Parents Spend More Time Shopping for School Supplies than in Academic Preparation for the School Year

A national survey recently conducted by Léger Marketing* for Oxford Learning — Canada’s leader in supplementary education with more than 25 years of experience — revealed that the majority of Canadian parents (86 per cent) spend more time shopping for school supplies then they do mentally preparing their children for the start of a new school year.

preperation done before school year

While many parents feel that their children are academically prepared for a new school year (66 per cent), only a quarter say their children practiced their math and reading over the summer (27 per cent).

The experts at Oxford Learning recommend that parents help their children make the back-to-school adjustment period easier and help prime them for a successful start to the school year by mentally preparing them before school starts.

“It is critical to develop strong learning habits at the start of the school year as students need to hit the ground running from day one, or they can easily fall behind. Students can spend up to two months simply adjusting to academic schedules and this could lead to serious learning gaps causing students to fall behind their peers,” says Dr. Nick Whitehead, Co-founder and President of Oxford Learning.  “The best back-to-school preparation happens when students get their brains ready for the school year ahead.  The sooner students are prepared to learn, the easier the transition to classroom becomes.”

Smart Steps to a New School Year

When it comes to back-to-school prep, getting students ready for the classroom involves more than just new school supplies and an updated wardrobe.  Students need to get mentally focused for their return to school.  Once school starts, the habits and routines that students develop during the first weeks are critical, and can often set the pace for the entire year.

“Children who have not maintained their learning momentum throughout the summer will have difficulties adjusting to the demands of a new school year,” says Dr. Whitehead.  “Like a marathon runner who hasn’t trained for a race for two months, performance after an extended period of rest is rarely top-form. Luckily, learning loss is avoidable with a few adjustments, even just a week before school starts.

  1. Begin early. It is never too late to implement positive changes that can lead to better grades. However, the earlier that students get on track, the easier it is to stay there.
  1. TV off.  Homework on.  Start limiting screen time before school begins. Social networks, gaming, TVs, and cell phones are the biggest student distractions.  Studies show that students can spend up to 7 hours per day online.  Create a screen-time schedule and make homework the priority.
  1. Get informed. Parents should develop regular communication with teachers. Be informed of important school dates (big projects, standardized testing) well in advance to avoid last-minute scrambles.
  1. Get organized.  Develop a strategy to build rely on for the whole year:
  • Use a family planner to manage school, family and extracurricular activities
  • Use technology to help ensure important dates and activities are loaded into everyone’s schedule.
  • Review notes and develop a homework routine
  • Set a study schedule
  • Eat right
  • Get enough sleep
  1. Break bad habits.  Don’t fall back into old routines and bad habits.  Start this year with a fresh and new positive routine.  Good routines are just as easy to form as bad ones!
  1. Get help.  Avoid struggling this year from the get-go by making the decision to get professional educational support for children.
  1. Don’t wait and see. If a child had difficulties last year, get help from day one and put struggles behind you.

“Educational shortcomings don’t need to follow students year after year.  Each new school year offers a new opportunity to address these issues and make lasting educational changes,” says Dr. Whitehead.  “The brain is an amazing organ, capable of performing outstanding feats, including unlearning bad habits and developing new and more effective ways of thinking.”

Back-to-School Countdown Tips!

Home habits are as important as learning habits because they influence school performance.  After a long summer, re-adjusting sleeping and eating routines before the school year begins helps to make the transition back to the classroom run smoothly:

  • Use an alarm clock to avoid oversleeping
  • Eat breakfast to keep the mind alert
    • Make lunches the night before
  • Plan clothing choices the night before to avoid the morning rush
  • Determine a spot for the book bag.  Make sure that it is packed with everything students need for the next day and where it should be before going to sleep.

What Can You Do To Keep Your Child’s Brain Active Before School Starts?

“By re-introducing school-year habits and routines well before school begins, and by engaging in activities that kick the brain into high gear, children naturally shift out of the summer mindset and get ready for a year of learning,” says Dr. Whitehead. “We help students think critically, make sense of new concepts and develop an awareness of how well they are learning, giving them the skills they need to succeed.”

More Great Back-to-School Tips!

Getting your child prepared — regardless of whether they are in kindergarten or a senior in high school — is a must. Check out Oxford Learning’s Tip Sheet to help make the transition from summer to back-to-school.

About Oxford Learning

Established in 1984, Oxford Learning has grown to include more than 120 learning centres across Canada and the United States.  Oxford Learning goes beyond tutoring to help students reach their learning potential, not just for one grade or one year, but for a lifetime.  Oxford Learning’s unique programs teach children to learn how to learn.  Just a few hours a week can make a world of difference in developing the right skills and habits to succeed. No matter what the subject or grade level, Oxford Learning breaks the cycle of hiring tutors year after year.  Oxford Learning’s proprietary Dynamic Diagnostic Assessment™ allows Oxford Learning staff to get to know each child, from academic standing to skill gaps and learning potential.  With the goal of improved grades, motivation, and confidence for any child, Oxford Learning offers three core programs: Little Readers®, for children ages 3 to 6; Beyond Tutoring® for those in grades 1 to 8; Advantage High School Success™ for kids in grades 9 to 12.