Teenagers do better in school when parents support their academic efforts. Attending your school’s parent-teacher conference or back-to-school night is a great way to get to know your child’s teachers and their expectations. School administrators may discuss school-wide programs and policies, and post-high school options that parents and guardians of juniors and seniors need to know about. Attending parent-teacher conferences is another way to stay informed. The conference is a great way of parents interacting with teachers and getting a grasp of how the child is doing in school. If your teen has special learning or behavioral needs, meetings can be scheduled with teachers and other school staff to consider setting up or revising individualized education plans (IEPs) or gifted education plans.
Keep in mind that parents or guardians can request meetings with teachers, principals, school counselors, or other school staff any time during the school year.
Knowing the physical layout of the school building and grounds can help you connect with your child when you talk about the school day. It’s good to know the location of the main office, school nurse, cafeteria, gym, athletic fields, auditorium, and special classes.
On the school website, you can find information about:
· the school calendar
· contacting school staff
· special events like dances and class trips
· testing dates
· current grades and missing assignments
· sign-up information and schedules for sports, clubs, and other extracurricular activities
· student resources for life after high school
During the high school years, homework gets more intense and grades become critical for university plans. Students planning to attend university also need to prepare for their IGCSE & A-Level exams. Amid all these changes, many teens are learning how to balance academics with extracurricular activities and social lives. An important way to help is to make sure your child has a quiet, well-lit, distraction-free place to study that’s stocked with supplies. Distraction-free means no phone, TV, or websites other than homework-related resources. Be sure to check in from time to time to make sure that your child hasn’t gotten distracted. Regularly sit down with your child to go over their work load and make sure they’re balanced, and help him or her stick to a homework and study schedule. Encourage your child to ask for help when it’s needed. Most teachers are available for extra help before or after school, and also might be able to recommend other resources.
Learning and mastering the skills of getting organized, staying focused, and seeing work through to the end will help children in just about everything they do. But this is not usually explicitly taught in high school, so children can benefit from some parental guidance with organization and time-management skills. Parents and guardians can help children keep assignments and class information together in binders, notebooks, or folders that are organized by subject. Creating a calendar will help children recognize upcoming deadlines and plan their time accordingly. Don’t forget to have your child include non-academic commitments on the calendar, too. It also helps for children to make prioritized daily to-do lists, and to study and do homework in a well-lit, quiet, orderly workspace. You can remind your child that when it comes to studying and homework, multitasking is a time-waster. Working in an environment free of distractions like TV and texts works best.
Planning is key for helping your child study while juggling assignments in multiple subjects. Since results really count in high school, planning for studying is crucial for success, particularly when your child’s time is taken up with extracurricular activities. When there’s a lot to study, help your child to break down tasks into smaller chunks and stick to the studying calendar schedule so he or she isn’t studying for multiple tests all in one night. Remind your child to take notes in class, organize them by subject, and review them at home. If academic results are good, your child may not need help studying. If results begin to slip, however, it may be time to step in. Most parents still need to help their child with organization and studying — don’t think that students can do this on their own just because they’re in high school! You can help your child review material and study with several techniques, like simple questioning, asking to provide the missing word, and creating practice tests. The more processes the brain uses to handle information — such as writing, reading, speaking, and listening — the more likely the information will be retained. Repeating words, re-reading passages aloud, re-writing notes, or visualizing or drawing information all help the brain retain data. Even if your child is just re-reading notes, offer to quiz him or her, focusing on any facts or ideas that are proving troublesome. Encourage your child to do practice problems in math or science. If the material is beyond your abilities, recommend seeking help from a classmate or the teacher, or consider connecting with a tutor.
Remember that getting a good night’s sleep is smarter than cramming. Recent studies show that students who sacrifice sleep to study are more likely to struggle on tests the next day.
All schools have rules and consequences for student behaviors. Schools usually cite disciplinary policies (sometimes called the student code of conduct) in student handbooks. The rules usually cover expectations, and consequences for not meeting the expectations, for things like student behavior, dress codes, use of electronic devices, and acceptable language. The policies may include details about attendance, vandalism, cheating, fighting, drugs and weapons. Many schools also have specific policies about bullying. It’s helpful to know the school’s definition of bullying, consequences for bullies, support for victims, and procedures for reporting bullying. Bullying via text or social media should be reported to the school too. It’s important for your child to know what’s expected at school and that you’ll support the school’s consequences when expectations aren’t met. It’s easiest for students when school expectations match the ones at home, so they see both environments as safe and caring places that work together as a team.
Volunteering at school is a great way to show you’re interested in your child’s education.
Keep in mind, though, that while some children like to see their parents at school or school events, others may feel embarrassed by their parents’ presence. Follow your child’s cues to determine how much interaction works for both of you, and whether your volunteering should stay behind the scenes. Make it clear that you aren’t there to spy — you’re just trying to help out the school community.
Parents and guardians can get involved by:
· Serving in any assigned capacity
· Organizing and/or working at fundraising activities for school causes e.g funding children’s homes
· Aiding school marketing & outreach efforts
· Joining the school’s parent-teacher group
· Mentoring or tutoring students
· Reading a story to the class
· Giving a talk for career day
· Attending school concerts, plays, and athletic events
Because many high schoolers spend so much of the day outside the home — at school, extracurricular activities, jobs, or with peers — staying connected with them can be challenging for parents and guardians. While activities at school, new interests, and expanding social circles are central to the lives of high school students, parents and guardians are still their anchors for providing love, guidance, and support. Make efforts to talk with your child every day, so he or she knows that what goes on at school is important to you. When children know their parents are interested in their academic lives, they’ll take school seriously as well. Because communication is a two-way street, the way you talk and listen to your child can influence how well he or she listens and responds. It’s important to listen carefully, make eye contact, and avoid multitasking while you chat. Remember to talk with your child, not at him or her. Be sure to ask open-ended questions that go beyond “yes” or “no” answers. Besides during family meals, good times to talk include car trips (though eye contact isn’t needed here, of course), walking together, preparing meals, or standing in line at the supermarket.
When children know they can talk openly with their parents, the challenges of high school can be easier to face.