It's a pretty sure bet that now summer vacay is more than half over, our thoughts are gradually turning to the inevitable back to school days and what that entails! I know that I am hoping for the best with my youngest son, who is 14 years old.
This last school year for us, as parents, was filled with monitoring homework, constant reminders about doing homework, talks about behavior in class and actually visiting a class once. More than once assignments were lost and forgotten about until the day before they were due. In the end, he ended up with A's, but we felt like we held his hand much of the way through 8th grade. Why did it seem so unimportant to be responsible for his own grades?? Why was he not motivated to get in there on his own, as we have seen him do when he really wants something? Is it because peers don't see being responsible as cool? I wonder...
As our son enters into high school as a freshman, I've got some great advice on how to survive the school year!
For the student: First of all, know that High School is where your real future begins. This is the game that says if and where you'll go to college. So play it smart. If given the choice to play around in the hall or play funny guy in class, think twice. These things will garner you a reputation that will be hard to shake. Teachers and administrators do go on reputation, whether you like it or not.
Wear good clothes but don't worry about being the most trendy kid in the school. Wear clothing that is comfortable, in style, but not too trendy. Again, you are playing the game for your future. If you're not viewed as the coolest kid in the school, OK. After you're done with school, no one cares if you were cool or not. They care if you did well in school. Funny how things change.
For the parents: Make sure that you keep your finger on the pulse of what is going on in the classroom. Keep up to date on the teacher updates that most teachers do. Make sure that you check on assignments, tests and projects through e-mail or power school. Teachers appreciate your willingness to be involved. However, don't be a pest. Teachers are extremely busy people and they have plenty of people to answer to. Don't make them feel like they have to answer to you as well!
Set your expectations high as far as grades and homework. Put a reward system in place for good things done, like remembering homework, doing well on tests, staying out of detention, or finishing a project.
Keep unnecessary stress down by taking precautionary measures. For instance, if your student rides a bike, make sure that you have a good lock for it like Masterlock. Having a bike stolen would just be an extra stressor for you and take away energy you could use for something else!
Finally, make sure you set aside some time for you to re-focus and re-fuel. After all, it's going to be 9 long months until summer rolls around again!