Family Guide to Help Navigate Back-to-School Schedule

by Staff Reports

It’s back to school time not just for your child, but for the entire family. Suddenly, schedules, meals and activities revolve around everything from the tardy bell to Friday night football. Setting up a detailed calendar and schedule for the entire school year will help to maintain sanity for all involved.

School Handbook

The first thing you want to do is get a copy of the school handbook. This will give you all the information you need from school hours to dress code to snow days. While it’s not the most exciting reading, it’s well worth the time it takes. Most schools will have a copy on their websites, so check it out there. Usually, they will also have an annual school calendar available.


Whether your child is taking the bus or being driven to school, being late is not an option. If you’re late to the bus stop, the bus won’t wait, and schools are typically not very understanding about habitual tardiness. Students are expected to be ready to learn when the morning bell rings. Doing a couple of test drives in advance will give you a good idea as to how long it will take to get there on time.

Putting the school start and stop time on your calendar will help.


If schools are known for anything, it’s for having lots of extracurricular to-dos: after-school activities, classroom plays, athletic practices and events. Don’t forget open houses and parent-teacher conferences. The more you can add to your calendar in advance, the fewer surprises you’ll have.


As students get older, they often have big projects to turn in and important testing days. If you know about these in advance, placing these critical days on your calendar will help ensure you don’t overload anyone before a big day.

Days Off and School Breaks

Knowing when your kiddo won’t be in school can be as important as when they are. Put those half days and days off on your calendar now. This will be important if you’re scheduling a sitter or family getaways.

Planning Meals

Now that you’ve created your detailed schedule, this information can be used to create weekly menus. Here are some ideas to help save time and money, while fixing nutritious meals:

  1. Write your weekly menu plan on 3×5 cards (one day per card) to make it easy to swap menus for days with unexpected activities that pop up.
  2. Write your day’s activities on 3×5 cards.
  3. Match an activity card with a menu for that night. That way you’ll know which evening you can spend in the kitchen cooking and which evenings you’ll be playing taxi driver and need to get dinner on the table quickly without much effort.
  4. Choose a day to do a lot of cooking and make up some casseroles in advance to freeze. If you prepare them in disposable containers, you’ll have less clean up, too.
  5. Plan your menus around the sales at your local grocery stores.
  6. Try to prep food in advance for several nights. For example, if you have cheese that needs to be shredded for a taco dinner one night and a salad another night, grate all the cheese at once, refrigerating the portion to be used later.
  7. Leave one night per week free from menu planning. That leaves options open for leftovers, eating out or creating a spontaneous meal.
  8. Cook extras that can be used for lunches or snacks.
  9. Once your menu cards are created, make up a shopping list. The goal is to limit shopping trips, which will save time, impulse purchases and money. Two shopping trips a week should be adequate.