Here in Central Florida back to school does not necessarily happen like it does in other parts of the country. We often go back to school a few weeks earlier than the Western or Central United States and it is still hot when we do. So, there are no cooler Fall days to help remind you it is time to get junior ready for another year of the three R’s: reading, writing, and arithmetic. Nevertheless, the first day of school is just around the corner. School starts for Orange and Seminole Counties on Aug. 10. Some private schools may begin instruction as late as Aug. 22.
By now you should have looked up your child’s school supply list. The standard elementary school supplies include glue sticks, folders, highlighters, No. 2 pencils, markers, binders, and hand sanitizer. You may want to get a new backpack for your child. They have outgrown Paw Patrol and want something a little more fashionable or the darn thing is falling apart. Either way, there are some choices about what kind of carrier to get.
For the kid who needs to have lots of stuff with them, a rolling backpack may be useful. Check with your school if they are allowed (some schools regulate the type of backpack students can have). Whatever you go with, strong materials and reinforced stitching are things to look out for in a quality carrier.
New clothes used to be a must-have at the start of the school year. With the price of things higher than usual and supply chain issues, you may want to save a little money and check out gently used kids’ clothes through a consignment shop such as Once Upon a Child, or through apps such as Facebook Marketplace or Letgo. You could save some money.
This is the first year that the Florida Standardized Assessment (FSA) testing, an end-of-year, make-or-break test, will not be administered. It is being replaced with three rounds of progress monitoring tests which will be given throughout the school year to help better track individual students’ performance and give them the tools they need to improve their knowledge of core subjects.
While there is still some controversy around this change, you may want to talk to your child about it so they know that instead of one big test at the end of the year, there will be three smaller tests to gauge how they are doing. Just like many adults, kids do better when they know what is coming rather than being surprised.
Open Up and Say Ahh
All public, charter, and private schools are required to have a record of Florida Certification of Immunization for each student, as well as a physical examination completed within the last 12 months. If your child is going to be playing any kind of sports, you will need to get a new sports physical for them for sure. Contact your primary care physician and make an appointment right away.
Back in the Swing of Things
With the interruption of in-person learning that happened during the 2020-21 school year, you and your child may still be a little out of practice with having a school routine. Now’s the time to get yourself and your kids mentally prepared for getting back on a schedule.
Talk to your kids to let them know that things are changing and work out an ease-back-into-school bedtime routine. Let your kids be a part of making this plan. A suggestion might be to gradually move bedtime up a little earlier each night the week before school begins. Try adding prizes or rewards for kids who are in bed on time.
Work from Home Hints
Many parents now work from home a few days a week or all the time. This may mean you ended up being a part-time summer camp counselor over the break. Juggling work and bored or rowdy kids can be tough. Now you cannot wait for your kids to go back to school so you can get some peace and quiet at your home office. Or conversely, the reduction of time with your kids could have you feeling lonesome or guilty. The point is your kids going back to school is a change for you too. Give yourself time to process this. For the parent who is missing their kids, get a recent snapshot of your child doing something with you and make it your office screensaver or frame it and put it on your desk. For the parent who is thrilled to have more work time, make sure to set aside time for a mental coffee break occasionally, just to make sure you are not overworking yourself.