Let’s be honest: “It’s been a tough year” is an understatement. We suddenly became remote school teachers, our kids have been in school inconsistently–in person, hybrid, virtual–it’s been a lot to juggle. And we have become masters of managing school schedules, online learning platforms, school deadlines, health and safety restrictions–the list goes on and on. And there are so many questions: “Did my child learn anything in school this year? Is this just a wasted year of learning? Will my child start school ‘behind’ next year?” There is so much that we can’t control and we don’t know. But we do know that we are on the home stretch, the school year is coming to a close in just a few short months.
We can see the end of the road, but we also want our kids to finish the year strong with maximum learning and academic growth before summer break. The good news is that there is a lot of learning that is still happening in these last few months and we can support that growth. Below are a few tips to finish the school year with confidence and care. Parents, take your vitamins, we’ve got this!
1. Set Goals
Identifying academic and personal goals will help the family focus and stay on track. Depending on the age of your child, they should also be part of the discussion and goal setting process. Is the goal to get straight A’s in the final semester? How about passing a final exam, or even consider a goal around “doing your best” (and then identifying what that looks like!). Write down the goals on a piece of paper (or decorate a big poster board) and display them where you can all easily check in and monitor progress.
2. Shake things up.
Think about what you might want to put in place for these last few months of school. Need to switch up the bedtime routine? Want to make the mornings run a little more smoothly? Does your child’s homework station/remote classroom need to be restocked or reworked? Take a pause to reflect on what’s working and what might need to be tweaked. If your child is old enough to participate, ask them to think through what might work better for their schedule and routines and then try it out.
3. Get Organized.
The end of the school year is a flurry of events, projects, exams, big milestones. If you don’t yet have a tool for organizing yourself (and your child), get it going! Print a template calendar and fill in key dates. Or, get that Google calendar up and running on all of your family devices. Your organization system doesn’t need to be fancy, it just needs to do the trick of keeping all on track.
This might be the time to start exploring ways to motivate your child. Rewards? Penalties? You know what works best for your child so add some motivation into the mix!
5. Take breaks.
Self care is vital to ensuring we can finish strong. You and your child need time to regroup and have fun. Look for ways to relax, refresh, and celebrate everything you’ve accomplished so far. And ensure you’re all eating well, getting lots of sleep and have time for movement. Don’t cut corners on strategies that we know work for kids and families. This isn’t the time to mess around–stay committed to the essentials.
6. Start a countdown!
A visual countdown goes a long way to watching time pass and visualize the final stretch. Think about what you can do at the end of the year to celebrate and add that to the countdown plan. Vacation? Party? Donuts for breakfast? Get a plan in place now!
7. Get Help.
If you feel like your child needs extra support finishing the year, get help! Tutors can support kids of all ages with specific academics, organization techniques, test prep, and even confidence building. Bringing in extra help can take the pressure (and fights) off parents and an expert tutor can make a big difference.
Jamie Lee, a new Tampa Bay resident, long-time teacher, and mom herself is supporting kids and families. When she’s not running her new business, Tutor Doctor, you can find Jamie “playing school” with her 7-year-old daughter, enjoying the Tampa sun, or enjoying a good belly laugh with friends.