As a parent, you want your kid to do their very best in school. You already know that in order to do that, your kid needs plenty of sleep, healthy food and a plethora of back to school supplies. However, short of a professional homework helper, what else does your child need to be successful at school? Here are five tips from educators and professionals on how to set your child up for school success – both at home and on school campus.
1. Keep it Organized
To maximize efficacy, your child needs to keep ahead of their assignments with an organization system that works for them. In fact, according to JP Figdor, Director of Ivy League Admissions at Synocate College Counseling, "Organization is the key to success." Have your child play around with different organizational systems. For example, they could use Google Calendar (Gcal) for their assignment deadlines or a scheduling app like Asana or Trello to manage projects with multiple due dates and multiple parts. Or, they might prefer to stick to an old-fashioned pen and paper planner. See what works best for them and go from there.
2. Break Big Projects Down
Does your child get stressed out when they have a big project due? Teach them to break larger projects down into smaller pieces. "Often we get paralyzed by the apparent difficulty of a task without understanding that the large task is actually just made of lots of smaller, easier sub-tasks," says Figdor. Another solution is for your child to use a project proposal to help them keep organized and on track with homework and projects.
3. Avoid Procrastination
In the same vein, make sure they get started on those smaller tasks and don't wait until the last minute. "One of the worst mistakes students make is procrastination in the face of school work," says Figdor. Teach your child that the workload isn't going to get smaller if you wait longer. In fact, it will only loom larger and seem more difficult to get started the longer you put it off.
4. Communicate With Your Child's Teacher
Be sure to keep the lines of communication with your child's teacher open. "Let your child's teacher know that you are on their side. Send a positive email to them with something specific that your child liked in class," says Scott Ertl, M.Ed., a school counselor for over 18 years. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out. The more you communicate with your child's teacher, the more you strengthen the parent-teacher relationship which will be an important part of their school success.
5. Get Help Online
Sometimes, when your kids are stuck on a problem at home, they're going to need a little more help than you can provide. There are a growing number of online reference and homework resources including Fact Monster and Homework Helper. Not only will your child be better prepared for class the next day, they'll also learn a valuable lesson about how to research and find information online in the future.
For more homework tools and organizers, check out FamilyEducation’s Printable Finder. You can also find ideas and content for educational activities you can do at home with your children.