Every great coach uses halftime to take a look at how his team played in the first half and make necessary adjustments for the remainder of the game. They identify what’s working and what’s not and come up with a plan to improve performance in the second half. As a parent, you can make meaningful “halftime adjustments” in the middle of your child’s school year!
As a parent, you can make meaningful “halftime adjustments” in the middle of your child’s school year!
The holiday break is a great time to look at your child’s grades, talk with him about how things are going at school—both academically and socially—and see if there are changes you could make to make the second semester even better. Sometimes just talking it over with your child is enough to reveal what you might be able to improve. If you feel that more information is needed, don’t be shy about scheduling a conference with his teacher when the break is over. Great teachers welcome concerned parents who want to do their part to help in the education of their children.
Consider these four half time adjustments you can make to help your kid dominate in the second half this year!
1. Assess study or homework strategies.
Consider the study routines your child is currently using, and decide if they’re producing the results you both want. It may be that you just need to get back to the homework routine you started at the beginning of the year. Perhaps a tutor or more hands-on support from you would be a help in a particularly tough subject area. Maybe a more defined workspace for homework and study would help out. Tweak the system until it works.
2. Talk to your child about which teachers are easier or harder to understand.
My children are quick to tell me which teachers make instructions and concepts clear and which are harder to follow. If the communication or learning barrier is a small one, you can probably coach your child on how to ask the right questions to get the information they need. If it’s more significant, you may want to schedule a conference to talk it out, and tell the teacher what your child is struggling with. Remember: Teachers are humans. Even the best ones have good days and bad days. And the newer ones are learning every day how to do their jobs better. Your friendly, honest request for help can benefit your child and maybe even help the teacher to recognize an area in which he could improve. Sometimes, you’ll learn that your child isn’t doing his part in the classroom to keep up and follow along. Either way, the conversation is beneficial.
3. Ask about your child’s social life at school.
Grades are only part of the formula for a great school year. Your child’s social happiness is a big part of how much he or she will enjoy school and want to be there each day. Ask which friends she likes to hang out with at recess or lunch and who her favorite partners are for in class projects. If you sense any social unease or loneliness, you might be able to encourage some extracurricular playdates with classroom peers to build relationships. If the problem is more involved, your child’s teacher is, again, your best ally. Let them be your eyes and ears during the school day, giving you feedback about the social dynamics of your child’s class and offering suggestions for more social success.
4. Consider whether you are in the right school.
If you feel that your child’s school is a poor fit for your child or your own educational philosophy, now is the time to consider your options. Many private, public, and charter schools will begin their enrollment process in the first quarter of the new year. Perhaps homeschooling would be a good fit for one or more of your children. If so, you can research just what that entails and make necessary preparations for the next school year. If you are considering a change, start gathering information and weighing your options now so that the transition can be a smooth as possible.
For more tips, read 9 Ways to Help Your Child Do Better in School.
Have you ever made an adjustment at mid-year to help your child succeed in school? What kind of change was needed?
Dana Hall McCain writes about marriage, parenting, faith and wellness. She is a mom of two, and has been married to a wonderful guy for over 18 years.