OHHHH… We’re (more than) Halfway There!
It seems like it was just yesterday we were posting first day photos of our babies on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter- whatever. Fresh new supplies, crisp new uniforms, and bright new shoes adorned those little angels as they loaded onto those big yellow buses. Some parents danced in the joy of their long awaited freedom. Some wept; clinging to their children like little life preservers, kissing and hugging them all the way to their classroom desk….then stalked them outside of their classroom window. Others packed up the children that they have spent every.single.moment.with ALL SUMMER LONG into their vehicles, and lugged them along to work with them, (cheers to you- #teachermoms).
Nonetheless, here we are, already halfway through the school year! My how things have quickly settled in! Long gone are those new supplies! Crisp new uniforms? My own children look like they are wearing uniforms that they found….possibly from a dumpster…last month. Don’t even get me started on the shoes! I just can’t understand what it is that they do to them! I swear I think my kids turn their shoes upside down on their feet and drag them around on the concrete all day.
My point is, we always start out every year with this grandiose idea of what we imagine our child’s school year should look like. We prepare for it. We get them ready for it with everything we think they could possibly need. As soon as the school year begins, it seems as though life moves in fast-forward. Before we know it, grades are falling behind and behaviors are changing. As a parent and a teacher, I see this happen all of the time. Trust me, I get it. I do know what it is like to have more than one child and work a full-time job. I also know what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck.
LIFE HAPPENS and everyone falls behind. How can we break the never-ending cycle? How can we keep our kids on track when we can barely keep our own heads above water?
The answer isn’t ever so simple. The truth is- we can’t. We just have to keep going. (I know, not what you wanted to hear!) WHATEVER YOU DO…..DON’T QUIT! Don’t let those kids catch you slipping!
So for this first blog post, I would like to help out my parent friends that are feeling a little overwhelmed right now with kids and school. I am going to give you guys some tips that have worked for me and for parents that I have worked with in the past. Hopefully it will help you as well. Remember, your kids WILL live up to your expectations- but consistency is the key. No matter how exhausting it is. IT IS WORTH IT!
**Before you start these tips, you should consider a rewards/consequence system for your child. WRITE IT DOWN and post it somewhere that both you and your child can see it in the home. This helps them to remember and stay organized. It will also help you stay consistent in your expectations and hold you accountable to your word. **
Parents Guide to Survival/Success
- If your child has a homework planner/agenda/notebook, it is your job to check it each and every night. It’s your child’s job to write assignments/reminders in their planner/agenda daily. (Elementary and Middle school ages; if your child is struggling in Jr. High- make them show you their homework planner nightly as well!)
- If you notice that your child is NOT writing in their planner, you should talk to them about it. Set some expectations.
- Make sure you have your child’s teacher contact information. E-MAIL IS ALWAYS the BEST WAY TO CONTACT MOST TEACHERS.
- We usually cannot take calls during the day and can rarely get to the office to call you back.
- E-mail addresses are listed on school websites.
- STAY IN CONTACT WITH YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER
- When your child has homework, CHECK-IT OVER WITH THEM! (This is sooooooo important!)
- Many parents say they don’t understand how to “do” the homework. We get that too. BUT- call someone who can help. YouTube a video tutorial to help. E-mail the teacher for additional links to help. Show your child that giving up is not an option! (I will share a LOT of homework resources, tips, and websites in my next post! Stay tuned.)
- When your child makes mistakes on a test- make corrections! -Seriously- even if it was just a few problems. Even if it never changes the grade. It HELPS THEM LEARN!! (I can promise you this, if it doesn’t help them learn the first few times you do this; it will definitely annoy them enough to make them work harder the next time!)
- If your child’s teacher does not allow him/her to make corrections on the test, rewrite the problem/questions for them on a separate sheet of paper to solve/answer.
- Create several problems/questions that are similar to those that your child is struggling with. Practice with them on that skill often.
- Reward Success!
- No matter how many times your child succeeds- praise them! Even if your child is always an honor roll student- praise them! Let them know how much you appreciate their dedication.
- MAKE LEARNING FUN!
- Math facts: No matter what skill kids are working on, basic facts are ALWAYS important. So, get some flash cards or call out some facts. Do this in the car or while you’re cooking. Teach them the “old-school” way that we used flash cards.
- Let them use computer time to play learning games that practice skills they are using in class.
- Dump some sugar onto a cookie sheet and let them use their fingers to “write” facts into the sugar for you to see. This can also be used for practicing spelling words. You can scoop/pour the sugar back into a bag to use again later.
- Play good old-fashioned board games that increase literacy, like: Scrabble, Mad-Libs, and Cranium.
- READ! Read to them. Have them read to you. Take turns reading. ALL.OF.THE.TIME. This provides quality time together and quality learning.
- Help them stay organized. Check their book bags, folders, binders, pencil boxes, etc. Help them keep materials organized so that they can find what they need each day. Trust me; this is often half the battle in the classroom for some students every day.
When it comes to kids, it really does take a village! Just remember, you are absolutely not the only one about to rip your hair out. The fact that you have even read this post to this point shows that you care-(either that or you’re really bored…).
So, hang in there guys! We are halfway there! (Yay for me, boo for you!) Let me know what you would like for me to share in my next post. Please share questions, comments, concerns. I would love your feedback. Until then, have a fantastic Mardi Gras season!