Planning for a Successful School Year
Summer’s wrapping up, books and supplies bought, physicals done and suitable clothes are making their way to the front of the closet – yes parents, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, its back to school! As parents we’re excited about a more normal schedule, organized activities and the promise of an exciting and successful school year. However, all kidding aside, preparation can’t end with school supplies, haircuts and new clothes. Now is the time to prepare for your child’s academic success. While planning for academic success can benefit all children, it’s even more important if your child has previously struggled in school. Planning now means that you’re prepared to gauge your child’s academic progress and know when (or if) additional resources are needed.
How Do You Plan for Academic Success?
Get Started, Take the First Step. Consider your child’s academic performance during the previous school year. Did your child have academic challenges? If so, why? Was homework a struggle? Did your child cry over homework or make excuses to stay home from school? If you were concerned last school year, consider having your child evaluated by the school or privately, by a psychologist specifically trained to do evaluations, this year. The earlier a child’s learning profile is identified, the sooner teachers and parents can map out an effective academic plan to help the child reach his or her full learning potential.
Talk about what to expect. Each new school year means transition: a new grade, teacher, classroom, school, friends, etc. Every child is different – some love going back to school others, not so much. The emotional well-being of your child is a component of academic performance. Anxiety, fear, sadness are all normal however, if these feelings persist following up with a mental health professional may be in your child’s best interest. Open the lines of communication. Talk, listen and most of all, help your child build the skills that make for the long-term success in life like open-mindedness, flexibility, respect, persistence, and a positive attitude. It’s hard for our children to make sense of a lot of the things going on in the world (close to home and beyond). Engage with them and be part of the conversation.
Get connected and stay in touch. Reach out to your school, and get to know your child’s teaching team. If your child has a history of struggling in school, within the first few weeks of school set up a round-table meeting with his entire teaching team to let them know your child as a learner from your perspective. Together with the teaching team make a plan that sets up supports to help your child before frustration or failure sets in. If your child works with a tutor outside of school, set up a communication system between the teacher and tutor so the tutor can maximize tutoring effectiveness. Let the school team know you are a supportive member of your child’s teaching team, and that you’re ready to work closely with them to help your child succeed.
The beginning of the school year is always hectic even under the best of circumstances. It brings with it a “newness” and the hope that your child will flourish – academically, emotionally, socially. However, we all know this kind of success doesn’t happen by accident. It’s important to plan. If you have a child with learning challenges then this planning is all the more important. Working together, parents, children, teachers and other professionals can help make sure the new school year is filled with progress, achievement and the wonder of learning. Let’s make it a year of celebrating successes, for every child.