A Parent's Resolve for the New Year

Happy New Year

On January 1st, it is customary for people to start the new year off with resolutions. According to a recent CompRes poll, two of the top ten resolutions are losing weight and exercise more. These are good to initiate but try something a little different this year.

This year resolve to help your children make specific academic gains through setting goals, not just resolutions. We believe you should begin with the end in mind if you want your child to attend college someday – what should you do now to make that possible?

One week before Thanksgiving elementary schools shorten the school days for parent-teacher conferences. This is the time to discuss your student’s progress at school and find solutions to academic or behavioral concerns. The Common Core curriculum is very different than what most parents learned in school so helping your child with homework can be difficult. Arriving at an answer to a math problem takes longer and the processes don’t always make sense. Your student is determined not to deviate from what was demonstrated at school so how do you help? Parent-teacher conference is the perfect opportunity to get suggestions and specific examples for teaching and understanding Common Core. An effective way to prepare for conferences is to have a list of questions ready to ask. If reading has been a struggle for your student be sure to address it. Here is a common statement, “it will get better, he’ll grow out of this. He’s only in 3rd grade it’s still early.” Image hearing this for the next two or three years. How will the lack of action affect your student or your entire family? Be proactive.

Set very specific goals with teachers. Demonstration of higher reading comprehension by the end of the year, leave 4th grade on a 5th-grade reading level. Exceed last year’s standardized testing by 30%. But most importantly, map out a plan of exactly how these goals will be measured. If your child is struggling academically set up monthly meetings to review progress and look for additional resources to help.

When your child gets, the academic support needed in the classroom, at home, or from an outside source, this creates a passion for learning and curiosity. Attaining new math and/or reading skills increases motivation for wanting to learn more but the best side effect is a big boost of confidence for your student.

Now that your child is motivated to learn it is time to plant the seed for post-secondary education. That’s right, college. It’s never too early to talk about it. Elementary, junior high, and high school are stepping stones in preparation for college. Create short and long-term educational goals for successfully completing each grade.

As a parent, you want the best for your child. Help your student stay on track and be accountable. Stay in communication with teachers, counselors, and faculty on a regular basis. For students with IEP’s or 504’s make sure you have a clear understanding of learning disabilities, accommodations, academic goals, and parental rights. Your student deserves the support needed to succeed in school. You are your child’s best advocate.