Schedules get so hectic during the school year that it is a real challenge to look at your child’s education holistically and to determine if your child is in the best position possible. The end of a school year is the perfect time to reflect upon this.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to ensure the next school year is fabulous.
What did my child learn this year?
Answering this question can help determine if your child is engaged in the learning process and enrolled at the right school. Above all else, you want to make sure your student is learning. Each year your child should be making progress with basic reading, writing, and math skills and should also have enrichment opportunities in multiple subjects. Possibly more important than the content itself, you need to make sure your child is learning how to be a compassionate community member and that all students are treated respectfully. The overall morale at the school can be a huge factor in your child’s educational experience.
Did my child have any challenges that warrant extra support for the next school year?
You need to make sure your child feels confident and safe at school. If your student has specific areas of academic challenge, you may want to set aside extra time outside of school to practice necessary skills together. You can also seek professional support if you feel it is warranted. Tutoring is a great place to start. If there continue to be red flags, you may wish to take your child for a full battery of testing to see if there are any underlying issues. In order to be a successful learner, your child also needs to be free of emotional worry. Make sure you have a good read on your child’s emotional health and how peer interactions are going at school. Talk with your child about social issues and do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with a psychologist if necessary.
Was I involved enough? Was I too involved?
Finding the perfect balance between being an uninvolved guardian and a helicopter parent is challenging. Your child should definitely feel like you are an advocate and that you care about their school experience. At the same time, your student should gain more and more independence with educational experiences as the years go by. You should be encouraging and express interest in school projects, but you need to allow your child to start taking more and more control over homework planning and completion each year. Make sure your child feels you are a part of the school community as well. You do not have to go into the school every day, but be sure to have a presence. It is important to get to know the teachers and staff and to attend sporting and social events. Finding a good balance will help your child’s self-esteem and overall well-being.
Did I set and follow a good routine for homework time and bedtime?
Children need routine in their lives in order to feel a sense of security and establish self-discipline. Providing structured, uninterrupted homework time for your child is key. Often times it helps students to have a quiet, comfortable spot to complete homework each night. Setting aside a solid chunk of time with built-in breaks works well, especially if your child has other evening commitments. Kids also need a good night’s sleep so they can function at their prime. It is your job to set firm limits with evening use of electronics and for when the lights need to be turned off. Children respond well to structure and consistency.
Reflecting upon your answers to these questions can help you prepare for the upcoming school year and ensure necessary changes are in place before the hustle and bustle begins again.