Houston Back to School

2018-19 Guide for Back to School Houston

School Days, School Days

Back to school time can be some of the most exciting and stressful times of the year. From the kid side you get to see friends again, maybe start at a new and unknown place, new clothes and binders – oh, my! From the parent side, it is the “return of the routine.”  Running with your kids (and breaking up bickering) all summer is great but so is the reliability of bedtime and knowing how to schedule each day.

On the other side of that, now you have to prep to make sure backpacks are ready and lunches are made and kids are in bed on time.  So, as they said in the eighties, “You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have. The facts of life,…”  And, that’s it we’re all just aiming for that sweet spot of just enough and not too much.

In an effort to be a very useful website here is your 2018-2019 Guide for heading back to school in Houston!

When to Go – School Start Dates (for students):Houston School District Map

Registration & Immunizations

You will feel better having all of this done in advance, but not to worry your school district has to take your kiddo even if you roll in on the first day of school (or the 13th).  The benefits of early registration are many.  First, the school will be ready for your child.  Meaning they will have had time to get records in order and put them in the best environment for their back to school success.

When you show up after school has started your child will likely just be put in a class until all that is sorted out.  Which, means if many people are doing this (and they do) that the first week or so of school can see some bloated classes which leads to a downtime in teaching and activities and stressed teachers (you would be a little stressed too if your class kept getting interrupted and eventually you had more students than desks).

To enroll most schools will require you to bring:

  • Proof of your child’s age and identity (birth certificate & Social Security Card),
  • Proof of your identity and residential address (driver’s license and utility bill), and
  • A record of your child’s current immunizations signed by a doctor (many schools will let you enroll and give you a 30-day window to get these done).
  • If transferring a transcript or report card from last school attended.

Immunizations can be a bit of a hot topic but for most children, this is the right thing to do. The perceived dangers of vaccines drop significantly past toddlerhood so once your child is school ready it’s a great time to get caught up if you’ve previously used a relaxed schedule.

We live in an international city there are people coming and going from all over the globe and who knows where your apple came from?  When you put people together they get sick and sickness spreads rapidly. Don’t rely on the health of other children to protect your child.  In many cases, the disease is much worse than the side effect.  And, many of those dangers are well past by the time your child reaches grade school.

If you are still on the fence know you don’t have to get all of the vaccines or get them all on the schedule provided. You can do one or two at a time or just get the Texas Minimum State Vaccine Requirements for Student K-12. If you are still not going to do it you must qualify for an Exemption.


back to school supply shopping can be easy – just pick up the package from your local store that has partnered with the school district.  However, this is one of those categories that the “I Wants” shine brightly because every store has new and colorful supplies on display and as far as things-our-kids-beg-for go, school supplies can be an affordable splurge.

Always get your list items first and follow those instructions to a ‘T’ – even if you think it stupid that Mrs. Smith only wants chartreuse folders just buy the chartreuse folder.  I guarantee you Mrs. Smith has a reason or a mandate and she’s a little stressed trying to put together a great year for your kids.

If you find the most amazing chartreuse folder that will cause your child to bloom and grow then either write their name on it or just talk to Mrs. Smith and explain that when she gets a pile of chartreuse folders you would really appreciate it if your child could use the one you bought.

Teachers are people and most have children and will pick up what you are putting down.  And, I promise, they will appreciate the talk over a steaming parent that they have to deal with for a year because they inadvertently angered them over a chartreuse folder.

Supply Resources

If you need a little help with school supplies this year, check out a couple of these options:

Texas Sales Tax Holiday

  • Shop from August 10-12th, 2018
  • Check with your district to make sure there are not any new rules to be aware of. For instance, Cy-Fair ISD is now requiring students in grades 6-12 to use clear backpacks.
  • The law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced less than $100 from sales and use taxes.

Fun & Useful Supplies

After you get those items if you have some room in the budget these were the most fun and/or useful and unique school supplies we found for this school year. Does anyone else like the smell of pencils in August? 

  • Decorative Correction Tape...whiteout is so boring these tapes are so cute!
  • Erasable Gel Pens...like, really erasable and with a nice glide (you pen lovers know what I mean) and the eraser never runs out or leaves little squidgy eraser noodles all over your paper!
  • Fidget Ring  – far more inconspicuous than a spinner, just as satisfying (for girls too!)
  • Cocoon GRID-IT Organizer – this is super cool, originally designed to keep cords and whatnot it could be used for loads of things and it’s about the size of an iPad so you could carry it in a backpack or hang it in a locker easy peasy.
  • Customizable Allergy Wristband – better safe than relying on a page in a file!
  • No Tie Flat Shoelaces 
  • No-Iron Clothing Labels – these are great, they are washer and dryer safe and you can just write on them with a permanent marker and stick them on.

Return of the Routine

School start times can be as early as 7:15 am. That, of course, excludes time for getting up, dressed, fed, packed, actually getting there, catching buses, or going in early for sports.  The routine is paramount.  This time of year can make kids anxious – schedules and expectations will reduce back to school anxiety.

Experts recommend school-aged children get 9-11 hours of sleep.  Teenagers need 8-10 hours.  And, everyone needs at least 7 hours.  Which means bedtime for the average elementary aged child should be around 8 pm. This can be hard because sunset is usually after that, but it is definitely better than a morning fusspot.

A couple of weeks is ideal to learn a new routine but even a few days will help out.  Get back in the habit of waking kids up, getting dressed (as opposed to lounging in jammies all morning), and eating a healthful breakfast.

And, remember, you don’t have to do it all by yourself.  Kids can be taught to get their backpacks ready, dress themselves, eat breakfast, and even fix their own lunches (yes, really).

If all this seems overwhelming and too much prep you can always homeschool!  (Spoiler alert: routines still help and there’s organization required there too!)

Have a Great Year!

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