7 Tips Low Stress, Get You and Your Kids Back in the Education GrooveAug 13th, 2011 | By Jessica Parnell | Category: Homeschooling Tips
How to Reduce Anxiety Heading Back to the Classroom
As summer progresses and we get closer to the start of school, it isn’t unusual for you and your kids to get a bit stressed out. School is stressful, no matter where it is…and not just for the kids. Schedules become compressed, deadlines loom, and tempers can rise. Since your home may serve as the workplace, the school, and the family’s retreat, it’s important to prevent stress from building up.
Everyone knows it takes many miles to turn a supertanker, and getting back into the homeschooling groove is no different. In fact, many parents find it’s easier to slowly ease the kids back into the classroom than it is to announce (and enforce!) an arbitrary Monday homeschool start date.
Hopefully, you’re spending the summer working on your child’s less-formal education, but even if you’re not, don’t fret! Here are seven things you can do to get you and your child back into the learning groove before fall arrives!
1. Reset the Schedule
For many families, summertime means freedom…especially freedom from alarm clocks and tight schedules. Start reinstating schedules in August, but do it gradually. You want to slowly train your kids to put on their thinking caps in the morning. By incrementally changing wake-up times to earlier in the morning, you can make the back-to-school transition a good deal less painful. You may want to start limiting television, video games and other fun activities too…but do it slowly! You’re trying to begin the process of shifting their thinking, not punish them.
2. Organize the Classroom
Homeschoolers don’t typically give too much thought to the classroom. It might be an office, a spare bedroom or the dining room table, but they need to start thinking of their learning space in the context of school. A lazy, rainy day is a great opportunity to have them help set up the “school.” Have them put some thought into it…where to store books, where they’ll do their solo studying, where sports gear should be stowed, how the classroom should be laid out to minimize the impact of non-school life at home. Having them help prep the school can reduce the stress and anxiety kids feel about their looming return to the books.
3. Review the Curriculum
Taking some time with your child to review what they’ll be studying in the fall is another way to get them to transition into school mode. It also helps you – as the teacher – begin to make a lesson plan. Talk through any concerns your child may have about the material to help fend off stomach butterflies. When discussing their coursework with them, take the time to identify subjects that they’re excited about. Designing special activities or trips around those subjects they love allows them to look forward to fun educational events.
4. Sell Education!
Think back to when you were a kid. Was there ever a time you actually wanted summer to end? Probably not, and your child will be feeling the same thing. It’s up to you to help change their perception of school as a negative. Remind them of all the cool things they loved about school last year (activities, trips and the subjects they are passionate about are a good start), and invite them to discuss what they’d like to do next summer.
5. The Unforgettable Event
End of summer traditions are a great way for kids to recognize that change is coming! A special family back-to-school barbecue or that last camping trip of the year is a great way to help kids understand that change is coming.
6. Reschedule Mealtimes
Summer is great fun when it comes to eating, but mealtimes tend to become more erratic. When the season starts to wind down, it’s time to get your kids back to regular meals. Not only is it healthier for them (no ice cream right before bed!), but it also helps them re-conquer the school year routine. Best of all – they probably won’t recognize it as one of those back-to-school things you’re doing!
7. It’s All on You!
There’s no doubt about it…kids feed off of their parent’s emotions. If you’re feeling stressed out, chances are they will too. Sure, your kids are getting older and one more summer is passing into the history books, but it’s important for you to be confident and happy. Remember…sometimes your kids just need a little motivation!
What do you do to make the transition back to the classroom easier on your kids?
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