Community

Published on August 1st, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Back to School Basics

Written by Kay H. Barlow, Community and Parent Education Director, Midlands Education and Business Alliance

Ah, summer, the season for reunions, revivals and reunions. It is a time to slow down, relax and reconnect with family, friends and yourself.

The summer sun and southern humidity still fill our days, yet the distant ringing of school bells is starting to sound in our ears. Backpacks, pencils and crayons are beginning to replace the beach towels, buckets and balls of stores’ seasonal displays, and high school football players are taking to the practice field to prepare for the season opener. It’s August, and time to start preparing for a wonderful new school year.

While it is easy to become overwhelmed by the accompanying expenses and expectations, why not make this a time of learning, fun and productivity for you and your child instead? The tips below can help.

*If you haven’t already, enroll your child is school. Remember to include proof of residency.

*Make certain the school has your correct contact information and the correct numbers of your emergency contacts. Complete school forms early and teachers will want to put you in the “Parent Hall of Fame.”

*Check community and school calendars to take advantage of back-to-school events offering free school supplies as well as free health screenings.

*Use back-to-school shopping as a way to teach your child responsibility, good decision-making and budgeting skills. Let students help you select and purchase supplies and clothes, limiting choices for younger students. Look for sales and coupons to help lower the overall cost.

*Take your child to visit his or her school. Many schools host back-to-school events where you and your student can tour the school and meet the principal, guidance counselor and teachers. Younger students especially will benefit from seeing classrooms, the school office, cafeteria and playground. Familiarity with their surroundings will make younger students more confident and excited about school.

*Make sure your student understands your family’s rules and expectations. Rules and expectations may include such things as:
o Attend school each day.
o Always do your best.
o Respect yourself and others.
o Respect authority.

*Get back on schedule. Summer often means staying up late and sleeping in. A week or two before school starts, begin transitioning to earlier bed and wake times. The start of the school year will be much easier if your student is already on a schedule.

*Lastly and most importantly, model a positive attitude about school and education. Your attitude has a huge impact on that of your child. Encourage and support your student. Let students know that education is key to success and the way to discover the greatness that lies within.

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Kay H. Barlow

Kay H. Barlow

Community and Parent Education Director, Midlands Education and Business Alliance
Kay H. Barlow is the community and parent education director for Midlands Education and Business Alliance. With more than 20 years of experience in career education, Barlow connects with Midlands parents, students, educators and employers through signature programs such as Your Child Is Job #1, Leading Ladies and Framework for Understanding Poverty.

Barlow holds an undergraduate degree from Missouri Baptist University and a master’s degree in education from the University of South Carolina. She holds professional certifications as a Bridges Out of Poverty instructor, Global Career Development instructor and A Framework for Understanding Poverty lifetime instructor. She is a graduate of Leadership Columbia and serves on many community and educational boards throughout the Midlands. Barlow considers raising, along with her husband of 45 years, three educated, employed and productive adults as her greatest joy and accomplishment.

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