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Ready, set … start the school year!

Posted by on August 7, 2012 – 7:03 am

While my kids have been in classes for a couple of weeks now (I helped make photocopies of blank quarterly report cards yesterday), the vast majority of East Valley students head back to school this week.
Classes began Monday in Higley Unified, Tempe Union and Kyrene Elementary school districts. Tempe Elementary School Students started Tuesday.
Apache Junction, Gilbert and Mesa, the largest school district in the state with more than 62,000 students, begin Wednesday.
With all this, thousands of Mesa, Chandler, Tempe, Queen Creek and Apache Junction Students will take their backpacks and start another year of learning and memories.
(All the while their family and friends back East and in the Midwest scratch their heads and ask, as they look at your first-day-of-school photos on Facebook and comment “Really? You go back to school in August in Arizona?”)
Well, for those families and students, for what it’s worth, here’s what I’ve learned as a mom in the last few weeks.
• Homework first: This wasn’t always my mantra, and I’m still getting used to it. But with the kids in second and fourth grade, there’s a lot more homework. So I’m really trying to get them to get it done – or at least part of it done – prior to dinner each night.
• No matter what time you have to be at school, it’s still possible to run late. I try to cram in as much as possible in the morning: dishes, reading, laundry, etc. And yes, my kids already have a tardy on their records. Did I mention they don’t start class until 11?
• Read the papers and email from the teachers, through and through. My 7-year-old daughter spent the bulk of the first full week claiming there was not a spelling test that Friday, so I sent the teacher an email. Apparently, I’d missed the note in the newsletter that, indeed, spelling was a top priority that week.
• Unless you’re on a sports team, it’s hard to get the wiggles out in the morning when it’s 90 degrees outside at 7 a.m. I’ve tried sending them out to ride their bikes, playing Wii Fit, going to the gym. Nothings really fit in the schedule without causing stress. We start evening sports once a week next week.
With that, I just looked at the clock to discover it’s time for some children to get up and get going. Happy school year, everyone! Check out our back-to-school guide for tips and advice from education experts.

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