finish strong

Helping the Kids Finish Strong at the End of the Year

Believe it or not, teachers and students are already looking at the wind down of the current school year. We raced through the fall, we negotiated an interesting winter, and now we’re well into the spring. Ready or not, summer is just around the corner and with it hopes and dreams for the next year. It’s not too late to finish strong.

The school year is a marathon of sorts. It doesn’t matter how well prepared they are, or how well they pace themselves in the middle of the event because now they have to make it over the finish line on their own two feet. We nagged our kids and we encouraged them too; they’ve come a long way – now it all comes down to finishing strong. So here are a few important things to remember as they round the last turn.

1. Showing up counts.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a series of missed pop-quizzes in high school, a formative science field-trip, or a couple of spelling tests in the second grace, being there is ninety-nine percent of the battle. Learning well is a community experience and if our kids miss too much – for whatever reason – the repercussions are developmentally real.

2. Talk with the teachers.

Learning also plays out in the context of relationships. Keep communication open with the teachers and approach education as a team. Families that are talking with their kids’ teachers are seldom blindsided by end of the year surprises.

Children are more likely to rise to the occasion when they feel they actually have a chance to succeed.3. Keep expectations reasonable.

Know your child, their learning history, and their capabilities. Always look for improvement, but make sure your expectations are in line with what is reasonable. Children are more likely to rise to the occasion when they feel they actually have a chance to succeed.

4. Be an encourager.

An extension of #3. Encouragement always bears more fruit than disparagement. Be firm, be kind, be realistic, and be a cheerleader.

5. Cultivate a culture of family learning at home.

When the family values learning so does the child. Limit screen time, keep the television off during dinner and homework time. Sit down alongside your child and read, or do a crossword, or do some of your own homework. Celebrate learning and participate in knowledge growth yourself.

All these factors will serve to encourage and support your child as the academic year winds down. They will also set a pattern for the summer break, when #5 will continue to lay a foundation for next year. Because the commitment to finish strong will result in beginning strong too, and that’s half the battle for the fall – and the fall will be here before we know it.

Sound off: How do you keep your children motivated and engaged at this time of the year? 

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you believe will make the difference in helping you finish strong?”

 


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