September marks the biggest transition of the year for students, and while the switch from endless summer nights to six hours days in the classroom is never painless for them, or their families, some local parents shared their own tips for making back to school time a little smoother.
Audrey Smith, vice-president of Spectrum community school PAC, said that one of the first steps should be physical preparation. For elementary students, this means buying and labeling school supplies. For middle and high school students, this means going over reading lists. Going over supplies and books also helps get students into a school mindset. Reading lists for most ministry-mandated courses are available online at each school’s website.
Kyla Ward, a director of the Victoria Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (VCPAC), said that the best way for a parent to prepare their child for school is to ask questions about what they’re wondering.
“Just to clear up any concerns we (parents) don’t often get answers from kids unless we ask open-ended questions,” Ward said. “If we just give solid info, it’s sometimes wrong, and that can leave them disappointed.”
Sleeping schedule is also important, and though younger kids are may be more influenced by their parents’ rules, Smith said that teenagers just need to be given a reason to get up early, so its helps to plan activities for the morning.
With younger kids, Ward said that its important to help them deal with things not going exactly as planned, and with the ongoing labour disputes, its unclear if the start of the school year will go as, or when, planned.
“I’m still working on it myself,” Smith said, “to help my own kids be aware of what they are planning on studying and to be ready to do some ‘pre-homework’ if the semester doesn’t start on time. If that happens, they may have to rush through their curriculum, so students who’ve already looked ahead are going to be more prepared.”
Ward said that some parents are talking about different temporary solutions should the strike continue into the school year, but all parents should keep in mind a few things they can do at home.
“That 15 to 20 minutes of home reading a day is key,” she said. “Engage with kids about their day, have that conversation or dialogue around the dinner table, and look for learning opportunities in everyday activity. If your younger ones are helping you cook, have them measure ingredients out.”