The new year has begun! It’s an exciting time as students head back to school – there is a lot of promise and potential in the air. It’s a time when there are new classes, new teachers and new opportunities, but it’s also a time when many parents wonder what they can do to help ensure that the year ahead is as successful as it can be. Research has shown that parental interest and involvement in a child’s education has a correlation to student engagement and achievement, so being interested and getting involved are great things to do.
Of course, balancing the desire to get involved with wanting to give your children increased autonomy and responsibility as they mature can be a challenge! Working through that tension is important, as being involved and supportive is essential if your child is going to get the most out of school!
So, how can you do it? Here’s a few quick thoughts.
Get On Schedule
Having a clear, consistent routine can really help to set students up to succeed. Clear guidelines around bedtime will ensure that your child is well rested and ready to learn. A good morning routine can also help set them up well for the day ahead and not leave them rushing to make it to form class! Setting aside time during the week for homework and study is also vital. Overall, a good sleep the night before, a positive start to the day and a well-managed homework and study routine can have a huge impact on how much learning happens during the day.
What do you want your child to get out of the year at school? What do they want to get out of the year at school? The start of the year is a great time to have a conversation around academic goals. Sit down and map this out with your child. Write out some goals, and review them regularly. Display them somewhere where you can see them, as this can prompt further conversation.
It might also be a good time to think about potential distractions, both at school and at home. Set some limits on social media, television and the internet – and then be prepared to follow them up!
What other commitments does your child have? How might these affect their time at school? Take stock of the commitments your child has and have a good conversation about how they will balance their time to ensure that they still have enough mental and physical energy for school.
Set Up A Good Home Environment
It’s a fact of school life that there will be homework and assignments to complete at home. Establishing distraction-free zones at home where your child can complete homework and focus on study and revision can be very beneficial.
Get to Know Your Child’s Teachers
Maintaining good communication with your child’s teachers is key. Many of them will introduce themselves via email at the start of the year – this is a great opener to a conversation about your child’s achievement and progress. Don’t forget, though, that many high school teachers teach in excess of 150 students, so they can’t be constantly communicating with you. Use mediums like SEQTA and SkoolBag to ensure you stay up to date with what is happening – and ask questions when you have them!
Talk With Your Child
It may seem obvious, but one of the simplest things you can do is simply talk to your child about what is happening at school. Ask about their classes and what they are learning. Check in with how they are feeling and how they are relating to others. Have a conversation over dinner about what has happened during the day. If your family isn’t in this habit, it might take a while to get a good conversation going – but persist! The reward is worth it.
We’re Here To Help!
And don’t forget that we at the College are here to help as well. A strong partnership between the home and the school is also important in setting up the right conditions for children to thrive. So, if you need, get in contact. Your child’s class teachers, pastoral care teachers, heads of year and our College chaplains, counsellors and support staff are all here to support you and your child as the exciting journey that is the year ahead progresses.
by Matthew Dusci
Senior School Deputy of Curriculum