School has already started for some families in Urbana and elsewhere, but for those of us who are still in prep mode here are some tips for a smooth start to the school year.
Some are obvious, some less so, but they're good reminders for how we can all transition back into that school routine -- and start the year off with healthy study habits.
It's important for kids to arrive at school ready to learn, Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico said in a news release this week. Families can help by making sure their kids get enough sleep, have a good breakfast and a dedicated study time and space.
"School doesn't only teach kids how to read, write and do math, but school is a place that prepares students for life. The most important thing to remember is that learning is fun, but learning is a team effort; involved parents help teachers build better students," said Alton High School teacher Annice Brave, the Illinois 2010 Teacher of the Year and finalist for the National Teacher of the Year competition.
Here's some of their advice:
-- Start earlier bedtime hours a few days before school starts, so that first-day wake-up call isn't such a shock.
-- Set up their own study space, with good light and supplies. It can help kids focus as they do homework.
-- Review academic skills with them, in fun ways:
Generally, talk to your children about any fears or concerns they might have. If they are going to a new school or a new district, arrange a visit to the building so they can get familiar with their surroundings and meet the teachers or other classmates in advance. Most middle schools, for example, hold a transition day to help kids get acclimated.
Here are a few websites with information with other fun learning ideas, recommended by the State Board of Education:
Julie Wurth writes and blogs about family issues, social services and the University of Illinois for The News-Gazette. Her column appears in the paper every other Tuesday. Leave a comment below, contact Julie at 351-5226 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jawurth.
Driver Larry Walker watches as students get off the bus at Garden Hills elementary school in August 2007. Darrell Hoemann/The News-Gazette