Happy New Year from Huntington Learning Center!
Set goals. Start the New Year off right by encouraging your child to ponder what he or she wants to accomplish this year. If this is an unfamiliar exercise, a simple way to start is to have your child make two lists: problems that your child is facing currently and things to change or achieve. As an example, your child’s first list might include the problem, I’m getting poor grades in math, while the second list might include, I want to tell interesting stories/become a stronger writer. Talk through each item and lay out next steps. For problems, discuss what your child must do to correct them and/or whether your child needs to seek help. For goals, talk about short-term and long-term objectives within each goal, obstacles to achieving those smaller milestones and steps to overcome each obstacle.
Revisit the routine. A consistent homework and school routine is the key to your student’s academic success. If yours could use some improvement, now is the time to make adjustments. Determine the best time of day for your child to do homework—for some, that’s right after school; for others, after dinner is best—and try to stick to it. During each study or homework session, be sure your child has a list of to-dos, prioritized by due date and required effort. Finally, talk with your child about good study habits. Is your child organized and making the most of every homework session?
Keep the lines of communication open. Whether the school year is going well so far or your child is struggling, the start of a new year presents a great opportunity to talk openly about how you can help your child when issues arise. If your child is having problems in one or more subjects, discuss a plan of action. Reiterate your role of support for this last half of the school year and in the 2015-16 school year. Strong communication between you and your child (and between you and the teacher) can make an enormous difference in your child’s school experience.
Look forward. What does the coming 12 months hold for your child? A major transition into middle or high school? The college search and application process, including prepping for the ACT or SAT? Is your child hoping to start a new activity this year that might impact his or her schedule? Whatever the case, urge your child to think ahead and picture where he or she wants to be one year from now. For many students, such visualization of the future is an effective motivator—and particularly useful with the goal-setting process.
As you ring in the New Year, take the time to talk about one of the most important parts of your child’s life: his or her education. Children can benefit immensely from the process of thinking through ways to better themselves as students and people. Encourage your child to reflect on goals, strengths and areas of improvement, and ask how you can assist. Together, you can make this a positive and productive year.