Summer is surely on its way with its long days of swimming pools and popsicles. With all of this on the horizon, it’s easy for kids to check out at school. But the last few weeks of school hold just as much weight as the first few. Many of the concepts that they have been working on for the entire year reach their completion in the final weeks. It’s like reading an epic novel but skipping the last few chapters. Why invest all of that time and energy without the gratifying resolution?
Here are some simple steps parents can take to keep their kids engaged until the last day of school.
Make it to the end by looking back.
Take a peek at their class syllabus or teacher’s website to review everything that they’ve learned for the year and to see what’s left. Seeing the big picture can help build anticipation of what’s to come.
Lead by example.
Show your children what it means to follow through with goals by doing so yourself. Talk about the steps involved: planning, execution and reflection. Discuss how great it feels to complete something you’ve started.
Contemplate the consequences.
Help them think of probable scenarios if they don’t complete the year with gusto. What happens if they let their grades fall? It could lead to summer school, not marching in graduation or not playing sports the following quarter. Communicate that everyone has the freedom to make choices but that poor choices have consequences.
Divide and conquer.
The end of the year brings with it culminating projects, portfolio presentations and final exams. Help your children tackle these Herculean tasks by breaking them into manageable pieces. List all of the steps necessary to complete the project or concepts to study. Group similar steps or concepts. Work backwards from the due date or test date to create a practical schedule. Be sure to account for other homework or events. Cross of items as they are completed to foster a sense of accomplishment.
Offer to help them study or work on an assignment. Taking an interest in what they’re learning places far more value on it than merely telling them it’s important. Ask them to explain what they’re working on or why they chose to create a particular project. If someone can articulate their reasoning or re-teach a concept, they have achieved mastery.
Cheer them on.
Everyone benefits from encouragement, especially when they’ve lost some steam. Check in on your child’s progress by following up on their assignments, projects and assessments. Emphasize that there is still work to be done but that you believe they can do it.
Most of all, remember that this is a time for celebrating a year of growth and learning. Take stock of all the things they can do and all of the knowledge they’ve gained over the past nine months. Learning is a process that requires dedication and effort but has an enormous payoff. Although the year may be over, there is always more to learn. With your continued support, your child can become a lifelong learner.