Now that our sons are back in school, it’s time for parents to focus on our Back to School To Do List. Here are a few things you can do to help your son start the school year well:
•Review your son’s schedule. Find out what you can about the teachers from your son, other parents and whatever adult sources you’ve got in the school. Where does your son’s lunch hour fall in the day? If it is very early or very late in the day, you might want to start the practice of putting (or having him put) a few healthy snacks in his backpack to get him through the day.
•Talk with your son about teacher’s expectations. In the post elementary school years, teachers generally begin the semester by outlining what their classes will cover, what their expectations are for the students, and when they are available outside of class. They usually put this information in writing and distribute it to their class. Check with your son to make sure he focuses on this important information, and have him put a copy on his desk at home.
•Review Academic Planners: Does your son have a daily academic planner to record homework assignments and upcoming tests? If his school doesn’t require one for him, make sure you purchase one for him, and instruct him to write down all homework assigned that day and all tests/quizzes announced in class for all classes. The start of the school year is the perfect time to establish this practice. Even if your son has done this in years past, he may need your help during the first few weeks with remembering to keep his planner up to date. Depending on his level of focus on these kinds of things, he may need your help remembering throughout the school year!
•Take a good look at the school calendar, and take note of all of the upcoming important meetings. When is Curriculum or Open School night? Lock it into your schedule now. Also take note of the Parent’s Association or PTA meetings on the horizon. Make it a point to attend as many of these meetings as you can, try to do at least one a quarter. If your work schedule simply doesn’t allow it, take the time now to connect with a parent who regularly attends the meetings, and ask if you can follow up with them after the meeting to see what took place. It is important to know what is going on at your son’s school, even if it doesn’t seem to directly impact him at this time. It is also important to know the players within the parent’s association—you never know when you might need their help.
•What school-sponsored events are coming up? Book sales, bake sales, after school events? Is there an opportunity for you to become involved with their planning? Lots of work can be done via telephone and email, which can be done anywhere. Everyone appreciates your pitching in to help, and it enables you to connect with other parents and the administration in ways you might not otherwise.
•What is your son doing after school? While it is important to get afterschool activities scheduled as soon as possible, make sure you are not crowding his week with too many things to do. As the school year progresses, he will appreciate downtime during the week, and he may need it to focus on more challenging schoolwork.
Readers, any other suggestions? Please leave them in a comment below.
Best wishes for a good and productive school year!!!
That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back by Thomas L. Friedman, Michael Mandelbaum
“We interviewed between three thousand and five thousand parents of the fifteen-year-olds that we tested in sixteen different countries,” said Schleicher. “There was a clear connection between parental involvement in their children’s education and their PISA scores. Those young people whose parents were involved with their education—doing as little as asking them each day ‘How was school?’ or ‘What did you do in school today?’—or read books to them clearly performed better on the PISA test than those whose parents were not involved. In some countries it was also clear that the involvement of parents was more important than many traditional school factors.”