08 Aug Ten Ways to Blast Into the School Year
The smell of new crayons. Shopping for the latest fashions. Reuniting with old friends, all while fostering newfound friendships. Ah, yes! There is something about August that breathes fresh life into all. These idiosyncrasies all blend into the nostalgic fragrance of heading back to school. Having been a middle school teacher most of my adult life and now seeing things from the parent’s side as my boys enter first and second grade, I have learned a few tricks through the years to connect families to their schools. Take them for what they are worth, but here are ten ways to help your children get off to a fantastic start.
- Get involved, and let your face be seen. Make an effort to attend those early back-to-school events if your schedule allows. If you are shuttling your kids to soccer practice, communicate via e-mail with your child’s teacher to introduce yourself and wish the teacher well on the year.
- Think of the one unique thing you would like your child’s teacher to know about your student and share it with them. It could be a unique learning style that fits your child or the explanation of a recent event that might affect their attitude.
- Keep your child accountable academically. Find out how to know what homework assignments are assigned. Many schools have online gradebooks that parents can access. Regularly check on your child’s progress, and encourage them as you see scores beginning to post.
- Help your child with time management. This is a life lesson that needs to be taught. Make sure they have a calendar that shows their practices, scouting events, homework, concerts, family time, work, and other events so they can chunk their time accordingly. Help them manage this as needed.
- Identify priorities as a family. While a lot of activities can be great experiences for children, too many can overwhelm students. Keep the focus on the priorities you’ve identified, and model this through your expectations, words, and actions.
- Help set up a time and place for homework. Right after school might be too soon to focus on more school work. Allow some downtime, then expect homework to be worked on before it gets to be too late at night. When sitting down to get homework done, distractions should be minimized.
- Know your child’s friends and their families. Your child will be greatly influenced by who they hang out with. Even if your child’s best friend is a good person, there might be an older sibling who is a negative influence. Encourage the friendships where you see positive relationships.
- See the good in everything and stay positive. This includes all aspects of your child’s academic experience: teachers, administrators, classes, friendships, and extra-curricular activities. Looking for the positive will give your house an optimistic vibe that sees the good in all things.
- Refuse to do everything for your kids. This will prepare your kids for their future. Helicopter parents enable their kids too much. Some of the greatest lessons learned come from failure. Allow that growth to take place, but be there to pick up the pieces if your child falls.
- Pray for your child. Talk to God on a regular basis about your children, confidently lifting up their prayer needs. Ask how you can pray for them, and empower them by praying for them on the spot before they go to school, take a final exam, or deal with friendship drama.
The school year is upon us! Are you ready? Find those ridiculously awesome deals at Target and Walmart. Encourage positive, newfound friendships. Check up on your child’s academic progress, but do not do everything for them. Stay positive, and don’t forget to pray. Getting vertical with God in prayer is sure to empower you. This can be one of the best school years if you take the right steps in making it one. Let’s all pledge to make this school year memorable!
Clint is entering his 16th year of teaching middle school and enjoys co-sponsoring FCA. He also leads a small prayer group for teachers and encourages them through his blog, www.theteachersdevotional.com.