For Parents & Teachers: Back to School Friday Finds

picture of back to school items, pens, Kindle, iPad, and chocolate

Here are fun, inspiring finds from my past week –

  • Worshipful Music: Listen to CeCe Winans sing about the goodness of God – let her help you praise God today!
  • Inspiring Podcast: Listen to Carey Nieuwhof and Malcolm Gladwell in this interview and think about your hobbies and how they are helping you develop the habit of happiness!
  • Fun Reality TV: Watch Kendra Adachi “lazy genius” a meal plan!
  • Tasty Chocolate: Find this Eating Evolved Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt Bar and enjoy! Only five easy “organic” ingredients: Cacao, Coconut Sugar, Cacao Butter, Almonds, and Himalayan Sea Salt (dairy-free!).
  • Entertaining Book: Start a mystery series with some history written by a master storyteller! I just started the Cork O’Conner series, reading Iron Lake, and I’m intrigued. It’s a mystery about an ex-cop involved in a conspiracy and possible corruption, but it also explores the history of the Anishinaabe in the Great Lakes area. It is also the first book in a series of about 20 novels!

August is Back to School Month

August always gets me thinking about school. I lived most of my life on a school schedule, so this feels like the “new year” season to me! Anyway, for something a bit different, most of my Friday Finds today address a few topics in prepping for school – tips, lunches, podcasts for kids, and math! Why math, you say – you must not know me! As a former math teacher, I still want to spread the love and beauty of math to our younger generation! (I held back on the math section, lol! If you need more thoughts on math, message me! I’m that person!)

Five Tips for Preparing for School

These may be “old hat” to some of you, but if this is your first year sending a child to school, these tips may be helpful:

  • Questions: The principal and teachers at school want to alleviate parents’ concerns so ask your questions. But also realize they have many parents asking and are still prepping for those first days of school. Answering email may not be their first priority. Be patient and kind in waiting.
  • Enthusiasm: Encourage your children by telling some of your favorite school stories and what you loved about school. Talk about making new friends, playing together on the playground, reading new stories, and learning new things. Role play or use toys to act out going to school help ease the transition.
  • Routine: Start practicing the school routine a week or so before school starts. Get up early, eat breakfast, pack a lunch, pick out clothes to wear, and go to bed on time. Read a new picture book each day about going to school.
  • Ownership: Let your child choose the clothes he will wear, organizing them on hooks in his bedroom for each day of the week. Let her choose the foods she wants to pack for lunch and take her shopping for them.
  • Emotional Exhaustion: Young children may experience emotional exhaustion during the first weeks of school. You might notice more meltdowns in the afternoons or evenings. Keep in mind that going to school requires new emotional skills. If your child tends toward introversion, the school may be over-stimulating. He may need some space and downtime to regroup each afternoon while learning to manage his feelings.

Podcasts for kids – in and out of the classroom!

Podcasts are popular! They provide current, up-to-date information while promoting listening skills. And listening improves reading! For my teacher friends, learn more about why you might want to use podcasts in the classroom at this link!

How might you use one or more of these podcasts?

  1. Noodle Loaf (Music for Preschool/Pre-K)
  2. Brains On (Science)
  3. Tumble (Science – discoveries)
  4. RadioLab for Kids
  5. StarTalk Radio Show (Science for Tweens/Teens)
  6. What If World (ELA, creative storytelling)
  7. But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids (Exploring kids’ questions)
  8. The Past & The Curious (History)
  9. The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd (History, Drama)
  10. Your Classical Story Time (Fairy Tales)

School Lunches

Putting together school lunches can be challenging. Creating reusable shopping lists, prepping on the weekend, and combining whole and healthy foods and a few convenience items will help. So will this website, 100 Days of Real Food. Lisa has collections of ideas for school lunches. Hers may be the best collection on the Internet! She describes their prepping lunch routine and ways to prepare ahead of time.

One more site – how to make your own “lunch-ables!

Help for Math at Home & in the Classroom

Online Math Manipulatives

Explanations for Math Homework

Math for Elementary Teachers and Parents

Do you ever wonder about the progression of teaching and learning about math concepts in the elementary school math classroom? Graham Fletchy has done a great job explaining that progression. These are a must-see for elementary and middle school teachers. They are also super helpful to parents who want to understand math instruction better.

Well – if you read to the bottom of this post, you are a champ!
What back-to-school tip will you share with me in the comments?


Father, you are our creator, the one who holds our world together. There is nothing that escapes your attention. Our help comes from you, and in you, we have peace.

We pray for peace to reign in our schools; may the hearts and minds of educators and students be free from conflict. Knit their hearts together in purpose.

Protect our schools; make them safe havens for learning.

We pray for the preparation in school buildings, new teacher orientations, and homes where the anticipation of the first day is building. Let us respond with hope as the days unfold.

May our teachers find joy in their work, and especially joy in the faces of their students. May our children find joy in developing new relationships and especially joy in learning.

In all things, even schooling, your will, your way, your glory! Amen.

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