10 Ways to Prepare for the End of the School Year
Brought to you by the American School Counselor Association
Manage Spring Fever
Stick with the routine
Try your best to stick with your child's regular after-school routine. Set homework rules and check to make sure she's still meeting deadlines. If a progress report says your child's work isn't getting done, make a plan with her to ensure a strong finish.
If your child is showing symptoms of end-of-year stress — not eating or sleeping well or being irritable — you may want to talk to him about ways to handle the pressure of juggling too many balls.
Plan Your Child Care
- Print out this form to make sure the babysitter has all the important facts about your kids.
- Find out how to avoid trouble with your child's caregiver.
- The quest for quality child care can be difficult. Ask questions or share tips and strategies with other parents.
- Still need help to guide you in your search? Try these childcare resources and tips.
Find a Summer Camp
- Find out if your child is ready for summer camp.
- Do some research in choosing which camp is right for your child.
- Need help on selecting a specialty camp? Use our parents' guide.
- You've found a camp, so now what? Our camp guide will answer your questions from what to pack to how to cure homesickness.
Research Summer Jobs for Teens
- Find out if your teenager is ready for a job.
- These guidelines will help your teen land the perfect summer job.
- What types of jobs should your child avoid? Read about the five worst jobs for teens.
- Find out about teen labor laws and other work-related facts.
- Is your young teen looking for on-the-job experience? He can try volunteering. These volunteering ideas for teens and volunteer resources will get him started.
- Your child may not be old enough to have a "real" job this summer, but you can still teach her the value of a dollar. Try paying her by the chore or help her search the neighborhood for odd jobs.
Review Final Report Cards
Ways to respond
When a child brings home a great report card, she deserves to be praised. If your child brings home a less-than-perfect report, it won't help to get visibly upset. Instead, talk to your child about the progress she's made this year. Whether it's As, Ds, or grades in between — find the best way to react to your child's individual situation.
Make time over the summer for learning
There are several ways kids can improve their skills during the summer so they can return to school with added confidence. You may still be able to enroll your child in a summer-school program. Investigate any remedial programs that exist at local colleges. Tutors are another option — you can obtain names of tutors from your school or classroom teachers. You can also call high schools and inquire about volunteer tutor programs. Two other options are to tutor your child yourself or enroll him in a learning center.
Analyze Test Scores
Check out our parent resources on testing and standardized tests.
Plan Ahead for Next Year's Classes
Do you think your child has special talents? Don't miss out! Now's the time to submit parent and teacher referrals for gifted-and-talented programs. An evaluation period may be underway in your school to determine eligibility for programs in the fall.
Requesting a teacher
Right now, schools are deciding where to place teachers. If you want to request a certain teacher next year, speak with your child's current classroom teacher as soon as possible.
Most teachers will ask that you put your preferences in writing and submit them to the principal. Depending on the school, these requests may be honored if at all possible. The name of next year's teacher will typically appear on your child's final report card.
This is also the time to share with your child's current teacher any concerns you may have about separating your child from another student. For example, you might request to have your child placed in a different class from a friend she's too dependent on. Don't hesitate to convey any concerns that you think will contribute to your child's success.
Consider Retention vs. Advancement
To stay or not to stay?
There's great controversy in the education and mental-health communities over retention, and research doesn't tend to support the practice. If your child is experiencing great academic difficulty, it may be due to an undiagnosed learning disability. Before deciding whether or not to retain your child, request a professional evaluation to rule out a learning disability.
Looking for more information? Learn more about retention vs. advancement and get advice from education experts.
Manage Expectations and Changes
Moving to a new building
Well-designed school orientation programs begin early in the spring or even during the winter. They usually consist of a campus tour and a visit with current students.
If you're concerned about the move, attend the parent-orientation programs to learn about curriculum, school rules, schedules, homework policies, and developmental changes. If "information overload" sets in, call your school counselor or one of the teachers for a one-on-one session.
Also, there will probably be a "Back-to-School Night" early in the fall that repeats this information when your child is actually experiencing the change. By then, the details will seem more relevant.
Same building, different grade
Many schools don't plan orientation programs for kids staying in the same building. If you think your child needs a little help with the transition, make sure to schedule time in late summer — before classes start — to visit the school and meet the new teacher.
New town, new building
To help ease your child into a new school situation, it's wise to call ahead in the spring and find out what orientation programs exist. A school or peer counselor will probably be available in the fall to conduct tours. The school secretary has information about procedures for lunch, dismissal, and absences. If you're living in close proximity to the new school, you can arrange a time this spring for your child to sit in on a few classes and get familiar with the surroundings.
Gifts for Teachers
Was this year's teacher extra-special? Check out great gift ideas for teachers.
Stay in Touch
Help your kids stay in contact with their friends over the summer with this printable address form.