By: Dr. Rick Bavaria
The school year is quickly approaching its end (hallelujah!), and it’s time to make sure your child doesn’t lose academic momentum. Whether their school lets out in May or June, here are some down-to-the-wire, end-of-year things to keep in mind before summer break begins.
It’s easy! Here are some discussion starters to stimulate an informal conversation that will surely result in some pride. Notice that none of these questions can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” (If you ask a question that can be answered in one word, that may be the only answer you’ll get.)
- Report card check-in.
Kids usually have a good idea of how they’re progressing with their grades in each class. Have an open conversation with them about their grades, and make sure they understand you are there to support them, not put them on trial. Ask if there have been any particularly difficult classes for them and if there are any classes they truly enjoyed, and start thinking about academic goals for the next year.
- Anything due?
For each subject, again one-by-one, ask about deadlines. Ask to see your kid’s planner, either the hard-copy one or the electronic one. Compare and contrast it with the teacher’s deadlines posted on the school website.
- Anything overdue?
Are there any assignments that haven’t been turned in? Obviously you should try to ensure this is never the case, but if it is, check with teachers to see if it is too late to turn in late work. Even if it only counts toward partial credit, that’s better than a missing assignment.
- Final projects.
Many final projects are due at the end of the year, and it can be a lot of work at one time. Make sure that your child is giving time to each project and nothing is overlooked. Are they ready for their book reports, art projects, science reports, community service projects and extracurricular commitments?
- Tests and exams.
Is your kid keeping up with class work, notes, assignments, reading, and studying? Consider supervising a couple of study-buddy sessions (virtual or socially distanced) before tests. Kids learn from each other when they’re serious about good grades and motivated to do a little friendly competition.
- Academic problems.
If issues are persisting or showing up for the first time, reach out to teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, even other parents. Sometimes, spring fever is the culprit. Other times, it could be more serious. If you need a professional tutor, get help now – maybe extend it over the summer.
- Keep up useful routines.
Kids need their routines, especially at the end of the school year. Homework time, study time, bedtime, mealtime, downtime—they’re all important parts of your child’s day. If they start to lose energy, remind them that they only have a little longer until the summer. You’ve gotten this far— don’t give up now!
- Stay positive.
You’ve shown your commitment to school success all year. You’ve been your kid’s most avid cheerleader and encourager throughout a STRESSFUL school year. You’ve weathered the setbacks, changes, “new normal,” more changes and celebrated the victories. Kids have been working hard all year, so it’s natural they want to wind down early, especially this year. But it’s our job as the adults in their lives to help keep them on track, to teach them responsibility, and to show them how good it feels to reach the finish line.