September 8, 2008
Help Kids Brush Up for the New School Year
By Megan Lavallee
With school getting into full swing this coming week in far East County you may be wondering what you can do to support your students in their learning process. A great way to help your student is to become involved, let your interest and enthusiasm in their learning and your own learning be seen.
To become involved in your student's education you could joint the PTA (the Parent Teacher Association), volunteer to help out in your student's classroom, on their field trips or wherever you may be needed on their school campus.
Parents keep in mind that the PTA does not stop after the elementary school level, our local high schools are always welcoming parent volunteers, and being a strong presence on your child's campus may help in creating a strong bond with your student, you have the opportunity to show them how important their education is to you, and you know what they say, "Actions speak louder than words." Help your student with his homework, show him how to find the answers to questions and problems. This does not mean doing their homework for them. Review his homework before he turns it in. Give him kudos for what he did correctly and help him review what he didn't understand so he'll get it correct the next time.
Create an open channel of communication between all parties involved: you, your student and your student's teacher(s). You can access the state standards that pertain to your student at www.cde.gov, so that you are fully informed of what the expectations are for your student in this academic year.
Set up a system to organize your student. Not all people are natural organizers, some need guidance. A lack of organization can lead your student down the road of completing their homework correctly, but unable to locate the assignment when it is time to turn it in. Organization is not purely the physical act of maintaining papers, but also the practice of being mentally organized, knowing where to locate items and keeping track of tasks yet to be accomplished.
Many students not only juggle their school work with free time, but they have other commitments, music lessons, scout troops, athletic endeavors, and sometimes after-school and weekend employment. Organization becomes the practice of time management. How does your student stay afloat in the midst of all of their activities and responsibilities?
Identify the specific weaknesses of your student. Do they misplace their belongings; wait until the bitter end to begin their essays and projects? Help your student create their own system to keep track of their work and workspace, to set the foundation for success in school and beyond. The process of becoming organized creates a decision-making opportunity; they must experiment with trial and error and eventually learning to trust their own instincts.
When it comes to the time management skills of your student, take a good look at their schedule, how many commitments do they have, is it realistic for them to balance all of their activities and maintain a high level of academic achievement? Examine how your student's schedule matches up with their priorities. Keep an open line of communication between your family's athletic coaches, scout masters and music instructors. Know the expectation that the season of sports, the scouting outings and the rehearsals and performances will place on your student. Be mindful of keeping a close watch for signs of burnout such as falling grades, fatigue and diminished interest in outside activities.
Model for your student the desired learning behaviors, demonstrate your own time management skills, prioritizing your personal activities, and show a yearning for lifelong learning. Seek out community members who achieve high academic marks while excelling in athletics or in the dramatic arts. Setting a good example is the best method of leading and teaching your student.
Megan LaVallee is a Brentwood resident who writes a weekly column about the city. Reach her at [email protected]
Originally published by Megan Lavallee , Around Brentwood.
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