Hello parents and students! The time has come for back to school shopping and prepping for the exciting new school year. The current pandemic has changed the ‘back to school’ dynamic drastically since now there is a mixed schedule of online and in-person classes. This makes it even more important to correctly prepare for the year ahead. According to the Chicago Tribute the “American Educational Research Journal found 52% of U.S. students experience learning losses in the five summers between the first and sixth grades”. The combination of quarantine and summer makes a statistic like this even more challenging as students summers have been even longer. Whether you or your children are heading back to online or in person classes, here are 5 tips to help you start off the year strong and on a positive note. 1. Create a study space. With online classes being the new normal, having a clean and bright study space is vital. If you are stuck at home having to do all your homework and zooms, being in a happy space will make things go much more smooth. Having a designated spot will also help you create a daily routine like getting up and going to school. For those of you who do still have in person classes, creating a designated homework area is still very beneficial for productivity. According to Small Business Trends, “science suggests that there is a type of light that boosts our productivity, and that is cool light“. Therefore, it is so important to create a study space with cool and natural light. 2. Keep an organized agenda. Whether your classes are online this year or not, having an agenda is the best way to stay on schedule and keep track of your assignments. A great tip to start your school year off right is to pencil in all due dates and assignments. Also, planners and agendas are great for creating to-do lists each day. Creating an everyday to-do list will help you in many ways. Elementum Money shares the 7 ways ‘to-do’ lists help you stay organized, such as creating a sense of accomplishment, reducing anxiety and stress, and helping to balance and prioritize your time. Do check out Buzzfeed for the list of the 34 best places to purchase your planner/agenda this year. 3. Create a routine. A great way to simulate a regular school day even when you are taking only online classes, is to create a routine for yourself such as setting a consistent time to wake up everyday or incorporating time to exercise or do a hobby. The Spruce gives 5 tips on how to create a lasting daily routine including making a list, scheduling your meals and breaks, and remembering to be flexible. Even if you are still attending in person classes, a routine is still a great way to stay on track and eliminate procrastinating. The time from when you get home from school until the end of the day is vital. Implementing a structured routine will help you efficiently complete all the work that needs to be done while also allowing time for extra curricular activities. 4. Create a relationship with your teachers. Being able to ask questions and get help from your teacher is super important whether your classes are via zoom or face to face. Being successful in your courses is heavily influenced by the instructor. If you build a professional relationship with your instructor it will be easier for you to ask questions and seek help when you are confused. If your classes are online it may be even more important to reach out to your teacher. Inspiration Education highlighted their top 7 ways to create a positive relationship with you teacher. They discuss how your performance, participation, and respect in class will help teachers think highly of you and can help your grade in the course. 5. Allow yourself to have a break. With all that is going on around us, it is important that once school starts and life gets a little more busy, you must give yourself time to take a breather. By incorporating all these tips into your back to school prep, you will be able to create a balanced schedule of school work, relaxing, and activities. Allowing yourself to take a break is extremely important for those of you who are only taking online classes. Both parents and students need to realize that doing virtual learning all day is stressful and a harsh stimulus. Even the students and parents attending school in person need to give themselves a break after school or in-between assignments. Medium explains in an article 5 great ways to take a break during homeschooling, including taking 5 minute break or an exercise break. With the 2020-2021 school year just around the corner, it is imperative to prepare for a different routine and lifestyle. The change to online classes makes it important to implement tips like creating a routine, getting organized with an agenda, and taking breaks. Students who are doing in person school also require these tips to make their school year get off to a great start! If you implement any of these tips into your back to school prep, do share it with us on social media! All the best students and parents!