This is the time of year that students — and their parents — are hoping for success for the school year ahead. There are things parents can do to help their children prepare, says Krista McGrath, co-owner with her husband Matthew of Huntington Learning Center of Knoxville, which won Cityview’s Best of the Best Tutoring Services category in 2021. Here are some back-to-school tips for parents that McGrath suggests:
1. Organized students are successful students. Remind your child that a good organizational system should include a planner or planner app to help them keep track of assignments, tests, deadlines and other obligations, a system for keeping track of papers and graded homework, and a digital filing system for any electronic documents. They may need your help identifying the tools that work best for them.
2. Talk through time management. Most students struggle a little with time management, with so much else competing for their attention. At the top of the list should be homework prioritization (dividing homework every night into what is due the next day, later in the week or later in the month, and into rank of importance), breaking down big tasks into smaller ones, scheduling time for school, and avoiding time-wasters and distractions.
3. Go over the routine. Talk about school start time, when the carpool or bus picks up and everything that your child should prepare the night before and on school mornings. Talk through what works best for your child in the evenings as far as when to do homework and what other evening obligations they will have (e.g., sports practice).
4. Talk positively about school. You have a big influence on how your child sees learning and school. Have a good attitude and never speak negatively about school in front of your child. Talk about learning as something that is continuous and requires students to make mistakes. Assure them it’s fine to try and fail, and remind them that school requires persistence and patience.
5. Discuss your child’s goals for the year. Goals help students reflect on their strengths and think about how they can make improvements on any weaknesses. Achieving goals can help them fulfill their dreams and envision their futures. Let them know you’re ready to support them. It’s best to send children into the school year feeling confident and ready as opposed to fearful and nervous.