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Today's Family Magazine

BACK TO SCHOOL: Huntington offers tips for students headed back to school

This is the time of year that students from kindergarten through high school are thinking about the first day of school and the rest of the year.  Kimberly Walter of the Mentor Huntington Learning Center says there are lots of things parents can do during the final weeks of summer to help their children prepare.  “A little mental preparation and some simple planning ahead can help children get off to the best start possible,” she says.  Here are several back-to-school tips for parents:

Get reacquainted with the organizational system.  Organized students are successful students.  Remind your child that a good organizational system should include a planner or planner app to help them keep track of all assignments, tests, deadlines and other obligations, a system for keeping track of all papers and graded homework, and a digital filing system for any electronic documents.

Talk through time management.  Most students struggle a little with time management, with so much else competing for their time and attention.  Go over the essentials before school starts.  At the top of the list should be homework prioritization (dividing homework every night into what is due the next day, later in the week or later in the month, and into rank of importance), breaking down big tasks into smaller ones, scheduling time for school, and avoiding time-wasters and distractions.

Go over the routine. Summer is more relaxed, so your child might need a little refresher on what the routine will look like for the school year.  Talk about school start time, when the carpool or bus picks up (or when to leave if walking) and everything that your child should prepare the night before and on school mornings.  Go over what works best for your child in the evenings as far as when to do homework and what other evening obligations they will have (e.g., sports practice).

Transition into learning mode starting now. Use the final few weeks of school to get your child back into school mode.  Tidy up the workspace and get all supplies for home and school.  Resume a nightly routine of 20 minutes of reading, encourage an earlier bedtime, and review any textbooks or graded homework or tests from last year.  Even a little effort can make a big difference in getting your child’s brain working again.

Talk positively about school. As a parent, you have a big influence on how your child sees learning and school.  Have a good attitude and never speak negatively about school in front of your child.  Talk about learning as something that is continuous and requires students to make mistakes.  Let your child know that you want them to be unafraid of trying and failing, and remind them that school requires persistence and patience.  This attitude is called a growth mindset, and students who have this take responsibility and ownership of their own learning.

Discuss your child’s goals for the year.  Goals help students reflect on their strengths and think about how they can make improvements on any weaknesses. Achieving goals can help them fulfill their dreams and envision their futures.  Talk with your child about what goals they want to set this school year and how you can support them.

If your child had a difficult school year last year, Walter says that now is the time to act. “It's best to send children into the school year feeling confident and ready as opposed to fearful and nervous," she says.   “A student who had trouble last school year risks falling further behind if they head into the new school year without fixing those problems.”  To learn more about Huntington's personalized learning plans for students of all ages, call 1-800 CAN-LEARN.

About Huntington
Huntington is the tutoring and test prep leader, providing service online and at its brick-and- mortar facilities. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, Algebra through Calculus, Chemistry, and other sciences. It preps for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams. Huntington programs develop the skills, confidence, and motivation to help students succeed and meet the needs of Common Core State Standards. Founded in 1977, Huntington’s mission is to give every student the best education possible. Learn how Huntington can help at