Back to School

Parent Connection

August 17, 2011 

Oh where did the summer go? Here is my "back to school checklist" for all you parents arranging carpools, buying new kids' clothes and hoping this is the year your rising 6th grader doesn't lose his bookbag:

Homework: Don't let it take over your home this year. Sit down with your child for a brief conference. Review the things you were not pleased with last year and how things will be different this year. Be calm, matter of fact but determined.

Make sure to set up a quiet place that is private and with the least amount of distractions. Have all materials needed readily available so little Bradley won't have an excuse as to why he can't complete his assignments. You as mom or dad only need to help if Bradley really doesn't understand something and asks for help. Stay just long enough to allow him to get back on track. Set a time limit on homework. If night after night little Bradley dilly-dallies and can't get it done, deliver some consequences.

Study Plan: Help your youngster make a study plan/schedule for each week. Most projects, papers, and upcoming tests are given by the teacher ahead of time. Review with your child ways to plan out the week, as well as allowing time for nightly assignments. If he has ball practice or other activities, have him write those activities on the calendar.

Planning around activities will help your student not get behind. Don't forget the weekend. Students need time to unwind but just as adults spend some weekend time to catch up on projects around the house, your child can spend some weekend time working on projects or reviewing for upcoming tests.

Study Skills: Students can't just open a book or webpage, stare at it, and wonder what's wrong with their plunging GPA. Your child should begin by determining exactly what textbook chapters, handouts and notes will be on the test. Students can outline chapters paying particular attention to main ideas, vocabulary words, names, dates and review questions at the end of each chapter.

It's helpful for many students to make brief notes while studying this material. Now begins the download. Quiz the child or have him quiz himself on chapter questions, questions from notes and vocabulary.

Stop the nagging: No more asking little Susie if she's brushed her teeth, packed her bookbag or if she is in bed yet -- 20 times each evening. It just isn't worth it, nor does nagging work.

So, what to do? Draw up a simple checklist. Put on the list every chore and activity that should be completed each evening. Be specific (i.e., put all books and homework in book bag, practice piano, lay out tomorrow's clothes, brush your teeth). Make it simple, fail-proof and nonnegotiable.

Tell Susie to bring it to you when she has everything checked off. Her bonus? When you check the list and it's complete, toss it into recycling and the rest of the evening is hers to play or relax. If Susie has not messed around she will have more time than if you had stayed behind her nagging, nagging, nagging.

Bryan Greeson is a nationally certified School Psychologist and serves as the Director of Special Services in York School District One.

Bryan Greeson is a nationally certified School Psychologist and serves as the Director of Special Services in York School District One.

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