Originally created 07/31/05

Strict schedule, review prepare pupils for return



Most kids play school at some point while growing up, but in Augusta, parents are getting in on the make-believe.

Although school hasn't started yet, some parents are preparing their school-age children for upcoming classes by setting earlier bedtimes, reviewing flashcards, and eating healthier foods.

"I'd rather be on a schedule," said Betsy Linder, mother of three.

"They behave better and they do better in school when they're on a decent schedule."

Mrs. Linder said that her children - 14, 10, and 2 - are all on the same schedule and she has started an academic review with her oldest two.

"If they read during the summer and keep up with some of the school things they like to do, you're better off when they start back," she said.

Experts agree - a little bit of back-to-school preparation goes a long way.

"I call it a dry run," said Emam Hoosain, professor of mathematics education at Augusta State University. "A few trips to the school, if it is open, to meet the personnel ... a trip to the bus stop ... will make the child feel comfortable."

Dr. Hoosain, who trains elementary school teachers, also said that making sure children have dental and eye check-ups before the school year starts will prevent them from missing class unnecessarily.

His Augusta State colleague, professor Paulette Harris, agrees that reacquainting children with a school schedule is important.

"In addition to school clothes, we need to get academic-ready," she said.

Dr. Harris, the university's Cree-Walker Chair for Education, recommended reading to children before bedtime and taking the whole family to the library.

Additionally, she said, children tend to eat more junk food during the summer, which is not conducive to learning.

"I don't think there's any magical potion, but getting in the right mind-set is key."

Reach Rebecca Trela at (706) 828-3904 or rebecca.trela@augustachronicle.com.

To get ready for school
- Try to get back into a routine.
- Get your child on a regular bedtime.
- Review some of last year's schoolwork.
- Read to younger children.
- Make sure your older children have completed their summer reading.
Source: Augusta State University and Betsy Linder