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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, January 10, 2010

School's back in session time to get organized


By Doreen Nagle

The holidays are (almost all) boxed up and put into its hiding place until next year; and now the kids are starting the second half of their school year. Make some time soon to revisit routines, supplies and schedules to see what works, what doesn't for the rest of the school year.

• Supplies: Check on the condition of your child's school supplies such as pencils, sharpeners, pens, glue sticks, notebooks, as well as specialty equipment such as calculators, hole puncher, staplers, poster board, colored pencils. Considering the season, include hand sanitizer in everyone's backpack.

• What about lunch? Is your child enjoying school lunch and is there a variety of nutritiously prepared meals available at a reasonable rate? Unless your school is preparing daily highly nutritious lunches, compromise with your child by allowing one or two school lunches a week and the rest from home.

SCHEDULES

• Mornings: Make mornings less hectic by preparing as much as you can before bedtime. This includes clothes, organizing school necessities including homework, special projects, permission slips or other papers to be signed and returned, lunch and whatever else is needed to get your child out the door.

• Evenings: Empty your child's pack and search for notes meant for you, homework and other notices to be returned as well as returned class work. After a break for some fun or afterschool activities, assist your child with her homework and inquire about upcoming assignments.

• Workspace: Observe your child as he does homework. Does he have enough space? Is there sufficient task lighting? Even if your child likes to work on the floor or bed, make a desk or table available for the times it will be needed.

TIP FROM THE PARENTING TRENCHES

• Keep in touch with your child's teachers as the semester progresses. Check with each of your child's teachers to see what is the best way to make contact for regular updates. If your child is in middle or high school, you should not feel your ability to stay in touch with assignments or behavior has diminished.

Doreen Nagle is author of "But I Don't Feel Too Old to Be a Mommy" (HCI).