Tips: Education Professor Provides Tips on Heading Back to School

Back to School Photo
Bob Spires

Education professor Bob Spires knows this school year will be unlike any other. After many families across the country and world participated in fully-remote or hybrid in-person and virtual education experiences as a result of the panedmic, getting back to school this year might take some extra time, energy, and patience.

Spires suggests the following tips to make your initial return and then the remainder of the school year work best for your family:

Tip 1: Routine

It’s important to get back to a routine before the first day of class. At least a week before school starts back in the fall, start practicing. Implement that earlier bedtime, get up with an alarm, and eat a healthy breakfast. Don’t wait until the first day of school to break bad summertime habits. Give yourself and your family plenty of time to adjust, and don’t expect the night before the first day of school to be enough time. 

Tip 2: Grace

I recommend giving everyone, and I do mean everyone, some grace. That goes for your kids, your spouse, your childrens’ teachers, and yourself. Empathy is always important, but will be paramount as we sort through the challenges, stressors, and hurdles of a new school year, especially following pandemic conditions. Stress is difficult to measure and may not be apparent right away. Talk to your kids about potential challenges and encourage them to share concerns with you. 

Tip 3: Flexibility

Many students spent an entire year learning virtually, and that’s a long time to be away from school. Plus, hiccups, including scheduling problems and bus issues, are likely to last longer than a typical year as many schools have gone from about 30 to 100% capacity. Set those expectations about flexibility with your children. What’s the backup plan if the bus doesn’t come? What if you leave supplies you need at home because you aren’t used to taking them to school? Talking about these potential hang ups in advance can prevent panicking. 

Tip 4: Strategy

Many of the strategies we employed for virtual learning strategies will still apply. Set up a quiet place in the house to study and read. The pandemic taught many of us that we all need a work area where we can be free of distractions and concentrate. Keep using those study habits that worked well remotely. Things that worked during the day for virtual learners, like wearing earbuds while completing work, for example, might also work well for homework or some teachers may still allow that in the classroom. 

Tip 5: Extra Curriculars 

I would encourage families to take advantage of extra curriculars at school. It’s a great time to enjoy some of the services, clubs, and programs available through school. After school care, tutoring, clubs, sports, and volunteering are all options. Schools may also be offering new activities this year, or ones that were on hiatus during the pandemic, so take advantage of them if you can.