As my students returned from Christmas break to begin the spring semester we spoke frequently about finishing well. They were seniors and senior-itis was terribly contagious and awfully destructive, wreaking havoc on positive attitudes, constructive habits, and optimistic perspectives. They wanted to be finished with old lives and begin new ones. And today, embarking on a new year with the promise of a new beginning, I think we are all like that. So, no matter the endeavor, the job, or the task set before us, let’s finish – well.
To begin this new academic semester, here are two things you can do to help your student as they work toward finishing well.
Consistency. Routines matter. Our world was created by the God of order. Seconds turn into minutes, minutes turn into hours, hours turn into days, days turn into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. The sun rises from the East every morning and sets in the West every afternoon. Our seasons are orderly. Our bodies are created for consistency and order and that’s how we work best. During the school year, your student should be going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time. Set a routine for bedtime, which includes turning off all electronics at least one hour before sleep. For a young child, bedtime routines bring security. They know what to expect. A specific routine each night allows a child to take charge of his/her time – even to the point of instructing parents what comes first, second, and last. Routines for older children and teens eliminate conflict and enforce boundaries that have already been established.
Another key component of consistency in your home is space. Your student needs consistency in where they work. Even children as young as five years old need a dedicated space where they can complete homework assignments and where they can read. Your child’s space need not be extravagant. Let them choose a corner or wall where a small desk and chair can be placed. Outfit their space with paper, pencils, pens, crayons, tape, stapler, a lamp, and any other items they may need. They will feel empowered, and more importantly, your student will recognize you understand the value of their time and work.
Consider how critical organization is to consistency. Have a dedicated space for your student’s coat, backpack, and shoes. My daughter and daughter-in-law are geniuses when it comes to organization. They both have created a space near the door the kids utilize: hooks for backpacks and coats, cubbies for lunch boxes and shoes, and even a large drawer for socks! The kids have no excuse for not being able to find the items they need in the mornings.
Create Accountability. Procrastination is epidemic and we all suffer from it at one time or another. Students are particularly afflicted when they face an assignment or project that is overwhelming. Teaching and modeling time management skills will help your student meet their own deadlines. If your student feels overwhelmed with a task, offer support. Break the project down into achievable, smaller chunks of time, and effort. Set a deadline for completion of daily tasks as well as a deadline for final completion. Share your own schedule with your student, letting them know you must also work within boundaries and timeframes. Ask them to be your accountability partner as you work to complete household duties, personal duties, and work duties. Finding common ground and initiating dialogue are key elements in growth mindsets; a growth mindset will help your student mature and work toward becoming an independent thinker.
Director, Excel Learning Academy
There are many other ways to help your student become successful at school. Look for more helpful tips and educational ideas on our website in the days ahead!
Excel Learning Academy offers academic tutoring, coaching, and organizational training for students in kinder-12th grade. We can help your student reach their potential. Isn’t it time to EXCEL your learning?
Please visit our website at www.excellearning.academy or call us at (817) 754-1011. Email our director for more information: Rclements@excellearning.academy