Starting high school can be a difficult transition for both students and parents – new school, new friends, new outlook, new responsibilities, and new found freedom. Gone are the days of walking in a straight line to the lunchroom and sitting with your class. Now, you have a little more choice in what classes you take based on your interests. It’s also an opportunity to reinvent, rediscover and realize your individuality. And though it’s an exciting time for both parent and child, the stakes are high (with testing and GPAs and college admissions) that it can be quite overwhelming. Over a decade of teaching high school, I found these five things to ring true to help you – Moms and Dads – help your teenager transition into High School.
Have a homework plan. Some kids are naturally good at completing assignments and getting them turned in on time. Most students, however, struggle with the overwhelming feeling of where to start. Most school districts have some sort of online platform that allows you and your child access to each class’ assignments. Take a look at these assignments/due dates on a weekly basis and make a plan of action on how to attack each assignment based on priority – how long it will take to do the assignment, the actual due date, if you will need to seek outside help for its completion.
Teach your child how to prioritize, divide, and conquer. This skill set will be most useful when they go to college/the real world. If you are not that lucky, sit down and create a plan on how your student will record due dates/assignments/etc. This may be through a calendar, a running list in a notebook or digitally on their phone/notepad/etc. Whatever way works best for your family, find a way and see it through.
Follow up. Follow up is not the same thing as do it for him. It is not the same thing as email his teachers every day for a status report. It is not the same thing as hounding him all day through text message about their progress. Follow up means knowing when things are due and asking, gently, if you can see the finished product before he turns it in. It’s as simple as proofing his English papers or asking how the science lab went. You may help him study for a History test or listen to his theatre monologue. Just follow up. With your child. And assess if you need additional follow up with the teacher.