LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Higbie family is trying to squeeze every last ounce out of summer they can.

"It goes by so fast," 11-year-old Marin Higbie said.

Whether its homework, bed times or alarm clocks, the realities of going back to school are tough for students and parents.

"It's not exactly fun," Marin said.

"It's going to be a lot of grumpiness," added Marin's mom, Jenny.

The transition doesn't have to be hard.

"If you just work at it together, make choices together, make decisions together, I think it's very doable," said U of L education expert, Dr. Jill Jacobi-Vessels.

Vessels said there are three simple moves families can make to help with the transition from summer to school. Here's her list:

1) Adapt to a sleep schedule.

"Start using the bed time and wake up time a week before school starts," Vessels said.

2) Make an effort to stimulate the mind wherever you are.

You can visit a museum on the weekends or check out a book at the library. Make it fun.

"I know with my own children, no matter what age they were, we read books together," Vessels said. "As they got older, when I was cooking, they would come read to me."

Games at the grocery store with mom or dad can also brush kids up on their math skills. 

"You can guess how much the groceries will be and which one of us will be the closest," Vessels said.

3) Tackle homework without tension

"Let them have choices when it's possible. It may be right now, I don't want to sit down and do my homework, but I will do it at 7 o'clock," Vessels said.

At the Higbie house, Jenny has given several of those strategies a shot this summer and is cautiously optimistic they'll pay off. However, as a mother of four, she knows it can often be sink or swim.

"I don't anticipate it being too bad," she said with a smile. "Talk to me Thursday night, and it might be a completely different ball game."

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