The end of summer break can cause back-to-school madness in many families. Parents struggle with changes in their schedules, managing transportation, juggling before- and after-school activities, packing lunches and hours of homework help. Children have other concerns, such as meeting new teachers, making new friends and managing homework. Unanswered questions and concerns can cause anxiety and sometimes panic in young STEMists.
Here are 9 back to school tips to help you and your STEMists have a successful stress-less school year.
# 1. Routine Schedule
Start your school routine now for school success. One week prior to the first day of classes, you and your STEMists should transition from your summer routine to a school routine. Gone are the days of late-night movies. Re-set your alarm clocks to get up early and be sure to make time to eat a well-balanced breakfast. Recent studies show that eating a nutritional breakfast is important for successful performance in school.
#2. Map Your Classes
Most schools give students with a class schedule and school map before the first day of school. Ask your STEMist to highlight his classes on the map and draw points from one class to the next as listed in his schedule. Then, visit the campus with your STEMists and walk the map. A campus and class tour will help ease first-day jitters.
#3. Create a Study Space
A quiet pre-determined homework space will help your STEMists to focus on their studies. If you don’t have a separate room for studying, create a space that provides a writing desk and a comfortable chair for reading assignments. Be sure the space is away from tempting distractions, such as TVs, radios, the refrigerator and other siblings at play.
#4. Choose a Storage Space
Put all school books, binders, folders, notes and homework in one place for easy access. Siblings should each have their own storage space—parents too! A drawer, storage cube, bin or a shelf on a bookcase in your predetermined study space or bedroom will do the trick.
#5. Get Organized
Color coding your folders, binders, notebooks and supplies by subject may help keep your STEMists organized. Creating an organized system prior to the start of school, no matter what type of system you implement, will make it easier for your STEMists to stay focused.
#6. Use a Planner
Use of a planner is an excellent way to learn time management skills and can help prioritize deadlines, appointments and homework assignments. Also, use your planner to map out project timelines. A family whiteboard or chalkboard also is a way to keep every family member informed and prepared.
#7. Study Wisely
Use a timer to keep your STEMists on track—30-45 minutes is an effective amount of time to study. Also, be sure to allow 5-10 minute breaks. Be cautious of break times; extended breaks may cause your STEMists to lose focus.
#8. Develop Study Aids
Purchase plenty of index cards. Use them to create study guides and flash cards for all of your STEMists’ school subjects. Index cards are an effective study tool and easy to store, especially if you recycle a Groovy Lab in a Box. Decorate and label a Groovy box for each subject to achieve the ultimate study-aid organization!
Your STEMists should learn to communicate with their teachers. Encourage them to ask questions when they don’t understand a concept or an assignment. Also, when your STEMists are absent from class, they should email their teachers to ask about missed assignments. If they don’t have an email yet, it’s never too soon for STEMists to use communications technology. Consider setting up a Yahoo or Gmail email account for your STEMists so they can feel empowered to use email to communicate with their teachers.
Getting organized, setting a routine and being prepared will help you and your STEMists get on a path to a successful year. If your STEMist wants to enhance his STEM learning this school year, check out our theme-based Groovy Lab in a Box monthly subscription. Subscribe to Groovy Lab in a Box today to help your STEMists continue to stimulate their science, technology, engineering, and mathematic abilities.