The novelty of a new school year has worn off. Now what?
First, keep in mind these six big-picture goals for student success.
Whether your child is in public school, private school, a hybrid school, or is homeschooled, the freshness of a new school year wears off — and that’s true for all kids. (And let’s be honest, it’s true for most of us parents too!)
So what do we do?
It’s important to step back and look at what we like to call “the long game” of education. Instead of focusing on the micro-goals of acing the spelling test or learning the 8’s in multiplication tables, this is when it’s important to not fixate on the trees inside the forest.
Look at the forest as a whole. Try to help your child find value in the education he’s getting.
When your child grows up and starts a career or heads off to college, you probably won’t remember how hard he worked on his multiplication tables. She might not even remember that late-night project you stayed up to help her with.
Instead, you’ll be focused on the overall value that the education gave him or her:
- Does she understand how to learn?
- Did he grasp how to manage his time and break a large goal into smaller pieces?
- Does she have a pretty good grasp on where she shines?
- Will he know which classes require a little extra effort on his part?
Tomorrow’s students are getting prepared for their careers today. They are
- Coding in free online programs to make video games
- Designing TikTok and YouTube videos
- Learning to read so that they can read to learn in an ever-changing career landscape
- Devising solutions to social justice and societal issues
When you and your child are struggling to remain in the game, try to focus on the overall big-picture goals for student success.
6 Big-Picture Goals for Student Success
1. Your child understands that not everything will be interesting.
“What? This is a goal?” you might be thinking. Yes, actually, it’s important for our students to recognize that not every subject, project, or novel will interest them. That is not only okay; it’s normal.
It is good for students to learn this early so that they can acquire grit and learn to do things they don’t enjoy. (How many times have you had to do something in the workplace that you did not enjoy?)
2. Your child begins to learn what he or she is naturally gifted in or gravitates toward.
At Learnwell, we approach education with a long-game view. We want students to get a grasp on what they enjoy, what they’re good at, and how God made them.
So our teachers start talking about things they see in even our youngest students — a thirst for reading or the love of finding patterns. And that conversation continues all the way through to our oldest students and they learn to apply their unique wiring to decisions, such as whether or not to take a class as an independent study or in a traditional classroom format.
3. You can help your child understand the connection between emotions and thoughts.
It can start with a simple, age-appropriate exploration of how your child’s feelings relate to his learning ability on any given day.
His brain is divided into four quadrants, and all of these spaces make room for learning in different ways at different rates:
- Order and logic
- Awareness of how he is feeling
- Physicalities, such as his energy level
Being aware that his thinking patterns, emotions, and body are all connected will come into play as your child grows and makes bigger decisions.
4. Your child gets the opportunity to make some decisions on his own.
The time to start making her own decisions is not when you send her off to college. It’s little by little, year after year, and believe it or not, an excellent education prepares students to do that.
Our children’s brains are not fully developed until their mid-20s, but we don’t have the luxury of keeping them under lock and key until then. (And we don’t want them living in our basements forever, right?) So why would we pursue educational goals that don’t help them learn how to make wise, timely decisions?
5. Your child gets opportunities to fail and rise from that failure.
You might be surprised that a school blog would encourage failure. Ours does! We think it is very important for our students to experience failure before they’re out on their own. They cannot learn to persevere unless they have to go through something difficult.
As a parent, letting our kids fail is tough. But it’s a must-do if we want those kids to rise from our basements, get solid career training, and be problem-solvers in the future.
6. Your child recognizes when something isn’t working and he or she can shift gears.
Even in adulthood, we can get stuck in our ways. When we come upon a problem, it takes us a while sometimes to recognize that the old way of doing things may need to change.
And this skill of pivoting is something that we can start modeling for our children today.
If studying for the test on his own isn’t working, how can you help your child try a different method? Will recording his own YouTube video to teach the material to others be what works best? Or does she need to video chat with a friend to review why she missed certain questions on the test and be better prepared next time?
Helping your child to be flexible and learn a new way of doing something is a valuable life skill.
If your child is struggling with his current school and you think a big-picture approach could be what you are missing, we’d love to help. Get a feel for how we partner with families just like yours and then reach out with questions by emailing us at [email protected].