As a school teacher, I see the end of the year approaching faster than my student’s parents may realize. Although there are still a few weeks left to make up for lost time, I’m hoping the following suggestions will help you and your child through this last stretch and find academic success before summer vacation!
DON’T call at the last minute to schedule a meeting with the teacher after finding out that your child is failing a particular subject. DO establish contact on a regular basis if you have any concerns about a particular subject area that your child happens to be struggling with. Some school districts offer parents the opportunity to access student information via student management systems such as Infinite Campus, where they are able to access their child’s schedule, grade point average (GPA), progress in school and assignments.
DON’T assume your child has it together emotionally because he or she comes home smiling. Surviving middle school and high school is tough. Bullying is something you should be wary of, so bring it up with your kids, often. Students with learning disabilities and who receive special education services are even more susceptible, so keep your eyes peeled. DO be keenly aware of any behavior that’s out of the ordinary and reach out to the guidance department or school counsellor as needed. DO hug your child often. Do it at home if he or she prefers not to be seen in public hugging mom or dad. This is a source of comfort for kids of all ages.
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DON’T forget to hand in important forms. Towards the end of the year, middle and high school students are given course selection sheets for the following year. The earlier you and your child review the classes available and select both required and elective courses, the better opportunity they will have to secure a space in the class. Certain electives tend to fill up quickly, as do classes with popular teachers. DO discuss with your child the importance of trying something different as an elective: Architecture CAD 1, Visual Arts & Drawing, Auto Mechanics, or even Woodworking 101. Remember that not all classes appeal to all students. Kids need the opportunity to try something that will stimulate their growing minds beyond Math, Science, and English.
DON’T believe that all of your child’s classmates always have his or her best interest in mind. As children evolve into teenagers, peer pressure increases. Know that your child most likely, will have to contend with saying no to drugs, alcohol or risky sexual behavior. Equip your child with the right information and moral values to contend with these pressures without buckling under. DO learn about your child’s friends, especially if your kid is spending any time at their place. Don’t hesitate to communicate with your child’s friend’s parent or caregiver. Connect via Facebook, save their phone number in your cell phone. You may even gain a new parent-friend yourself!
DON’T allow your children to slack off as the warm weather approaches. Important concepts are taught in May and June and you want the teachers to end the school year with a good impression of your child. Teachers usually convene and discuss what math and reading levels your child may be placed in for the following year. Some schools even allow parents to request a certain teacher that may benefit their particular learning style. Important final projects may be required to receive a final grade and/or credit. DO keep a copy of year-end projects on the fridge or bulletin board. Highlight important due dates and purchase required supplies ahead of time to eliminate academic stress. Last minute trips to pick up project supplies will heighten the stress in your child’s life.
Lastly, remember to finish off the year thanking your child’s teachers or the principal of the school for their efforts. Also, plan educational summer activities ahead of time so your kid will stay out of trouble and keep himself motivated until the next school year.