A fresh school year allows families to enjoy a brand new host of opportunities and memories. August is a bittersweet time of year. Although everyone misses summer vacation and the happy memories that filled it, a new school year can be just as exciting for you and your family. Regardless of whether your child is an elementary or high school student, the first few weeks of the new school year is the perfect time to analyze what works and what doesn't concerning their schedule and academic tools. As you and your child ease back into the school mentality, take time together to plan for a successful new year with these 6 helpful tips.
Analyze Your Expectations
Every family has a set of expectations. Unfortunately, many times our expectations as parents differ from those of our children. Take time to sit down and talk with your child about what needs to be accomplished in the upcoming school year. This is particularly important if your student is a high school student preparing for their future college experience. Although some school expectations are non-negotiable, other minor issues are potential areas for compromise. As you both discuss your expectations, be sure to talk about goals for the school year, both personal as well as academic. Using previous school years as reference, you and your child can plan what areas they wish to grow in during the upcoming months. Write these expectations and goals down and begin planning step-by-step strategies.
Ease Back Into the School Routine
Although it's easy to get excited and over-zealous by the prospect of a fresh school year, be sure you and your child don't rush back into the school routine too quickly. Jumping back into school too quickly increases the chances of becoming overwhelmed or suffering "burn-out." Consider starting with half-days or lighter work loads to help your child ease back into an academic mindset. As your child adjusts, be sure to talk with them about any concerns or stress they feel. What school subject is the most challenging? What are you looking forward to the most in the upcoming school year? Is there anything that's worrying you? Meaningful questions such as these allow you and your child to enjoy a greater spirit of communication as you both readjust to responsibilities of a new year.
Create a Personal Learning Space
Although online home schooling is well-known for its flexibility and accessibility for both students and their families, setting up a specific learning space is key for fostering an organized, academic mind-set that can last year-round. Although this personal learning space can be nearly any room in your house, carefully consider what area would best encourage a learning mindset. Look for a quiet and organized room with plenty of healthy lighting and air circulation. Also, be sure to consider your child's individual needs. Provide all the learning tools they need such as pens, pencils, notebooks. If possible, allow your child to personalize this space with their favorite colors and personal style to help make this space unique their own.
Connect with Fellow Home Schooling Families
No home school family should ever feel alone. With more and more families switching to home school education every year, finding an encouraging and knowledgeable support group has never been easier. Check with your home school curriculum provider for information on reaching out to fellow home school families. Your child can enjoy positive social experiences such as group field trips, athletics, and even community service learning opportunities. Finding a strong support group among fellow home school families allows both you and your child plenty of counsel and encouragement throughout the new school year.
Invest in the Right Resources
In addition to your child's school curriculum, many amazing resources exist for students and their families. Whether academic or social, these extra resources allow your child to stay encouraged and mentally engaged without the threat of "burn-out." Talk with your child and consider your options, particularly those that closely match your child's interests. Some possibilities include:
- Library programs and community classes
- Service Learning and volunteer work
- Student internships
- Robotic clubs
- Athletic teams
- Drama/Theater clubs
- Art Clubs/Lessons
Build an Organizational Strategy
As your child eases back into their school work, be sure to provide plenty of organizational tools. Planners, erasable white boards, bulletin boards, and calendar are all helpful organizational aids. Tech savvy apps and computer software also provide innovate tools to help your child stay on top of their responsibilities and upcoming deadlines. Some students work better with visual planning aids such as flow charts and bulletin boards. Others stay better organized with electronic reminders. Although finding just the right organizational tools takes a little experimentation, providing just the right tools for your child can make all the difference. Organized students are always far more motivated to succeed.
A brand new school year is full of opportunities and change. Although this can feel somewhat scary and overwhelming for students, these 6 helpful tips are the perfect way to eliminate your child's nervousness and provide them the confidence they need to succeed. Empower your student by isolating your expectations and building an organized, effective strategy for the upcoming year. Above all, proactively work to keep the lines of communication open. Regularly talking with them about what is and isn't working is the best way to head off issues before they have a chance to become full-blown problems. With the proper preparation steps, you and your child can enjoy a school year like no other.