The New Year is always a great time to start fresh with any aspect of your life, and school is no exception. Before the second half of the school year gets under way, take time to reflect with your children on what you all want to improve and accomplish during the rest of the year, and make realistic resolutions.
Academic resolutions for your children:
1. Keep up-to-date planners. Have your children make a resolution to use an academic planner. Check to see if there is one required or recommended by the school. Whether on their smartphones or in paper format, well-kept planners will help your children take command of their academic life.
2. Stay organized. To do their best in school, children need to keep their school materials and work spaces organized. Help them start the New Year off right by encouraging them to regularly clean out their locker and/or book bag and to organize a designated homework space at home.
3. Start the day off right and eat breakfast. A great resolution for your children would be to not hit the snooze button five times and instead get out of bed when the alarm goes off in the morning. It will be much easier for them to get up on time, if they get the sleep they need. Have your children make a resolution to get eight hours of sleep every night. Encourage them to turn their cellphones and iPads off so that their sleep is undisturbed. Get your children to also make a resolution to eat breakfast each morning. When students get to school hungry, they are less likely to focus and concentrate.
4. Prepare for tests well in advance. Most students have crammed for at least one test — probably a few tests. To avoid that late-night cram session (which is likely to keep mom up late too), have your child make a resolution to create a study schedule that sets time aside for studying far in advance of the night before a test. Studying should start the first day of school, not the day before a test.
5. Review study notes regularly. Have your children make a resolution to complete all their assignments on time and take good classroom notes. Ideally, students should review notes or school materials for about fifteen minutes each night, even if they don’t have homework assigned in a subject. These practices will reduce the need to cram for tests.
Academic resolutions for parents:
1. Praise effort and good behaviors. Your children may not be getting straight As, but you know they are trying their best at their schoolwork. Make a resolution to praise your children for keeping their planners up-to-date, organizing their backpack and study area, completing their assignments on time and taking good notes. Helping students turn these behaviors into habits will have a big payoff.
2. Understand Common Core. If it sounds as if your children’s teacher is speaking to you in a foreign language during parent-teacher conferences, make a resolution to understand what’s going on in the classroom, Common Core and other school standards.
3. Trust yourself as the chief education officer. You may not know the ins and outs of every school standard or the answer to every algebra problem, but you should understand why the standards are important and what you can do to help your children develop the kind of study habits and persistence that will lead to academic success. As the chief education officer of your family, you should find out the facts and become active in your child’s academic life.
4. Read with your children. Reading with your children, no matter what age, is a great way to spend family time and foster a love of learning. For older kids, consider starting a family book club, and creating fun activities around your book club meetings.
5. Treasure every moment. Homework and the daily routine of life can be a lot to handle, but don’t let life and your children’s younger years pass you by. Take in every moment and treasure the time you spend with your children, even if it’s the hour you spend trying to figure out that one algebra problem.
A resolution for the second half of the school year can be anything big or small, but make sure it is realistic. Help your children focus on two or three attainable resolutions, not the entire list above.
What academic resolutions will you and your children make this New Year?