By Verdel Jones
The start of a new school year is upon us. Want your child to have a stellar school year? Then check out these 5 tips to kick off the school year right. These strategies will ensure that you and your child will have a successful year!
1. Write a letter to your child’s teacher
I am a firm believer in letting your teacher know what type of child is in front of them. This letter should communicate how your child learns best.
Some students have a love of reading and learn best when they have the written word in front of them. Others learn from doing or need to get up and move. Knowing how your child learns best, and communicating that to the teacher, is important in building a positive learning environment for your child.
In addition, special traits or habits may impact learning. Some students may need to doodle or fidget with a pencil. If a teacher does not know this information, they may perceive that your child is not paying attention. The earlier a teacher is aware of this information the better.
2. Review the school calendar
The school calendar has a wealth of information. However, the most fundamental reason to look at the school calendar in the beginning of the year is to sync your personal calendar with activities and events your child may be participating in.
If your child performs in the band or sings in the choir, more than likely there will be concerts. Make a note of that now so you are not caught off guard.
If your personal calendar includes activities you and your child are interested in, you will not miss out on these events. The school calendar also contains contact information for PTA representatives, administrators and other important offices.
3. Seek out opportunities for parental involvement
Elementary schools always have opportunities for parents to get involved. Ask in the first few weeks of school how you can participate in these activities.
Some schools have a mystery reader, in which a parent reads to the class. The fun part about it is that the children do not know who the reader is going to be. So if you are coming in to read to your child’s class, they will be surprised when you walk into their classroom.
These are some of the fun events that take place in the classroom. Ask about this early on to make sure you can plan to participate in these special occasions.
4. Get a copy of the curriculum
Having a copy of the grade level curriculum is a great way to help your child academically. Knowing what is in store for them throughout the school year is vital in helping them navigate through a challenging curriculum.
It can also provide you the opportunity to fill in any gaps ahead of time that they may have struggled with in the past. So, if you know long division was an issue for them last year, you can anticipate that it might be difficult for your child again.
Having the curriculum will help you be proactive in prepping your child before that topic is covered in class. Ask your child’s teacher if there is a copy of the curriculum available or a list of things they will be learning for the year. Schools may also have this information on their website.
5. Set up a homework routine
We found that letting our kids get a snack before they started their homework worked out well. However, some children might like to get right to work and others need more down time before they get started.
If you set this expectation, develop a routine, and provide an appropriate setting to concentrate so your child will be able to complete his or her homework. Consistency is the key to tackling the homework challenge. With all of the activities and sports our children are involved in, you have to set up a scheduled time for homework that meets their needs and allows them to participate in things they enjoy.
Communicating with your child’s teacher, finding opportunities to be involved in school activities and being consistent are excellent ways to foster a successful learning experience for your child.
Verdel Jones is a parent and dedicated educator with more than 20 years of experience, supporting students and families. She is the author of, The Parent Agent: How to Represent Your Child and Get Them Into the College of Their Choice. In addition, Jones hosts a TV and radio show and is the owner of Deliteach Enterprises, LLC, which is devoted to helping parents with the educational and college process.