Each new school year is a fresh start. By adding a few items to your back-to-school checklist, you can significantly increase the likelihood that your child will have a better year – all year long.
Supplies – you don’t need anything fancy or expensive, but you should corral the supplies your child needs to complete homework into one, easy to reach place. Whether your child is ten years old, entering tenth grade, or just learning to count by tens, keeping supplies organized and on-hand makes homework go much more quickly.
Communicating with your child’s teacher – it’s always nice to start the year by introducing yourself to your child’s teacher. If your child has learning or behavioral differences, or has struggled in the past, request a meeting at the start of the year. The more you can learn what the teacher will expect of your child at the start of the year, the better you can help your child meet these expectations during the next nine months. Make sure to find out when and how the teacher likes to be reached in the event your child doesn’t understand what was taught. If and when that happens, you’ll be ready to coach your child to approach the teacher by himself or herself in the manner the teacher likes best e.g. email, in-person, before school, during lunch, etc.
Pace changes – stay aware of the changing pace of what’s being taught. The start of the year often starts slowly and usually includes review of last year’s concepts. During this time, it’s easy for parents to think “my child’s got this.” But as soon as the review period is over, new concepts are introduced, and school is a few weeks underway, the pace usually picks up considerably. Kids who may have struggled in the past suddenly find themselves floundering. Stay attuned to the amount of material being taught to your child and how quickly he or she is supposed to master it. If you sense a problem, try discussing with your child’s teacher. If your child needs extra help, look for a tutor or Academic Manager, who can provide the academic and/or executive functioning support your child needs.
Paying attention to these few items now as the school year begins will help keep your child learning smoothly during the school year, even if there are a few bumps in the road.
Rachel Fisher, MA
Franklin offers specialized academic tutoring, home school, test preparation, and educational therapy in Los Angeles and Orange County. Contact us for more info!