: Managing multiple classes while fulfilling expectations can be overwhelming for students. Get ahead start by creating a study plan for the semester. Dedicating a particular time for studying, completing homework or doing research for a project. A study plan for various levels:

Post-Secondary: Professors will provide a course syllabus outline what topics will be covered each week. Students should Set a time to complete their readings for each class before hand, make notes as they read and prepare questions ahead for the next lecture. Anything discussed in lecture will be added to their notes. Make note of due dates and begin to work and/or study for final test and assignments at least two weeks ahead of due date. Dedicating at least 1.5hr of study time each day. Do not forget to allocate time for editing/reviewing and research for papers.

High-School: Teachers are likely to provide an outline of what will be covered for the year. Expect to have a test at the end of each unit, and prepare ahead of time to study and review notes rather than waiting for the teacher to announce a test.Dedicate at least 60 minutes a day to reading a section of the chapter, making notes and completing homework for each subject. If student is in a term school, they should spend time studying and reviewing information for the courses they had that day while the information is still fresh in their mind.

Elementary: At the primary level, the course load of work may not be as intense but it is still good practice to build a routine and structure for students on completing their homework. Even if its a small 20 minute window create a space that allows student to work on school assignment. As the workload increases to the intermediate level, eventually the length of the work period will increase and this may be the point where students require a bit more support in organization and time management. Help them to plan and work out their study time. Understanding the concept of breaking work sessions down per subject and assignment.

Colour Code School Subjects: By nature humans are visual creatures, using visual cues can help to make sure students remain organize, and are prepared. To ensure that they do not forget their homework at school, or at home colour code school materials based on subjects. This can be extremely helpful for middle school students who tend to have multiple subjects with different teachers. All notebooks and binders related to math will be coded in red. Do not forget to colour code timetables as well. You can also colour code folders online via Google Drive and other cloud storage place. (I keep a copy of all my assignments on my hardrive and in the cloud, the worst thing is to lose and assignment and have to start again always want to have a back up) Here is how I colour code my subjects.

  • Red = Math

  • Yellow= Science

  • Blue = English

  • Green= Geography

Create a Quite Distraction Free Work Space: My three rules for studying are: setting, style, and supplies. These three principles are key in building effective and efficient learner.

Setting: Where you study matters

  • Post-Secondary: Have three preferred study location. One at home, one at the library and a location in your community like a local coffee shop. There will be a lot of studying and reading to do, it is best to rotate study locations so you do not get bored and tired of the same routine.

  • High-School: Find a space that allows you to focus.

  • Elementary: Mom and dad you may need to help designate a working space within the house that works for your child.

Style: Every student learns and retains information differently. Knowing a students learning style will help them implement more effective learning strategies in their work period. Each style will vary from subject to subject and will change as the student grows. When a student understands their learning style it is like a good mechanic knowing which parts work well with what brand of car. They are able to make repairs effective and efficiently, same will be for students they will be able to apply more effective and efficient strategies to make their work session a success.

Supplies: For each study session it is important that students come prepared with everything they need. Pencil, paper, highlighters, calculator even the textbook (you will be surprised). Do not forget to even have a bottle of water or light snacks. (There is nothing more distracting that your body telling you "I am hungry"). Even headphones are important. Making sure everything needed is within arms reach will help ensure to set students up for success.

Break It Down: This is just a life lesson that we all struggle with sometimes. A lot of students struggle with how to attack an assignment. Students becomes so focused on the finished process that they are skipping important steps to help them reach their destination. In the study plan you need to breakdown the steps and process for completing an assignment or studying for a test. For example completing a paper some key steps students miss.

  • Brainstorming

  • Researching

  • Organizing Ideas

  • Editing and Reviewing

Breaking down the steps for each assignment or test is part of your study plan. Think about Usain Bolt, he did not just show up to the 2016 Olympics no training or practice to win the race. It was years of preparation of speed training, workout, healthy eating, practice that helped him win the gold medal. It is the same process when attacking an assignment there are critical steps along the way that will help bring student success to get that A.

Set A Reminder: With everything going on in our busy days it is easy to forget what needs to be done and when. Once students have a study plan and broken down the task need to complete assignments schedule reminders. Students can use the phone or electronic calendars, or use the old fashion agenda that student fees pay for, to mark important dates. For younger children mom and dad having a calendar for your child will also help them to visually see what needs to be done and when. It does not have to be fancy just make note and write it down somewhere that is visible and won't be forgotten.

2020 is not over we still have the power to change the ending and making it a successful year. Regardless implementing some or even all of these tips will help excel students ahead, there is #NoLearningLimits to what can be achieved. Wishing all the students a happy, safe and successful school year.

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