Knowledge Base

Most Useful Content for Parents, Teachers & Students

Seven ways to make the most of a crucial time of the School Year!

The holidays are over, everyone had fun but now it is time to get back to normal, restart school routines, handle the winter weather (in N. America at least!).  Time to take a deep breath and get on with life – and schooling.

But not so fast!

It is easy to slip back into old routines, to assume that all is well and that your child is making progress – after all the report card wasn’t so bad – nothing to worry about.   Or is there…..?

The next few months are the most important months for your schoolchild.  It is during the next three months that most of the teaching and learning happens – for the whole year.

Think about it.  The past few months have been about teachers and students getting to know each other, adapting (I hope) to individual needs and teaching and learning styles.  It has been about learning new routines and new subjects, developing new ways of producing work, ways that please the teacher.  It has almost been a time of experiment.  There may have been failures as well as successes.  But that time is over.  It is time to really get to work.

Teachers know that they have to cover most of the curriculum in the next few months.  They can’t leave much to the last few months because those months are taken up with exams, sports, performances, – a host of events that are important but not directly related to what is in the curriculum.

What happens in the next few months is crucial to your child’s success in class. These are the months when your child should be learning more and working harder than ever before or after.

How are you going to make sure this happens?  How are you going to ensure your child gets through the next few months with flying colours?

  1. Be prepared – homework help

Are you helping your child with homework?  Is it going well?  Remember that your role in helping with homework is not to teach your child but to offer guidance and emotional support.

If homework is becoming a hassle, if either you or your child is frustrated, confused, upset by homework this is an indication that your child may be struggling in class or that there is another reason why this is happening.

Remember, your task is to make sure the teacher knows about this situation and can either give your child extra support or adapt the homework tasks for your child.

If you don’t address this issue now the rest of the school year may be wasted.

  1. Review the last report card

I hope you understood what your child’s report card was telling you.  It is not always easy to work through the ‘teacher talk’ and set phrases that are used.   Take another look at it and check that there is nothing that could concern you.  If you are unsure about what a comment means or uneasy about a grade your child has been given now is the time to get information that can help you understand the issue.

Make an appointment to meet the teacher to get clarification and to create a plan to go forward.  Don’t delay, don’t let small difficulties grow into large problems.

  1. Consider tutoring support

By now you may have realized that your child needs extra support in a specific subject.  Your child’s teacher may even have suggested that extra support would help your child catch up.  If you decide to hire a tutor to help your child make sure that he or she fully understands what support your child needs and his or her preferred learning style so that the tutoring can be short, effective and efficient.

  1. Pick up on poor work habits

Does your child procrastinate, put off starting homework, rush through their work, hand in incomplete work or rush to get work finished on time?  Poor work habits result in poor learning.

If you are aware of any poor work habits now is the time to help your child change.  It is not always easy to do this; it can be a challenge.  Please don’t try to change work habits by nagging your child, this is totally non-productive and really undermines the special relationship you and your child have.

Find ways to communicate respectfully with your child, explain your concerns and your feelings and together work out a plan to make change happen.

  1. Keep your child motivated

Motivation can be very fragile.  Children quickly lose their motivation to work and learn when they find work too difficult, too easy, or bring.  Repeated failure also kills motivation.  Without motivation your child is never going to take the first step towards learning and completing schoolwork.

Discover why your child is unmotivated – then use specific strategies to reignite their love of learning.

Not sure how to do this?  Ask Vnaya how they can help. 

  1. Schedule breaks

These upcoming months – the middle part of the school year – can be stressful and hectic.  Give your child breaks from schoolwork so that he or she does not suffer from burn out.

Give yourself breaks too – I am sure that you deserve them.

  1. Talk to the teacher

I know, I know, I say this all the time but it is so important it bears repeating often.  Trust your instinct.  If you have any concerns about your child’s progress make an appointment to get the information you need.  Don’t let things slide.  Don’t assume you can solve all your child’s problems. 

Dr Patricia Porter

About Dr Patricia Porter

Dr. Patricia Porter holds a Ph. D from the University of British Columbia, a Masters Degree from Birmingham University, a Diploma in Special Education from the University of London and is a recipient of a Churchill Fellowship . She is a highly sought after international speaker, educator, and ambassador for maximizing children’s learning potential. Her Learning Skill Assessments are the first in the World to be offered free to all parents.