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May/June 2016:
End the Year Right and Preparing for the Future

The last two months of school are not only hectic for the teachers, but they can also be hectic for the parents and students as well. It’s springtime, which means the sun is out longer, and children want to be outside playing later. It also means that summer is coming, and there is a lot to think to about and do before the children get out of school.

 Reassess the requirements:

  • This is the time to evaluate progress made since September and think about areas for improvement
  • Clear up confusion over missing grades and complete past-due work, even if there’s a penalty. Later learning builds on early lessons, and all course concepts may be covered on final exams.
  • Large projects and papers may require a series of steps. If your child skimped on initial steps – like research – or received poor grades for his work, he may need to redo it now.
  • Add remedial work to the academic to-do list. It may take extra effort to complete a project and earn a good grade, but it may be impossible for kids to finish end-of-school assignments without filling in gaps.
  • A student’s job is not just to learn, but to learn how to learn better, studies show what went wrong with previous assignments or exams and help kids reengineer their approach.” Ask a teacher or tutor for a study-skills tune up.

 Make a plan:

  • Headed into the home stretch, check kids’ books and binders to make sure they can go the distance.
  • Reorganize. Put notes in order. Get a bigger notebook if needed. Stock up on paper and printer ink. You don’t want to run out the night before a class project is due.
  • Break term papers, projects and study sessions into doable chunks and write test prep, project milestones and deadlines on a large desk calendar.
  • Experts recommend students focus on a subject for no more than 45 minutes before taking a break – younger learners need even shorter sessions. Downtime allows the brain to consolidate learning and reenergize.
  • Kids’ schedules can get crowded with end-of-year events and spring sports. Make time for fun and friends. The transition between the school year and summer vacation can be emotional. All work and no play isn’t smart.

  Ease anxiety:

  • Late-night studying may leave kids too tired to concentrate. Maintain a healthy sleep schedule and sustain energy with nutritious food. Start kids off with a protein-packed breakfast and plan healthy snacks every two or three hours throughout the day. Brainwork burns fuel.
  • Kids may over-focus on failures in an effort to improve. Remind them of their strengths. Star students use their academic talents to overcome (or compensate for) weaknesses. Use teacher-provided study guides, or create your own using past homework, quizzes and exams. Study guides keep students from skipping over concepts accidentally and do double duty as at-home practice tests.
  • If your child has to make an oral presentation to the class, encourage her to rehearse in front of siblings or friends first, says Johnson. “It’ll be a little awkward, which is exactly the point.” Confronting jitters in a low-threat situation builds confidence and shows kids what to improve.

 Learn what they don’t know:

  • Children and teens tend to focus on what they know because it makes them feel accomplished, but it is important to learn what they don’t know
  • They need to look at the old tests and list what they need to learn
  • Students should study six days a week, take a mental break on Friday after school, and then continue to go back and review what was learned over the week and quarter as they near finals.

 Keep a routine:

  • Life is like making cookies, you find a recipe or formula that works, and you stick to it.
  • The more methodical people are, the more successful they are, which is why finding a method of studying and keeping it consistent is important for kids. They need to learn how to learn.
  • It is also important for kids to exercise every day to get some oxygen to their brain and keep them healthy, in addition to eating healthier.
  • The brain likes carbs and proteins, they should start avoiding sugary and fried foods if they haven’t been already.
  • Parents can also help by making sure students don’t over-schedule themselves and are well rested.

 Encourage – don’t do:

  • It is important for parents to be the cheerleader for their students. If they are creating the study program and giving their children the answers, it is not helping them learn.
  • They’re not making them independent, they have to practice studying on their own, just like they may practice sports.
  • Parents should also avoid lecturing, because it makes the kids want to defy their parents – only hurting themselves. All talk in the house should be positive and encouraging.
  • The kids also need to understand the importance of getting good grades, which is why positive reinforcement is so important instead of lecturing about past failures.

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a s Summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”    -J. Lubbock

Preparing Your Child for Transition: Whether your child be entering Kindergarten, Middle School or just another grade, preparing them is very helpful and important. Some children will be affected more by grade/school transition than others. As the school nears an end, think about these ideas to help transition your child through the summer to a new school year.

  • Talk about the upside of entering a new grade- new teacher, new friends, and new experiences/opportunities
  • Address their fears- listen to and validate these fears, and talk about your own fears when you were that age.
  • Take a tour:if possible, visit their school and take of the building and new classroom.
  • Consider resources: If you feel that they are experiencing high levels of anxiety about the upcoming transition, consult available resources (books, internet, School Counselor, etc.)

Fun and Free Summer Ideas:

  1. Go to the park and pack a yummy lunch!
  2. Go fishing. Have them learn about the different types of fishes they catch.
  3. Go biking or hiking.
  4. Take a walk around your neighborhood.
  5. Talk about their hopes for the upcoming school year.
  6. Go to your public library.
  7. Do community service: picking up litter in a park, work in a shelter serving food or contact someone to find out how you can give to a family in need.
  8. Teach them how to cook or bake. Measuring and learning to follow recipe instructions is great experience for children.
  9. Have them keep a thoughts/feelings journal.

Spending quality time with your children does not have to cost money. Sometimes things that are free have the most worth.

Resources:

Ted Talks: The puzzle of motivation by Dan Pink
Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.‚Äč



 Summer Fun