Moms Talk: Prep Your Child for Back-to-School, Yeah Now!

A local mom and teacher suggests ideas of how to get your child ready for school again, in some fun ways.

(Michele Szymanski is a math teacher at in Studio City, and she is also the sister of Studio City Patch editor Mike. She just returned from a train trip to Chicago and back with her son Donovan, and they got a lot of reading done along the way.)


As a parent and a mom and a teacher in Studio City, we are now feeling the middle of the summer slump.

We may have gone on vacation, finished camps and now try to figure out what to do.  We see the Back-to-School ads and are praying for that day to arrive just a little sooner, although as a teacher I am torn. But one thing to do that will be beneficial to your child and to the new teachers who get your wonderful child in September is to do some prep work with them.

This prep work can be fun also and not just feel like schoolwork to your child. As a math teacher I know how much kids do or don't retain over the summer. One of the best things to do is to review their multiplication facts.  That could be for any child from 3rd grade to   11th grade.

Do it in the car, with flash cards or there are numerous sites online that you can check out where they can practice.  Wouldn’t hurt for you to brush up on the facts too. If they still have notes from last year, go through them and have them explain to you what they learned.

 Email their teacher and ask what they can do to get ready for the next grade.  Have middle school or above children help figure out tips or tax when you go out. I have my 9-year-old figure out a tip. There are also many websites to practice problem solving and skills like Coolmath.com. 

Have kids summarize a TV show or movie they watched or a book they read.  That is a big standard in English that they should know how to summarize information. Ask what they think was the climax of the story, tv show or movie.

Have them just read!!!  Right now I am having my 9 –year-old choose a different place to read each day for 30 minutes and we are keeping track so we can see how many different places we read. It might be on the deck, upstairs at a park ect.  It makes it more fun that way. Do crossword puzzles, Sudoko or other games like that.

Just ask your child if there is anything they remembered from last year in science or geography. Have them draw things they remembered or have their friends come over and do a pretend class and try and recreate some of the things they learned. 

It is important that kids get back into the groove before the first day of school and do a little refresher of what they learned.  It makes it easier on them, and the teacher!

Here are some good places to review.  Most are free.  Or just Google a topic and you would be surprised to see how much is out there. The playkidsgames site has great timed practice. 

Coolmath com  http://coolmath-games.com


Funbrain.com  http://www.funbrain.com

Edhelper.com http://www.Edhelper.comThemathgames.com

Playkidsgames.com at http://Playkidsgames.com

Google CST practice tests and do some for the next grade level  (just make it more of a game this time, a give a nickel for each one they get right )

Michele August 11, 2011 at 05:23 PM
I also saw this interesting article http://healthland.time.com/2011/08/08/kids-who-hang-out-on-facebook-do-worse-in-school/ when I ask my students how much time they spend on facebook (and i see online also how long they spend) some spend up to 4 hours a day!!!! the majority spend at least 2 hours a day! they tell me their parents dont know they spend that much time on it. so please parents, monitor what they are doing. i personally put limits during the school week. just a suggestion.


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