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© Gail Underwood Parker

Monday, April 11, 2011

School Bell: Nearing the Home Stretch

About a month ago, I recommended a mid-March check in with your child's teachers and setting of goals for the next month.  Well, the month is up, so guess what.... time to check in again and see how he or she did with their goals.  Did you see a difference at home with the homework time?  Did you see more papers coming home?, fewer assignments "left" at school?, better grades?, less stress?, less drama?  How did it go? In Maine we are rapidly approaching Spring break. Then comes the last 6-8 weeks of school. The home stretch.

NOW is the time to be sure your child is not in jeopardy of failing any subjects.  If they are you need to come up with a specific plan with the child and the teacher that includes frequent updates for you.It may not be a happy conference for your child, but chances are the child is already anxious about the situation. No one likes an F on a June report, especially if it comes as a surprise.  And if you wait until mid-May there might not be time to bring the grade up.  Most teachers will be more than willing to help you and your child work with them to come up with a plan.

Help your child by always focusing on this as a way OUT of a problem, rather than focusing on the fact that they are IN a problem. Same facts, different focus. Make a paper chain with a giant start at the end. Each link represents a step toward their goal. [Label them with assignments to be done, or 15-minute chunks spent studying, etc.]  Every few task links, put in a celebration link.  The celebrations can start out small and get bigger, the important thing is that you are celebrating every step toward progress that your child makes.  Every fifteen minutes of extra work, every makeup assignment completed.

NOTE: If you have a spring break coming up, meeting beforehand will give you a chance to jump start the catching up process during vacation by using mini-school sessions to work on back assignments with your child. If so: I recommend scheduling them for early in the day and having the completion earn afternoon privilege activities!

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