Within the hundreds of blog posts about preparing your child for the first day of the school year, I want to shift your attention to this one. Teacher-to-Parent, these are the things you can do now to ensure your child has a successful year. This post will guide you how you can help your child on the first day of school.
So, let’s talk book lists. Usually, you end up with a pre-ordered kit, an argument about the value of a diamond-topped pen, or extra items on your next shopping list. If you’re lucky, your child is engaged at this point remains that way while you pack their bag with all that cash.
The next you’ll probably hear of this is when your child starts completing everything in red pen; that’s your signal to find yet another blue pen… didn’t you buy a whole packet not two months ago? Or, maybe, you need to get another lined book, even though a novel could be written on the blank space in between their work. Not to mention the fact that a simple: “What did you do at school today?” is often met with a vague answer that leaves you with a feeling of uncertainty.
Letting anything similar to the above repeat is devastating to your wallet and detrimental to your child’s ability to effectively organise themselves as an adult.
So, let’s fix it. It’s all about your child establishing ownership of their learning. I know that you will do everything you can to send your little darling off to school with the best chance they’ve got to reach their potential. But, when they get home, consider the following:
1. Go through their student diary with them every day. If your child isn’t writing down what they’re doing at school, how can they tell you about it at home? Furthermore, you can’t expect your child to further their education at home if they don’t know where to set their focus. It’s their chance to reflect on their learning with you.
2. Student’s treat work like its disposable. When they finish something in their book at school, it’s marked (sometimes!), the page turned, and it’s moved from their working memory. By showing you their workbooks, children keep it fresh. Make a big deal out of it at the end of every week; teach them that their work is something to take pride in and watch the standard soar.
3. Read. Every night. Two books – one that your child selects for enjoyment. They read this one to you. The second: check their diary and select a factual text that reinforces what they’re looking at in Humanities or Science. You read this one together.
There are many tips and tricks transition back to school smoothly. Most focus on aspects of your morning to change, so you’d expect them to improve the beginning of the day. I challenge you to focus on the after; motivation is imaginary, whereas follow-through shows the possible change that you want to see. Use that first day to motivate the second, and the third, and so forth, and eventually, those little things will set your child up for long term success… and don’t forget to pack an apple.