Freshman Year Checkup: Is Your Student Off to a Good Start?

By Huntington Learning Center

With almost a semester of high school under their belt, your student is off to a start…but is it a good start? In high school, it’s more important than ever to correct problems as soon as they arise and not ignore red flags when you notice them.

Here are a few things to pay attention to so you can make sure your freshman is on the right track:  

Organization – Organization is critical in high school, so make sure your teen is setting up a good space at home for studying and doing homework. Some sort of folder or notebook system to keep track of papers is essential, as is a planner or planner app. Make sure your student’s backpack is tidied each night as well, which will help to keep track of all school materials.

Completed work – There’s no question that the volume of work in high school is significantly more than in middle school. Is your student keeping up? Check the school portal (if provided) to make sure your teen is on top of assignments and not falling behind or forgetting to hand things in.

Grades – Obviously grades are the biggest indicator of how your teen is doing in school. Your student needs to understand that the GPA is cumulative, so even one semester of low or mediocre grades will hurt them in the long run. Keep an eye on the grades, and not just the final marks, but the grades received on homework, quizzes, projects and tests throughout the year.

Length of homework time – The amount of homework in high school is more, which means more time spent working on it each evening. However, pay attention to how much time your student spends on homework. Is it reasonable? Does it seem to be mostly productive, or do you notice a lot of downtime and procrastination?

Independence – By high school, it is expected that your student has taken ownership of their education. If you’re still hovering at homework time and micromanaging your teen while they work, it’s time to step back. Set the expectation now that your student’s priority is school and then hand over the reins. Make sure they are keeping up in school but let them drive things. Be on hand for support.

Good communication – A subtle sign of high school success is your student’s communication with their teachers. Encourage them to stay in touch with teachers and reach out when they need to ask for help. It’s critical that they understand the consequences of falling behind in high school and that teachers are there for support if and when they do. Take note of how your teen handles challenges. Does your teen suffer in silence or go see their teacher before or after school?

This is an exciting new chapter for your teen, but it’s vital that you don’t let small problems become big ones. Remind your student how important it is to start high school off on the right foot. They need to work hard from the beginning, set up and stick to a good organizational system and seek out help when they need it. If you have concerns, call Huntington 1-800 CAN LEARN. We can help your high school student succeed and overcome any challenges that arise