Welcome to the final school days of 2015 – what a great time for parents to clean up the loose ends at school! When parents take care of the “housekeeping” details, it’s easier for students to successfully engage in learning and feel comfortable in the school environment.
First things first. Do your children have any missing assignments? Are there any big projects due soon? Make it a priority to check on this and provide your kids with every opportunity to get all their school work done now so they can have a fresh start in 2016. There’s nothing worse than spending holiday time making up unfinished assignments.
While you’re thinking about missing assignments, you might want to show up at school some Friday afternoon and help your child clean out his desk. You’d be surprised at what you might find: apple cores, field trip permission slips, overdue book reports, math homework sheets, old sandwiches, notes from the teacher – you name it, it can be crammed into a desk!
And have you checked out your children’s backpacks recently? The missing assignments that aren’t in their desks could well be balled up and crammed into their backpacks! In my middle son’s backpack, I have found old lunches, forgotten assignments, notes to the teacher, a fistful of broken pencils, lost library books, and a rock collection. Remember that your child’s backpack should not weigh more than 15% of body weight.
Wouldn’t it be nice for your child to return to school in January with a clean locker or classroom cubby? Lockers and cubbies are also places that just seem to collect stray papers, lost clothing, and old food. If it isn’t in the desk or the backpack, chances are it’s in the locker! Check it out.
Have you noticed that your kids are missing sweatshirts, jackets, gloves, and hats? Better check the Lost and Found at school! It’s so easy for students to leave outer wear on the playground or in the gym, and the Lost and Found gets awfully full. I’m amazed at the high quality of some of the clothing that is left behind. The school will periodically donate the clothing that is not claimed, and the end of the year is a time when this is often done. Make sure you check the Lost and Found before school lets out for the holidays. You might be surprised at what you find!
Do your children have all the school supplies they need in the classroom? Check it out and replenish school supplies for the new year. There’s a good chance that your kids will need paper, pencils, or glue. High school kids might need a graphing calculator for a math class next semester. If you’re able, send in some extras for those children who cannot buy their own supplies. And teachers always appreciate getting some boxes of tissue, paper towels, and wipes.
Have you moved, changed jobs, gotten a new cell phone number, gone to court for a new custody order, or made other changes that affect your contact information? Make sure that the teacher and the school secretary have updated information for addresses, phone numbers, and emergency contacts. In an emergency, the school staff has to be able to find you easily.
How well is your homework center stocked? Check on the supplies you have available at home for homework assignments and projects, and replenish your stock as necessary. Those 9:00 pm runs to the store for paper or markers aren’t a lot of fun!
That’s enough for one week! Get some of these things taken care of, and we’ll have more suggestions next week. Happy holidays!