Back to School Tips

Help your child succeed this school year!

Millions of children throughout California head back to school this month. Well-informed, engaged parents make a vital difference in helping students and schools succeed. When families, schools and communities work as partners, student achievement is boosted and children are better prepared to lead happy and productive lives.

PTA connects families and schools, and one of the best things about a new school year is the opportunity to be involved in helping your child, your school, and your community. As the 2014-15 school year approaches, California State PTA shares six key tips all parents need to know this back-to-school season. (Also available in Spanish.)

Available to download and print in English and Spanish.


The American Academy of Pediatrics shares some suggestions on making the first day of school easier.

  • Remind your child that there are probably a lot of students who are uneasy about the first day of school. Teachers know that students are anxious and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.
  • Point out the positive aspects of starting school: It will be fun! Your child will see old friends and meet new ones. Refresh their positive memories about previous years.
  • Find another child in the neighborhood with whom your youngster can walk to school or ride with on the bus.
  • If you feel it is appropriate, drive your child (or walk) to school and pick her up on the first day.

Be sure to also take a look at tips for easing transition for students with disabilities.


Working together, parents and teachers give kids their best chance to learn. California State PTA and the California Teachers Association joined forces to offer seven tips for you that will give your children the best opportunity to succeed in school.

  1. Just Ask. Ask your children what they studied in class today — what they liked and what they learned. Asking questions shows that school is important.
  2. Quiet Study. Choose a place for home study and make sure the room is quiet during that time. Creating a quiet place goes a long way toward helping your children learn.
  3. Regular Schedule. Set up a certain time of day that is dedicated to homework. Follow up with your children to be sure their homework is complete and turned in on time.
  4. Learn Together. If you want your children to read their assignments, give yourself an assignment, too. When it's time for them to do homework, take a break and spend a few minutes reading a book, magazine or newspaper.
  5. Learn Everywhere. Increase your children's interest in homework by connecting school to everyday life. For instance, your children can learn fractions and measurements while you prepare favorite foods together.
  6. Meet Their Teachers. Meet with your children's teachers to find out what they are learning and discuss their progress in school.
  7. Praise Helps. Praise your children for successfully completing homework. Nothing encourages children more than praise from their parents

Available to download and print in English, Spanish, Arabic, Armenian, Cambodian, Chinese, Hmong, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese.


Parents and families play an important role in the homework process. Together, families can help children develop good study habits and attitudes that lead to becoming lifelong learners. Download an informational flier to help your student get the most out of homework.

Some things to ask about homework

  • Your child's teacher can tell you, usually at Back-to-School Night, how much time he or she expects students to spend on homework.
  • Ask your principal, school site council or PTA if your school or district has a homework policy, including how to handle homework if your child needs to be absent.

How much time should my child spend on homework each night?

Most educators agree:

  • For children in grades K-2, homework is more effective when it does not exceed 20 minutes each school day.
  • Older children, in grades 3-6, can handle 30-60 minutes a day.
  • For kids in middle and high school, two hours of homework maybe assigned.

California State PTA takes a strong stand in support of homework quality by passing a resolution titled, "Homework: Quality Over Quantity." Learn more about this newly adopted resolution.


California State PTA developed the following parent resource guides in partnership with the National Education Association.