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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Back-to-School Resources for Parents

Find resources to help children begin school with a positive mindset, support their transition into a new school year, and prepare them for fall learning.

Back-to-School Advice and Checklists

  • Best Back-to-School Tips (Greater Good Science Center, 2012)

    In this podcast, Rona Renner R.N. and Christine Carter, Ph.D. offer advice about how to best prepare children to head back to school through the deliberate development of morning routines. You may also want to read Carter’s post, "Getting Back in the School Year Routine."

  • Essential Back-to-School List for Parents: The One the School Doesn’t Give You (Washington State Family and Community Engagement Trust)

    This list of 10 essential strategies addresses necessary back-to-school preparation not addressed in the usual back-to-school supplies lists.

  • 19 Meaningful Questions You Should Ask Your Child’s Teacher, by Terry Heick (Edutopia, 2013)

    Forget about all the vague, superficial information out there. Heick cuts to the chase with 19 meaningful questions parents can ask their children's teachers at the beginning of the school year.

  • Back to School (Great Schools)

    From back-to-school shopping on a budget, to getting organized, to supporting children academically, these back-to-school articles from GreatSchools will help you round out the preparation for fall. Before back-to-school night, you may want to read their article on "Back-to-School Night Basics."

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Easing the Back-to-School Transition

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Tech Tips for a New School Year

  • A Parent’s Guide to Twitter and Education, by Joe Mazza (Edutopia, 2012)

    For parents, Twitter offers a variety of hashtags related to parenting and partnering with schools. #PTChat, a weekly parent-teacher chat, is just one of these resources. Principal and Parent-Teacher Chat moderator Mazza explains the benefits of participation for parents and educators alike.

  • Parents’ Top 12 Back-to-School Tech Questions, by Caroline Knorr (Common Sense Media, 2013)

    Explore back-to-school advice and guidance related to some key concerns of parents around managing technology in school and at home. If you’re a parent of a teen, you may also want to check out Common Sense Media’s list of "15 Sites and Apps Kids are Heading to Beyond Facebook” before your teen heads back to school.

  • Creating a Family Media Agreement: How to Have the Conversation, by Matt Levinson (Edutopia, 2013)

    Principal and author Levinson offers a framework for creating a family agreement on media use, a practice that might be helpful as you consider balancing media use and time on schoolwork during the first weeks of school.

For more tips and guidance about managing media and technology use, check out these other posts from Edutopia:

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Gearing Up for Fall Learning

  • Five-Minute Film Festival: Nine Boosts for Summer Learning, by Amy Erin Borovoy (Edutopia, 2013)

    VideoAmy shares a playlist of videos with fun ideas to re-engage kids in their learning process during the last days of summer.

  • School Success Prep: Growth Mindset Praise (Greater Good Science Center, 2011)

    In this podcast, part of a larger back-to-school series, Rona Renner, R.N., and Christine Carter, Ph.D. discuss how to talk to kids about schoolwork.

  • Six Ways to Get Your Child Back Into the Learning Groove (National Center for Learning Disabilities)

    Students with learning disabilities may find the transition back to school particularly difficult; though written with these students in mind, these suggestions for helping children switch from “relax mode” to “learn mode” include relevant tips for all families. You’ll also find a list of books about back-to-school that parents and children of all ages can read together.

  • What Do Parents Need to Know About the Common Core? by Anne O’Brien (Edutopia, 2014)

    Wondering how you can get involved to increase awareness and build capacity to support learning under the Common Core in a new school year? O'Brien provides parents with a variety of resources.

  • Homework Guide, by Peg Dawson, Ed.D., NCSP (National Association of School Psychologists)

    With a new school year comes the return of homework. Dawson discusses the mixed research on homework’s effects, reasonable homework expectations, and strategies that parents can use to reduce homework hassles.

For more strategies for parents around homework, take a look at these blogs from Edutopia:

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The Power of Parental Involvement

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