This is part 1 of a series about hybrid schools in Georgia and how they can be part of the solution for intentional parents looking for educational alternatives for their children.
5 Ways to Know How School Is Really Going This Year
Summer’s over! You got your children out the door! That’s it, right?
While there will always be homework checks to make and teacher preferences to review, there are actually 5 signs to watch for as the school year gets underway. These 5 signals can help you as a parent discern whether your child is having a positive school experience or not.
We know that friends aren’t the #1 reason your child attends school. However, if they’re a month to six weeks into school and haven’t made a friend yet, you might want to ask some questions.
- If your child was new this year, ask him or her if anyone in class asked to know his or her name yet. Follow up with any observations your child has made about others. Who seems to be quiet in nature? Who is loud? Who’s the student interrupting the teacher or the one who shows up late? If your child can identify these, it means he or she is paying attention. That’s a good signal.
- Also, if your child is new at school this year, ask him or her about lunchroom seating. If your child always wanders to a far-away table alone, that may signal to others that he/she doesn’t want to be bothered. If he/she goes to the library during free time, it might mean he/she is struggling with the transition. Encourage your child to scan the classroom or lunchroom crowd and sit adjacent to a table full of friends his or her age. Even if it’s not the exact same table, he/she may pick up on a conversation and be able to find a natural way to introduce himself or herself.
- If your child isn’t new, ask which friends are in her class this year. Have any of the friends from the neighborhood or church been moved to her class? Do you notice your child talking about someone’s name you don’t recognize? What about names you do recognize? Are they still being mentioned? You can learn a lot about how your child is adjusting by what she says and — sometimes — doesn’t say.
If your child rides the bus, it’s important to ask what goes on, who your child sits next to (or avoids), and why. Don’t think of this as prying. Just make it part of a natural conversation over dinner; taking time to talk through these will do two things. First, it lets your child know that you care. Second, it gives you valuable information.
If your child says that he or she can’t stand the bus, you can follow up to ask why. Or if you learn that she sits next to someone she likes a lot and has things in common with, you can try to remember her friend’s name and ask about her throughout the year. Even if her bus friend is not in the same class, asking about her may help you discern over time if she’s a close friend and, if not, maybe your child can initiate a time to hang out after school or on the weekend if they get along well.
Many students share that the bus is challenging. Before immediately pulling your child from the bus and getting into the morning and afternoon carpool lane, starting with questions helps alleviate fear, doesn’t assume there’s a problem without a solution, and gives your child time to adjust to something that may just be new and not necessarily negative.
Language and Lingo
Some signs that your child’s school experience is problematic just come out in the way that your child speaks. If he or she uses new terms that you’ve not heard before, look them up or ask other parents if they know what the terms mean. This might also involve a regular text check. Look to see who your child is texting, who is texting your child, and then look for the following:
- Unfamiliar abbreviations or emojis: While they’re not an automatic red flag, abbreviations or emojis may signal your child is learning from someone new. It’s worth a simple question (without an accusatory tone) to see what these mean.
- Names that you don’t know: Hopefully, you check your child’s phone regularly anyway. But if not, this is a good time to start. Check the contacts list and recent texts. It may spring up conversations that are important to have and clue you into how your child is adjusting to a new school year. Even if your child has been to the same school his or her entire life, contexts change sometimes.
- Images or information that doesn’t make sense: If you see information or images shared that seem to have no connection to your child, ask. He or she may have a new interest or hobby. Or there might be someone involved in his or her life who is introducing your child to new things. That’s not necessarily a negative, but a conversation will help you learn more.
Personality and Behavior
If your fun-loving, life-of-the-party child is suddenly sullen more often than not, it’s worth investigating. Yes, our children go through seasons, and yes, adolescence can be a challenging shift with hormones and new experiences to take in. However, you know your child. If he behaves in a way that’s not common or isn’t consistent with how you’ve raised him, dig a little deeper.
On the other hand, if your child shares with you that she suddenly needs to go out and buy the latest brand-name clothing, start bringing a new lunch or add lots of money to her school account, it could signal there’s something deeper going on in her heart. Maybe she is trying to impress a fellow student or gain an “in” to the popular crowd. If you find that she is not using the money on her lunch account, that’s another reason for a quick question or two. It may mean that she is skipping lunch altogether and you’ll want to figure out why.
Struggling or Sailing Through School
So often as parents, we look for the drop in grades or a child who stays up late doing homework long after bedtime has passed. These are definitely clues to get involved and see how you can support your child.
But the converse is also a reason to ask questions. If your child seems to never have homework or sails through assignments with ease, ask what motivates him or her. Why does he or she think everything is so easy? It may be that your child is especially bright and needs more challenge.
How Hybrid Schools in Georgia Can Help
If your child is having trouble making friends, seems miserable at school, and/or is either struggling or not challenged enough, a hybrid school may be helpful. There are many hybrid schools in Georgia. Learnwell North Georgia is located in south Forsyth County in the Alpharetta/South Cumming area. To find out more about us, request a tour or sign up for a Discover Learnwell event.