Back To School Advice For Parents Who Rock!

If you have four kids like I do, they've worn you out all summer and you're most happy that school is starting tomorrow. You've robustly walked up and down the aisles happily (or not) tossing rulers, notebooks, paper towels, etc., into your cart.

You've also probably just finished the grocery shopping and added a bunch of snacks, juices, luncheon meat, and other processed items do you won't have to give your kids lunch money every single day.

New clothes have already been purchased and they're currently laid out on your child's bed as a painful reminder to them that it's time to get back into work mode.

All these things are typical actions to get ready for back to school, but as a Mother and History teacher, I want to share a few more things you can and should do to get the year started off right!

1. We all know that parents are busy and sometimes you can't make it to the conference or back to school night despite having good intentions to be there. Here's what you can do to stay in touch with your child's teacher. Send their teacher(s) an email introducing yourself, providing contact information, and letting them know that you will contact them periodically to check in on your child.

2. If you can, please provide extra supplies for your child's teacher. Teachers in Philadelphia get $100 added to their check in September to spend on supplies. If we don't turn in a receipt proving that we spent money, (this is laughable considering we spend hundreds sometimes thousands of dollars on supplies) that money gets deducted from our check in the Spring. Also, some of our students don't have as stable of an economic life as others, so by bringing in extra supplies, you will help out another child (AND I PROMISE 99% of us do NOT return surplus products for money at Walmart).

3. Ask your child at least once a week what they've learned in school! Also ask them if anything happened that you should know about. If their responses give you pause for concern, contact the teacher immediately. If they are not forthcoming, you may have to go higher in the chain. Remember, you are your child's best advocate.

4. During back to school night, take note of the posters hanging in the room. If you notice a lack of diversity, especially in a history class (unless it's a subject like African American History) mention that. If you notice all of the books in the classroom library feature no children of color, mention that and offer some suggestions to rectify this. Representation matters.

5. Be sure that your numbers/emails are provided to your child's teacher so they can contact you when needed and always, always, always, check your child's grades. Also register for google classrooms if the teachers have it so that you can see if they actually have "homework". Let's face it, the older our kids get, the more creative stories they tell about why their book bag is empty every day.

6. Always encourage your child to do their best in school and make wise friendship decisions.

7. Ask your child's teacher if they participate in Black Lives Matter At School Week of Action, yes this is a thing and entire schools participate all week as well as individual teachers in the city of Philadelphia and beyond! Check out the link to find out more information about that.

8. Remember, it's going to be about 90 degrees or higher every day next week. Guess what, there's no air conditioning in many of the schools, so prepare to possibly have half days next week.

9. Send your child to school with healthy snacks and lunch choices! Always freeze a water the night before and put it in their lunch box so that they can have a refreshing and safe (there's lead in our water) drinking option as the hot day wears on.

10. Finally, if you know that your hours are not conducive to attending conferences and other events at their school, consider appointing a village sponsor from within your circle like an Aunt, Close Friend, Significant Other etc., to represent for you and child.

By following some of the above steps, hopefully, a wonderful three way relationship will be formed between teacher, student, and child that will ensure a great academic year for everyone!

How else do you prepare for the school year? Let me know in the comments below!


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