Reevaluating Academic Expectations

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By Anne R. Fenske; Center Director of Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes in Englewood
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A new calendar year is the perfect time to reflect with your family and talk about the first half of the school year: its successes and its challenges. This applies to both school performance and everyday family life. There are always times when the best-laid plans need to be modified. Review expectations and schedules to further develop a love of learning.

As parents, it is time to sit down with your child and reevaluate your individual roles in the family unit. Changes need to be made where warranted. This flexibility shows your child that life is full of ups and downs. Make needed adjustments. These circumstances can be opportunities for growth. Needless to say, these are all life long skills. Areas to be modified may include health, school, homework, activities, and chores. 

Health: Review your family’s sleep schedules, downtime, diet, and exercise routines. The importance of all of these factors in learning is essential. Make sure everyone is getting enough sleep and has enough time in the day to relax a little and have some fun. Well-balanced meals and daily exercise for all are always a must.

Homework/School: It is your child’s “job” to go to school. Make sure the time and place for homework is well established and that his schoolwork is a priority. Make sure there are no distractions during homework time. Organize the evening where, before bedtime, the backpack is packed and ready for the morning. Supervise homework, look at it, and give positive feedback. Make sure communication with your child’s teacher is good and always encourage your child to talk to his teacher. Now that the school year is well under way, teacher styles and personalities are better understood and new friendships are established. If there are issues that need to be resolved, problem solve with your child. Individuals are continuously faced with issues that need to be dealt with in a straightforward and positive manner. The problem solving skills your child learns now will be carried with him for life.

Activities: Make sure your child is not over-scheduled. He should have time to do his schoolwork, participate in an activity, and still have some downtime. Finding a balance between school, home, and activity-related responsibilities is important. If an activity schedule has changed (perhaps a new seasonal sport), some adjustments may have to be made. Having an activity in addition to schoolwork is important. It helps to teach him time management, working with others, and leadership; all life skills that spill over into academic success.

Chores: Make sure your child has household chores that are realistic in terms of time spent, ability, and age appropriateness. It is necessary that he see he is a part of a whole, a family. Everyone must do his part. This teaches him responsibility, and responsibility is a huge academic tool.

Finally, keep communication open between you and your child. This is essential to his academic success. Talk about both your own day and your child’s day. Make sure your dialogue is age appropriate. Ask questions. Answer questions. Listen. Academic success is not just tied to your child’s classroom. It is also what he learns outside the classroom, in his everyday life, which helps him to succeed. Set a good example. Care. Be involved.

 

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