It is back to school 2021, Houston! This time can be some of the most exciting and stressful times of the year. Especially these days when every day at school is not guaranteed – will we stay in person? Will virtual rear its ugly head? Who is ready to skip back to school and start homeschooling?!
Kids have a lot to look forward to. They get to see friends again, maybe start at a new and unknown place, and (not to mention) new clothes, and shoes, and binders – oh, my! However, from the parents’ 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.
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
Guide for Back to School Houston 2021!
- School Start Dates
- Registration and Immunizations
- Return of the Routine
- Top Nine Back to School Tips
- Things College Students Need…and, 5 to Skip
When to Go – School Start Dates (for students):
- Aldine ISD – August 16th
- Alief ISD -August 10th
- Alief Community Health Fair – August 7th, free immunizations
- Conroe ISD – August 11th
- Cypress-Fairbanks ISD – August 23rd
- Deer Park ISD – August 18th
- Fort Bend ISD – August 11th
- Galena Park ISD – August 12th
- District Immunization Day – August 7th, free immunizations
- HISD – August 23rd
- Humble ISD – August 10th
- Immunization Clinics – July 29, August 7
- Katy ISD – August 18th Harris County Precinct 3 Immunization Opportunities, multiple dates and locations across Fort Bend and Katy
- Klein ISD – August 18th
- Magnolia ISD – August 11th
- New Caney ISD – August 9th
- Pasadena ISD – August 17
- Sheldon ISD – August 11th
- Spring ISD – August 11th
- Spring Branch ISD – August 16th
- Tomball ISD – August 17th
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 2021 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 do not 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 Houston 2021 – Supplies
Back to school supply shopping can be easy – just pick up the package from your local store that has partnered with the school district – or buy directly from your school or PTO. 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 is 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.
If you need a little help with school supplies this year, check out a couple of these options:
- 24th Annual Back to School Supply Giveaway sponsored by the Morales Memorial Foundation – August 7th
- Be Healthy Family Expo/Back to School – August 17th
- Christian Community Service Center, Inc. – August 4th-7th
- GIG Balloon & Event Designs 3rd Annual Back 2 school Supply Giveaway – August 15th
- Mayor’s Back to School Fest – August 14th
- NAM Back to School Project – August 7th
- HISD Community Resource Guide
- Sheldon ISD Royalwood Church Back 2 School Weekend – August 19th
- SMP Back To School Community Relief Effort – 2nd Annual – August 7th
- Stafford We Are One: Community Party on the Plaza – August 7th
- Teen Nation 4th Annual Back To School -Health and Wellness Jam Fest – August 21st
- Wendel D Ley Operation Backpack – August 7th
Texas Sales Tax Holiday
- Shop for back to school 2021 in Houston on August 6-8th, 2021
- 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 freshly sharpened pencils in August???
Liquid Motion Bubbler Pens | Aside from being super cool they write like regular pens, can be used as stress/ anxiety relief, and a timer.
Popping Bubble Sensory Fidget Toys | They are already among us might as well have fun with them!
Cocoon GRID-IT Organizer | Originally designed to keep cords and whatnot it can be used for loads of things and it’s about the size of an iPad.
Customizable Allergy Wristband – better safe than relying on a page in a file!
No Tie Shoelaces – Whether your child can tie laces or not these are fun and easy for everyone!
CoNo-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.
Protective Cable Covers – They are great for identifying whose charge is whose and keeping the cord from breaking.
Lap Desk – If there is one thing we learned last year is that everyone needs to be prepared to work from home with very little notice. And, we all need our own space to get that work done.
Refillable Hand Sanitizer Bottles – Pandemic or no, clean hands help stop spread illnesses and are a great hygiene habit.
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 do not 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!)