Your Child’s Advocate

http://beorganized.fcorgp.com/content/bonnie-marcus
Stationary from the Bonnie Marcus Collection

It is the beginning of the school year and the perfect time to latch onto your child’s excitement for school before it fades away and possible bad habits start to creep in, resurface, etc.  I’m sure you all have received some version of their students rights and responsibilities handbook that requires your signature, updated school supply lists, and countless emergency care forms.  Well, take the time to set your child up for a year of success.  It will save you some stress and alert your child that you are in their corner and plan on being involved as much as possible.  Here is a list of tips:

1.  Send an email – make it personal, introduce yourself and give a little background about your child that the teacher may not get from looking at past standardized test scores.  This will accomplish a few things.  First, your email address will now be in their system and they will be able to easily reach you throughout the day if issues arise in the classroom.  As a teacher myself, I know that it is easier to get time to respond to an email than to make a call.  Also, my emails like many other educators come directly to my phone.  Secondly, the teacher will be able to use the information within your email to better help the child in front of them.  Thirdly, the earlier this done, the quicker it is for a teacher to put a face of one of their 120 students with a name.

2.  If your child has special needs or requires accommodations in the classroom, it is necessary to set up an appointment with the guidance counselor early in the year along with core teachers to let them know what works for your kiddo and update information on any IEP’s or 504’s.  Also, you will be able to adjust to changes that may occur.  Note:  certain accommodations given in elementary are not provided in middle school.

3.  See if you can obtain an extra copy of the textbooks to keep at home.  Some schools offer online textbooks.  Attach the class syllabus ( if given) or the county’s pacing guide to each book.  This way you know what should be covered and around about when.

4.  Have a sit down with your child and agree upon a schedule for when they return home for school.  When is snack time, homework time, chore time, tv time, etc.  Also, be clear of your expectations in regards to homework.  Designate a spot for them to complete homework everyday after school.  Make sure it is free from distractions and supplies are readily available, pencil sharpener, ruler, protractor, dictionary, thesaurus, pencils, pens, crayons, markers, colored pencils, paper, etc.

5.  Know that you can request a detailed progress report at anytime during the quarter.  You do not have to wait for interim and end of quarter report cards to be surprised by your child’s grades.

6.  Try as hard as you can to attend all orientations, back to school nights, and touch bases.

7.  Remember that most schools provide after school homework clubs so that students can get work done and ask questions.  This is free and may save you money on a tutor.  Also, there is a bus that usually takes the, home afterwards.  Check with your school.

8.  Preview the list of clubs and activities that your child’s school offers. Encourage them to get involved.  It will allow them to feel like part of the school and they will become even more vested in being successful there.

I hope this helps and if there are any questions, please feel free to reply to this post.  Also, another good idea would be to purchase an accordion folder to store report cards, awards, etc so that you have an archive of your child’s academic career.

* If you like the above stationary, please visit: http://beorganized.fcorgp.com/content/bonnie-marcus

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Taking on too much

MasterToDolistI am the queen of taking on too much.  I am a teacher, graduate student, mother of two (and all that entails), business partner, writing a novel, blogging, attendee of various workshops, compiling my poetry book, reading professional development books for my job, and studying for my real estate license.  There are probably a few other things that i haven’t mentioned but, I find that I am always tired and sometimes irritable.

Recently I went back to organizing my life and various appointments in my planner.  It works for the most part until I forget that I have one (ha!).  As I get older, I am learning to use a word that made me very uncomfortable before, “No”.  Only two letters, yet it feels like utter betrayal.  That feeling is beginning to subside for me a little as I reflect on what is important to me.  My family is important to me.  My faith is important to me.  My health is important to me (I was diagnosed with MS- but I am not ready to write fully on that just yet).  So, the betrayal that “No” ushers in doesn’t quite have the same impact any longer.

I am one person and I know that I can do amazing things in this lifetime.  I can give back and also take care of myself but, that means prioritizing and putting what I value first.  If you are encountering the same experience, just list out your top 3-4 priorities.  When other things come up and if they are not a necessity, ask yourself “does this align with my priorities/what I value”?  Then, kindly tell that task or that person I’ll need to take a rain check.

Live happy, well, and healthy