Back to School: Let's Prepare for New Beginnings

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          Most of us who are parents and grandparents remember well the issues that arise as a new school year begins:

·        What will I wear the first day?

·        Who will be my new teachers?

·        Will my friends still like me?

·        How can I possibly pass Algebra II/Physics/AP History???

(We might also remember that many of issues are issues of privilege: how many students in our country and around the world have limited access to new clothes, poorly staffed schools, peer groups dominated by gangs, and few opportunities for advanced courses?)

In the midst of this very natural angst there are also opportunities for new goals, new experiences, and new challenges for growth. But - as always - "chance favors the prepared mind" (to quote Louis Pasteur). How do we prepare ourselves and our students for the new beginnings that come each September?

·        Start adjusting the home schedule before the first week of school: wake-up times, meal times, and bed times can be quite flexible in the summer. Many of us need to slowly adjust to the school day, homework time, and fall sports schedules.

·        Set goals for the new school year: have your child pick one new activity they will try this year and hold them to that choice. Suggest grades or specific achievement points for various school classes that hopefully can be attained, and write those down as a "pledge" or "contract" to be reviewed at Thanksgiving (or after the first grading period). Making a team, running for an office in school, and learning a new skill or musical instrument all would apply here.

·        Make your home "school-friendly": be sure there are appropriate spaces for doing homework, knowing that these spaces will need to change as your child grows up and has different needs. Have appropriate healthy snacks available for after-school munching. Try to have your home be a welcoming space for your child to do school projects with other children.

·        Have a family "screens" policy: screen time is here to stay, but parents can still set the standards for screen use at home. Have clear policies about dinner time (no screens and phones for parents, too!), multiple screen usage while doing homework (multitasking is a myth!), and how you will collect screens before bedtime (eliminate those 2 am texts!).

If we do not provide values and structures for our children the culture - which is based upon social media and consumerism - will fill in the void. We have a responsibility to raise our own children, and that takes time and effort.

 

 

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This page contains a single entry by John published on August 10, 2018 10:38 AM.

The Secret of Parenting: Just Show Up was the previous entry in this blog.

An Accurate and Child-Friendly Thanksgiving Story to Share is the next entry in this blog.

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