Preparing to Go Back to School

By: Audrey Okaneko

By the beginning of August my kids are usually asking to go to Staples to start looking at and buying back to school supplies.

Each year we are always unsure what supplies any one teacher might want. We’ve had some teachers that wanted a different notebook for every subject. We’ve had some teachers that wanted 5 subject notebooks to take notes for class. It is always so hard to second guess what the teacher may want.

Of course if you wait until the first or second day of school to buy your supplies, then many of the stores have very little left. Especially items like compasses. These can be very hard to find that first or second day of school.

One trick we learned was to buy everything we thought the teacher might want. If the kids went to school and discovered they did not need the item, we would then return it. It was much easier to return a few items, versus driving all over town looking for sold out items.

When children enter junior high and high school, the size of the school and the thought of changing classes all day long can be overwhelming. Our local schools give both junior high school and senior high school students their schedules a week before school actually starts. We always walked the path many times. We walked from class to class so that my children felt comfortable the first day of school. We also found bathrooms, the gym and the cafeteria. This walkthrough can help eliminate some of the stress of starting a new school.

Prior to school starting, visit either the library or the book store, so your child has a book to read during free time. I found that in the older grades, teachers expected kids to have a book that first week of school. As the school year developed the teachers often assigned a specific genre but that first week, free choice was almost always acceptable.

The week before school starts, we changed our bedtime and wake up time to coincide with the school schedule. No more sleeping until 8 or 9 a.m. By making this change a week ahead of time, it causes much less stress that first week of school.

All of these preparations have helped make back to school run quite smoothly in our home.

About the Author: Audrey Okaneko is mom to two girls. She can be reached at or visited at

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