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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, July 23, 2007

Ready, set, school!

By Zenaida Serrano
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Are your kids prepared to go back to school? The first day of school is just a week away for most students statewide — though some year-round schools are already in session, and others will start on a staggered calendar.

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Share your school news with your community. The Honolulu Advertiser can help:

  • Submit articles about the good things happening at your child's school to our community Web sites at www.HonoluluAdvertiser.com.

  • Include your favorite school snapshot in our photo gallery at www.HonoluluAdvertiser.com.

  • Chat about back-to-school issues at www.HawaiiMoms.com.

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    Are your kids prepared to go back to school? The first day of school is just a week away for most students statewide — though some year-round schools are already in session, and others will start on a staggered calendar.

    We've got five quick tips, covering supplies, schedules, safety and more, to help the entire 'ohana get ready.



    By now, you should have all or most of your child's required school supplies. If not, get an official list, available at most stores that sell supplies. Then hit those sales. Don't forget to label items with your child's name before the first day.

    A note on backpacks: Choose one with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends. The organization advises that you pack light, with heavier items closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 percent to 20 percent of the student's body weight. Always use both shoulder straps, and consider a rolling backpack.


    The entire family should discuss schedules — school, extracurricular and work — so parents and kids know when and where everyone will be throughout the day.

    To keep things organized and running smoothly each month, scholastic.com suggests setting up an area with a large calendar so the whole family can see everyone else's schedules and plans for that month. Pen in after-school activities, lessons, play dates and family time.

    Nearby, set up file baskets or bins marked "To be Signed," "From School" and "To School," so your child can deposit papers you need to see in a regular place right after school and pick up things to go "To School" each morning.


    Make sure your children know their way to school and back, as well as their way around campus if it's the first day at a new school. This is also a good time to talk about pedestrian safety — particularly minding traffic signals, and staying within crosswalks.


    The first day of school is not the time to figure out how to get through a crazy morning. "Plan ahead to send your school children out the door in a happy mood," writes Cynthia Townley Ewer of organizedhome.com. She offers these tips:

  • Each evening, think ahead to the following morning and prepare accordingly.

  • Lay out children's clothing the night before.

  • Multichild house-holds may need a bathroom schedule so that everyone gets equal time before the mirror.


    Don't hesitate to establish a relationship now with your child's school and teachers, suggests Sue Wright-Maximo, 33, a mother of three children and president of the Parent Teacher Student Association of Holomua Elementary School in 'Ewa Beach.

    She recommends you open a line of contact with the school, to learn about new school programs or changes to existing policies.

    "Another thing that I still do for all my children (who are in elementary, middle and high schools) is keep in touch with their teachers, getting to know them and making sure that they know that I am here to help them in my children's education," Wright-Maximo said. Introduce yourself to your child's teacher, and be sure to stay in touch throughout the year to discuss everything from assignments to classroom concerns.


    Figured out a way to avoid the morning meltdown, or cope with the back-to-school traffic jam? Got a great idea for getting a child excited about math? We want to hear from you! We’re looking for your best Back to School tips to publish and post online. E-mail them to hawaii@honoluluadvertiser.com.

    Reach Zenaida Serrano at zserrano@honoluluadvertiser.com.