Mrs. James answers readers' questions about education. Send yours today: columbusparent@thisweeknews.com.

Give it your BESTO!

Bed and breakfast
Be sure your child goes to bed early and eats a good breakfast before coming to school. Without even using the psychic powers that my students swear I have, I can always tell which students have skipped breakfast and stayed up too late.

They are not as sharp/quick as the other kids with basic tasks, tend to zone out even when I'm not boring them to death, and seem to spend the entire day trying to play catch up. They're moodier, forgetful and are more apt to get into trouble than the other kids. Trust me on this one. Get them to bed and get them breakfast!

Enthusiasm
I'm no doctor or medical professional, but I strongly believe that enthusiasm is contagious! If you are excited about your child's schooling, they will most likely be excited too. Speak positively when referring to school. Refrain from saying statements around your kids such as, "Ugh, why does this teacher give so much homework?!" or "My goodness gracious, how many stinking shapes do we have to cut and paste on this thing?"

Your children will live what they learn; and most of the time they learn when you aren't deliberately trying to teach them. Here's a positive idea: If they're reading The Giver by Lois Lowry (love that book by the way) in their reading class, pick up your own copy and read along with them. It will be great family bonding time and will set a great example for your kids. E-mail me if you'd like more suggestions on how to be more enthusiastic!

Set realistic and measurable goals
Sit down with your child(ren) ASAP and write down daily, monthly, and 9-week goals. Limit it to four or five total. Consistency will be key on your part. If the daily goal is to keep a homework log, you must be sure to check it every day. Be sure to make your goals realistic and measurable! Remember to write them down and visit them often.

Teacher relationships
Build positive relationships with teachers as early as possible. Make contact early in the year and be sure you have e-mail addresses/contact information for all of them. Remember, you and your children's teachers are on the same team. It seems like a no-brainer I know, but you'd be surprised how easily it's forgotten. Communicate often and get involved in any capacity your schedule will permit. Teamwork!

Organization
Get organized and stay organized. Again, it takes consistency, but the results are priceless. Organize your child's book bag every night. Designate a quiet area and a time to complete homework every day. Purchase a planner or a "take home" folder to keep your kids' assignments on track.

E-mail me for a bazillion organizational tips! Just remember to make this year your BESTO!

Keep up the good work!

Love,
Mrs. James