Most teachers will tell you that the key to a great school year is to invest time at the beginning of the year establishing classroom routines and rules.
The 3/33 approach in the classroom refers to spending the first three weeks focusing primarily on these expectations so that the remaining 33 weeks can be focused more on learning. The same can apply in the home, too.
This time of year is a great opportunity for parents to establish routines and expectations around the home to set a tone for a positive school year.
Everyone is in the mindset of making transitions this time of year, so it is a natural time to establish weekly “check-in” meetings with the family, more efficient homework routines, and systems for managing school papers, to name a few. It is even a great time to set the “attitude” for the school year, too.
For example, I recently overheard a mom and her son (I am guessing he was ten or eleven years-old) in the store buying back-to-school supplies.
The boy commented that he was not looking forward to school and his mom replied, “I know it is hard when summer is over, but I think you are going to have a great year with Mrs. Chet. You have a lot of friends in her class and I think you are going to find math much easier.” Her son replied, “Do you think I could get a B in math?” Mom answered, “Of course you can!” and they went on shopping.
I do not know if the conversation continued and I do not know exactly why they thought math would be so much better this year, but I do know that the mother was really helping her son develop a positive attitude as he faced the anticipation of going back to school.
All parents have this influence, even if some kids are more reluctant to admit it than the boy in the store. It is not always easy when parents are busy and feeling a little scattered with all of the transitions that back-to-school brings for them, too.
However, like in the classroom, the investment of these first three weeks will pay dividends throughout the school year!