All Articles Tagged "school"
I recently went to the parent/teacher convention at my daughter’s school. I call it a convention, because I had to meet with all her teachers individually. I could see it was going to be an excursion from the giddy-up as all the other parents lined up to meet with the teachers as if we were runners waiting for the starter gun to go off. I got there a half-hour early to get the report, be it positive or be it negative.
I continuously kept hearing great things about my daughter, but there was one aspect of it that annoyed me. I was told that she and another girl talked too much in class. Talk about annoying. All of the teachers mentioned how bright she was and yet there was this issue about “greater potential.” Ever since one of my kid’s teachers described her as ‘brilliant,’ I’ve been looking at her like a Young Einstein. I need that person to rise and rule the nation one day!
Aside from the girly chatter comment, the curriculum of public schools has always bothered me as an African American that’s über proud to be Black.
There are some things that African American students need to survive that they don’t get. I despise how Black history starts with slavery and the true nature of our history is overlooked or compartmentalized in a month. This is important, as we are about to recognize a drunken, lost man named Christopher Columbus again.
Everybody isn’t lost.
I have been noticing that more and more African Americans are choosing to homeschool their kids so that they don’t have to endure the horrid school system that has taken over the United States. This post is not to condemn teachers, because I love teachers. I loved most of my teachers, except the racist ones that tried to stunt my growth or my third grade teacher that actually laid hands on my for being late. Both of my parents were teachers and many of those in my family are teachers. They knew how to handle teachers. The truth is, I once aspired to teach in the classroom, but I discovered the internet in the mid-90’s. Word to Christopher Columbus. But, I digress.
Schools are different now and those educators I know are consistently at odds with the system and their ability to teach is hampered, even by their own accounts.
For many parents it is time to unplug from one system and find a new power source.
A recent report indicated that approximately 1,770,000 students are currently being homeschooled in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. This represents 3.4 percent of the school-age population. NCES said the break down is as follows: 68 percent are white, 15 percent are Hispanic, eight percent are black, and four percent are Asian or Pacific Islander. The population of homeschooled kids grows by about 15 percent per year, says the NCES.
It may all just be parents going back to their natural instincts.
Parents are the first teachers to their offspring, so the act of teaching can be very natural if the parents are committed. The parent(s) have the opportunity to instill their values into their kids. This means competing for who has the freshest clothing becomes less and less important. I personally wore “bo-bo” sneakers until 5th grade, people! For African Americans, we are already twice behind in the school department, according to reports. The high school graduation rates for African Americans is about 51 perecnt! On top of that, there are ridiculous gaps in resources between wealthier school districts and poorer ones. Racism and classism is very alive and has been for years.
I grew up in Delaware and I watched firsthand as Black kids were dismantled in the system. Many were victims of pure bias and racism. Others were dumped unnecessarily into Special Ed programs. Moreover, they were essentially uneducated on anything that mattered in the real game of survival. Many of them resorted to street methods of getting over and were eventually caught up in another system – the penal system.
Now, homechooling is not just about what is wrong with the public (an in many cases private) schools. In many cities and towns, there are awesome support and network groups that guide parents and offer outings that help socialize kids with other homeschooled children. Students still have to show they are proficient in all the course studies that “regular” students to as well. Homeschooled kids tend to excel academically just fine when they integrate into institutional education, whenever that may occur. My brother, who is a great teacher, always stresses to me how there are different types of learning. Each kid thrives in a different way and its hard to determine when you have large quantities of kids per school.
My daughter is a public school kid even though we moved to an area just because it has a good school district. They cannot and will not do it all.
When my daughter gets home, I trying my version of homeschooling. For me, this means reading about African Americans, history (present and past), science fiction books, independent science projects and more. Make it fun. Even TV can be educational if you are watching something like “Unsung,” a show that chronicles singers/rappers that were overlooked by the mainstream. We also watch our favorite show, “Shark Tank,” a show where business people pitch investors there ideas. Since I am an entrepreneur, I want her to understand she absolutely does not have to be a cog in a machine. She can be the machine. They don’t teach that level of independence in school. My homeschooling could be teaching my child about managing money or even reading nutrition labels on food (don’t get me started on public school food). I know its not the same as true homeschooling but it’s my attempt to offset that which I don’t agree.
I doubt very seriously that my daughter will ever get homeschooled, but should I ever have more kids, I would consider it strongly. Our kids have to be ready for the long haul and its up to us to train them for the rigors of the real life rat race. Let the marathon begin.
If you are serious about homeschooling, click here for some resources that offer stats and further information.
Black Alliance for Educational Options- http://www.baeo.org
Facts about homeschooling – http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=91
When my daughter began kindergarten, I was just 28-years-old, a baby compared to some of the other mother’s I saw. My personal style was decidedly not on the same level as the rest of the women…and I was okay with that. Back then I was going to school full-time and occasionally volunteering in her classroom, so that kept me busy and honestly, I didn’t have time to notice what was going on around me. It wasn’t until we moved just as she entered second grade and I was in a new city that I began to take assessment of the other mothers I’d bump into in the schoolyard, on school trips, at student events–in a purely observational way, of course.
It started because most of them didn’t bother to speak to or even acknowledge me, so I had plenty of time to study them as I waited for my daughter each afternoon. After a few weeks, I realized there were a few groups of the same women in every grade. I tried to share my findings with my husband, but he wasn’t really into my mommy-type observations–he just thought I was imagining things. But I mentioned my musings to another mommy friend and sure enough, she confirmed my assessment. Ha! There was definitely a “mom type” that’s consistent across the board, no matter the city or state.
So for all you new mothers whose children are just entering elementary school, or find yourself asking: “what’s the deal with these women?” here’s a list of six types of moms you will meet:
Remember all those years ago when you were in elementary school? The novelty of heading to a new grade wore off pretty quickly, sometimes before the first round of tests in the first few months. Our kids wake around 6:00 a.m. to be fed, dressed and hustled out the door by 7:00 a.m. School is basically work for kids, so why shouldn’t they enjoy a little break from the monotony of it all?
It can be something as simple as adding some special one-on-one time to the schedule. If you need some inspiration, here are 15 ways to break up school year boredom and keep your kids feeling refreshed and motivated while they’re hitting the books.
“Lea said that she saw a man on top of a woman, kissing her privates on TV.”
“Lea said a boy asked her to marry him and she said ‘no’ and then he got on top of her and started kissing her and she said ‘yes.’
“Stop talking to that girl!” you scream. “She’s making up stories!” It comes out harsher than you intend, but you don’t know what to do? Like, really, Pre-K is where your kid is supposed to learn about numbers and patterns, not SEX. But lately it seems that is the education she’s getting, and from another preschooler no less.
What do you do when your kid is learning about sex at school?
It ain’t right.
This little girl (who you’re already familiar with because early in the school year your daughter came home asking to watch Scandal because it’s apparently Lea’s favorite show), is undoing all the work you and your husband have done to keep inappropriate images out of your daughter’s sight. Your girl’s not even allowed to watch Barbie Life In The Dream House because Barbie’s got a boyfriend and spends her time shopping, hanging by the pool, and trying to emulate the Kardashian lifestyle. Music videos don’t exist in your home, which means she knows rapper Nicki Minaj more from some hair ads in your neighborhood than her music. But now the system has been corrupt and you’re screaming, ‘Mayday!’
You only see two options, have the sex talk with your kid way before you intended or let her learn about the birds and the bees through her buddy at school.
You talk to your friend Quiana about it because she has a daughter in Pre-K, and though she hasn’t experienced this, she has had situations where her daughter picked up on news stories before she and her husband were able to come up with an age-appropriate response. Boy, can you relate.
Being so caught off-guard on this caused you to lash out at her little friend Lea and something tells you that it wasn’t an appropriate response. Honestly, though, when your cub is being threatened you’re gonna make sure she gets away from the fire. But when you think about it, how realistic is it that your daughter will be able to stop talking to this friend? In fact, she’ll probably want to talk to her even more because we do what we’re told not to do, right?
So what’s the answer?
Oh, just call Dr. Carothers already! She’s gotten you out of more parenting jams than a traffic cop. She’ll help figure this out.
“While it’s totally normal not to want to have the birds and bees conversation with your four or five-year-old, it’s never too early to start talking about things that they may be exposed to whether it be on TV or from friends. There’s lots of content in the media that’s highly-sexualized that kids can see inadvertently, and it’s natural for them to have questions. They often talk about what they’ve seen as a way to explore what it means and as a way to get additional information. One thing I would do is explain that there are some things that are for adults who really care about each other, and as you get older you’ll learn more about those things, but what the girl probably saw is sex or making love.”
“You want to use the language that the child has given you, and you want to give as much truthful information back as possible,” explains the doctor. “You don’t want to say the girl is lying or make it so she’s an untrustworthy friend.”
Dr. Carothers goes on to say: “So you tell your daughter that what her friend Lea is talking about is a natural part of life, but at this age it isn’t something that she has to worry about. It may be a good time to have a conversation with the Pre-K teacher to let’em know that some kids have been exposed to this type of content so she can have a general conversation about parents being more cognizant of what they’re kids are seeing. That will definitely happen.”
“One thing to remember as you’re raising your child is they’re going to get this information from somewhere so you want to be able to funnel it and have the first say. It’s better to get ahead of it and be proactive than reactive.”
But where do you start?
“There are some children’s books that do a really good job of giving developmentally appropriate information about things related to nature, sex and reproduction,” says Dr. Carothers. Read a few books to find which you’re most comfortable with and that way you’ll have a consistent message you can give to your kids. Common Sense Media is a website that can help you see what type of content is appropriate for your kid.”
Man, you didn’t handle this well, but that’s why you reached out to the good Dr. You can’t know what you don’t know. More than anything, you’re seeing that there’s a positive way to move forward with this, and no, your daughter won’t be turning to prostitution because Lea talked to her about sex.
The more casual you can be around sex as a conversation, the less she’ll see it as a cause for alarm. One thing you do regret is how you demonized the other little girl. She doesn’t know what she’s seeing and probably just wanted someone to talk to about it. You didn’t have to drag someone else’s kid down to save your own. Next time, you’ll see if there’s a way to stand for both of them. That’s the true meaning of ‘it takes a village.’
A couple of days this week, I woke up to emails and Facebook messages from a Tracey Cox, Robert McCready, and full on harassment from Johnathan Bartles telling me I’m a “stupid racist.” About a year or so ago I sent my daughter to school with her curls out. Contrary to the self-hating sisters who commented below the article, curls mean curls in this instance. When I picked my daughter up from school her white teacher took it upon herself to “braid” my daughter’s hair.
Yes. this was a problem, and you can read all about it here.
No, I didn’t and still wouldn’t want a white teacher “doing” my daughters hair. Yes, it still would be an issue for me if the teacher was Black. My daughter’s hair was freshly washed and moisturized. She showed up to school with her hair done just as she did every other day.
The issue here that everyone is missing, partly due to my poor articulation, is that in 2016 Black girls are still being told their hair, and their appearance is substandard by Blacks, Whites, and others. It’s 2016 and Gabby Douglas is a highly-decorated Olympian yet all people can manage to say is she has bad edges and a bad attitude. It’s 2016 and Black girls and their families are still fighting school districts with POLICIES dictating and regulating how a Black child is allowed to wear their hair to school.
No one is telling Susan her is too long and must be worn in a bun, lest she face suspension. No one is telling Tommy he must cover his tattoos and get rid of his eccentric hairstyle lest he cannot walk at graduation. Andrew Jones however, the valedictorian was denied the privilege of walking his own graduation because he wore a beard. Maybe I am a stupid racist, maybe I’m reaching and this particular incident was innocent. There is, without a doubt, an undeniable compulsion from people who are not of color to control, regulate and police the physical appearance of people of color.
At the time, my daughter was about two-years-old, she was the only Black student in the entire daycare. There were no teachers of color at all. At two-years-old, daycare is where children learn and pick up many things from their interactions with their teachers and peers. I am always going to be “that mom” advocating for my daughter’s rights and self-esteem and confidence until she is knowledgeable and strong enough to do so on her own.
At almost 30-years-old, I’m working in a corporate, medical setting and I still hear white women say things like, “That’s your real hair? That’s not typical for you guys to have such long hair, right?”
Ignorance is truly bliss. To sit behind a screen in your home-office trying to berate and intimidate someone based off their personal experience must be nice. Unfortunately, I will not let you police me either. If you don’t like what the world has to offer stay in your gated-communities with limited perceptions of the social paradigms.
I am a Black woman who grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey, and attended Clark Atlanta University in Georgia. I know very well what racism and microaggressions look like.
How would you react if your daughter’s teacher did her hair?
Last year, a photo was circulating on the internet of a little girl, who had just gotten her hair done by her teacher. To no one’s surprise this garnered reactions on both ends of the spectrum from the cyber world. As a mother, I was torn in my opinion of the situation, with no reason to think it could ever happen to me. As I read through the responses of Facebook friends, and their friends I thought, If I was a teacher, and a student came into class with her hair matted and linted, yes I would probably take it upon myself to spruce her up. However, in regards to my daughter this was not the case.
Then it actually happened to me and my daughter. One day, after a fresh hair wash, we were running slightly behind to school and I decided–against my better judgment–to let my daughter go to school with a headband and her curls out. BIG MISTAKE.
Thursday afternoon, like every day I went to pick up my daughter from her school playground. As she ran toward me, all I could do was mouth to myself was, WTF!? Seeing my reaction her teacher scurred behind her, quickly offering an exonerating explanation as to why my daughter didn’t look the way she did only a few hours earlier. “I did her hair, I hope you don’t mind?! She said she was hot.”
I was furious. My blood was boiling, and there were no nice words I could find. I offered a limp smile, and could barely utter, “it’s fine.” I was fuming. My daughter’s hair had been brushed, with whose brush? I couldn’t tell you, parted, and braided in plaits, and embellished with rubber bands and barrettes, out of the teachers own supply.
After about 30 minutes to an hour, I called the school and spoke with the director and asked that Lyric’s hair not be touched by anyone, at all, for any reason. She assured me she would talk to the teachers, but I could tell she really didn’t care. For days I debated with my cousin, a former daycare teacher about the violation, boundary infringement, and the subliminal message being taught to my daughter. My cousin argued the teacher had no ill intentions toward my child, and that she thought she was doing a good thing. She assured me her actions meant that Lyric was a favorite in the school, and now that I have made this an issue they will probably treat her differently now.
While I’m 100 percent sure the teacher had no ill intentions when she decided to do my childs hair, but more so just wanted to get her hands in some Black hair. Against my better judgment, I assumed the unspoken rule about not touching Black hair was well known. Needless to say, no matter what the circumstances may be, no matter how tired I am, that hair gets braided down daily! I refuse to allow my child to be mislead into believing her beauty, and worth are defined by what pleases the pale faces of the world. I am a patron of the facility not for beauty treatments, but to first educate, and second care for my child. Unfortunately, I have stigmatized myself as “that mom”, and prayerfully my daughter doesn’t suffer of any ill treatment because of this.
Would I feel as strongly about this situation had her teacher been Black, and decided to do her hair? Nope, because to me that would of been a sister looking out, a homegirl hook up because of the unspoken understanding all Black people share. Is that biased, ignorant, racist? Call it what you want, but because of the history of the Black body, in relation to White people, (ownership, and exhibition) I will never be ok with White hands in my childs hair.
What would you do if your daughter’s teacher did her hair?
Have you had a tricky situation that needed to be addressed at your child’s school? How did you handle it?
Back-to-school season means sale season, but the discounts aren’t just for the kids. Once you walk across your last stage, backpacks and pencils on discount flyers don’t seem worth your time. But they’re not the only thing being sold for the low at this time of year.
The beginning of fall means lots of retailers are making room for new inventory — by putting lots of items on super sale. Know what to look for and you could save just as much during back-to-school season as you do on Black Friday. At least when it comes to some items. So if you’re in the market for anything on this list, now is the time to watch the sales and head to the store.
If you snooze, you lose. These items might not go back on sale in this way until the end of the year during holiday season.
The summer before a child enters his or her freshman year of college is filled with excitement and consternation, happiness and remorse, confidence and concern. This period of anticipation is parents’ best chance to help their child with his or her final preparation – academically, emotionally and financially.
Family Mission Planning is a cornerstone of McManus & Associates, a top-rated estate planning law firm with offices in New York and New Jersey. So, the firm headed up by John O. McManus shared with us these great ideas that can help families stay on track with their individual mission statements as soon to be college freshmen leave the nest.
Balance – take it easy: Pre-med, Pre-law, Engineering, Science and Math majors frequently require challenging courses in the first semester. Many schools, however, have core requirements, as well as mandatory courses in areas outside your child’s expertise. For the first semester, encourage your child to take at least one or two courses that have a lighter workload in areas that they really enjoy; the adjustment to college life and all of its demands will be significant enough without an overwhelming amount of work. Some schools such as MIT and Johns Hopkins have “covered grades” for freshmen, meaning students take courses PASS/FAIL for the first semester or first year, taking the GPA pressure off and making the transition into college more sustainable.
Grades – yes, they do matter: A wise man once said, “College is a great time to have fabulous memories that you take with you the rest of your life, but grades also travel with you the rest of your life.” There are many significant aspects of learning both inside and outside the classroom that enrich the college experience and make for better human beings; there is no question your child should embrace every aspect of the college experience. That said, your child’s course load (over four years) and GPA will be leading indicators for the first job your child will land or the graduate program into which your child will gain admission. Surely one’s first job or graduate program is not the dispositive indicator for a rich full life, but a strong start is advantageous.
Walk, walk, walk and take public transport (and a cab/Uber when it’s late at night!): If your child’s campus and surrounding town are walkable and/or have ample public transportation, do not have your new college student bring a car to school the first year, if it can be avoided (McManus & Associates would encourage equal restraint in the following years, unless having a car is absolutely necessary). Walking and taking public transportation will enable your children to further enhance the college experience as they enjoy their surroundings and appreciate the life they have. When it comes to a night out, your child impaired behind the wheel is a horrible risk, but your child in a car with an impaired friend driving is equally unacceptable – lives can be ruined in an instant. Encourage your child to plan ahead and take a cab or an Uber.
How much did you spend?! For many children, college is a liberating time marked by freedom from the shackles of typical parenting when they lived at home. Parents may avoid putting their child on a budget because they feel as though they are constraining their child’s experience – until the first credit card statement arrives. It’s important in advance to discuss expectations of budget and to monitor the monthly burn. It’s the best lesson you can give your children in managing finances and helps prepare them for the time when they are truly out on their own and providing for themselves.
My child is not returning my calls, my texts or my FaceTime efforts. Should I call his or her roommates? Let your child lead on the communications front. In time, if you make the conversations interesting and supportive, your college freshman will likely want to communicate with you as much as you want to communicate with your child. Let them volunteer what’s going on in their lives. Update them on the positive stuff going on back home so that you’re not viewed as clinging to their lives, trying to vicariously share college with them.
Yes, you can enjoy college with your child, too! Stay plugged in with your children and gently give them confidence during periods when they feel homesick. Look through the event calendar at your child’s school and propose going to see a performance, premiere or lecture, to which you also invite your child (beyond Parents’ or Family Weekend). Save up for a hotel and schedule a special dinner, allowing them to break away from the now routine cramped quarters of a dorm room and cafeteria food. It may wind up being the best night of the month for both of you.
Oh dear, my child is a legal adult, but I have learned that the frontal lobe doesn’t fully develop until age 25. Strong high school grades, solid ACT/SAT scores and acceptance into a good school do not mean that a child has developed the full discerning ability to make the best decisions all the time, especially when out at a celebration (and, particularly, if alcohol is involved). Whether your children like it or not, they need your guidance and expertise (help them come to that conclusion with you). Be that sage advice giver, but use it sparingly and be laser-focused about the issue being addressed.
Your child may be consciously excited AND consciously anxious to leave the nest: If parents think it’s tough watching their child leave the nest and spread his or her wings, imagine the confusion and consternation of that child who daily seeks to fly, but periodically seems so vulnerable and uncertain. He or she boldly, and possibly insolently, demands independence but occasionally looks over the top of the nest to see how far the drop is. This push and pull of confidence and vulnerability will be the paradigm for many years. Put aside, therefore, the less memorable times during the demand periods and be ready to welcome your child when he or she seeks the compassion and warmth that only a parent can provide.
Your chick is growing alongside chicks from other nests, too: A mature and understanding relationship with your child as he or she starts a new adult life away from home is the goal. But keep in mind that your child’s roommates and friends may not have that same relationship with their own parents. Showing affection and interest in your child’s friends’ and roommates’ lives will not only win your child’s companions’ affection who come to see you as a great parent, but your child will view this as support of their friendships and life choices, strengthening your bond during their maturation process. Your child may also view this open acceptance as an opportunity to share more frequently the events that occur in their social life, which will enrich your appreciation for your child’s experience and may also provide you opportunities to offer them wisdom.
Let’s get legal (So, who is in charge when your child is in danger?): While your child is an adult who can enter into a legal contract, vote for a public official, and choose his or her path in life, this does not mean he or she is immune from making suboptimal choices. The fickle fate of life means that they can get sick or hurt, resulting in hospitalization. At age 18, our kids are adults in the eyes of the law, and parents do not have the legal right to make decisions on behalf of an infirm child. The only way to protect against this is for your newly adult children to elect individuals to act on their behalf if incapacitated. This includes a Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney, Living Will and Release of Medical Information documents. Each time McManus & Associates learns about a child turning 18, the firm recommends that they come to its offices to prepare and execute these documents naming their parents and other loved ones to act on their behalf in case of an emergency. When John McManus’ daughter left for John Hopkins, she was no exception; indeed she wanted to know the relevance of every paragraph and negotiate every term before signing but, in the end, the whole family knew that this was in her best interest.
“Your child is like a kite that you fly on the beach,” McManus shares. “Sometimes you have to run with them to get lift off, sometimes you have to hold them back to avoid them getting swept away, but always you must enjoy their beauty as they soar through the sky. Most of the time you cannot fly alongside them, but never let go of that mighty rope and always be prepared to make that occasional save when there might be a temporary nose dive.”
I attended catholic school from kindergarten up until sixth grade. The school was predominately Caucasian and I can really only remember a few other African American students being there. Kindergarten through fourth grade was awesome. I had lots of girlfriends and we did sleepovers, camping trips, and shopping trips with our moms and then something happened suddenly. Around fifth grade not only did I start noticing I was different but the kids around me started telling me I was different too. There were subtle things like a girlfriend taking notice that our hairstyle might have been the same but that my hair looked different or a kid joking about my skin being darker. I went from feeling like everyone else to feeling like an outcast and I know that’s not everyone’s experience but it was definitely mine.
My mother noticed it too and by seventh grade she had moved me to a school that was more diverse. The friends I met there I still have to this day and I am 33-years-old. I stayed in touch with a few two girls from the Catholic school but only for a short time.
A recent study shows that interracial friendships decline as kids enter adolescence and that teachers may play a role. The study, led by researchers with New York University’s Steinhardt School, found that as students move through a single school year that their cross-racial friendships decrease.
Elise Cappella, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of applied psychology at NYU said. “We wanted to try to understand what might be influencing that change … and we wanted to go beyond simply understanding the opportunity piece [greater numbers of diverse peers] to understanding what parts of this social process or the teaching practices might make a difference in the changes that occur.”
The study’s authors calculated the racial composition of the students’ classes and used an index to measure how many same-race friendships would be expected if friendships were randomly distributed. The researchers found that the number of same-race friends grew for both black and white children over the school year and that white students showed the largest increases.
The study also found that children are very observant and their perceptions of teachers’ traits are very important. Cappella highlighted the importance of a teachers’ daily interaction with their students. “When teachers [show] that everyone is valued … that everyone deserves warmth and support, then that trickles down to the students, particularly at this age,” she said. “Those [actions] are the most salient and potentially the most powerful for influencing students in a more implicit way.”
Keffrelyn Brown, an associate professor of cultural studies in the education college at the University of Texas at Austin, said that “integration cannot only occur at the surface level. It must be seamlessly found across all [parts] of the … teaching and learning processes.” And she went on to say, “It’s about cultivating a community of learners who are invested in the well-being of the community.”
What are your thoughts on the study? Do you think teachers play an important role in fostering interracial friendships?
Flowers are blooming, the weather’s heating up and your child is already fantasizing about summer fun at the pool. Just one (big!) problem–the school year isn’t over yet.
The approach of spring means trouble for many students academically. Let’s face it: it can be hard to focus on school when summer break is just around the corner. But your child’s grades don’t have to take a nosedive as summer approaches. Here are 15 strategies to help your child stay focused and end the school year strong.
Chat with the teacher. Talk with your child’s teacher for tips to help him focus. Teachers have years of experience helping students recover from “spring fever.”
Take homework outside. Who says homework has to be done in the same indoor location each day? Now that it’s warmer, your child longs to be outside. Move homework to the patio or the porch, and reward the completion of homework assignments with some outdoor playtime afterward.
Update the school supplies. Spring is a great time to update your child’s school supplies with colorful pencils, floral notebooks and brightly colored folders. Your child will look forward to doing assignments to use these spring-inspired supplies.
Set a goal and give a reward. Encourage your child to finish the school year strong by agreeing upon a goal and a reward for reaching the goal. Does your child want to do better in math? Or boost her G.P.A.? Talk to her about ways to make this happen and agree on a fun reward when she makes the mark.
Use movement to motivate. Use your child’s natural desire for movement to their advantage. Have him shoot basketball hoops as he memorizes times tables. Or toss a bean bag with you as he practices spelling words. Or incorporate dance breaks in the homework routine.
Make homework time family time. Have the whole family help your child prepare for a test. Have siblings help write flashcards or give verbal quizzes. Your child will feel less antsy if he feels that everyone in the family is involved in his assignments.
Use creativity to break the monotony. Playing hangman is a great way to practice spelling. Have your child help with measuring ingredients for dinner meals to practice fractions or read recipes to build reading skills. Being creative will keep your child engaged and keep you on your toes.
Divide and conquer. Does your child hate sitting for long periods of time to complete their assignments? Break up their homework time into segments. Have your child start homework right after school, take a break for dinner, and complete the rest after dinner. The break may be just what they need to redirect their concentration.
Start the countdown. You know that your child is mentally counting down to the end of the school year, so use it to your advantage. Together start crossing off days on the calendar to countdown the end of the school year. Each time you cross off a day, give your child a pep talk: “Just 20 more days until summer! You’re smart so I know you can focus for 20 more days!”
Maximize the weekends. Make your weekends mini-summers. Take your children to the playground, the pool or the movies. Load the weekends with fun as a way to quench their desire for summer break.
Visit the school. Who wouldn’t focus and do their best if they knew mom was coming to school? Take a few days off work to volunteer in your child’s class. The teacher will love the help in the classroom and your child will be extra attentive knowing that you’re there.
Make assignments come alive with field trips. Is your child studying state history? Then take a weekend trip to historical state landmarks. Studying the solar system? Check out your nearest planetarium. Family field trips can make mundane assignments fun.
Showcase their work. Every time your child completes a challenging assignment showcase his work. Hang the assignment on the refrigerator or in a prominent place for the family to see. Seeing your celebrate his success will help keep him motivated.
Get a tutor. If you just can’t keep your child motivated, it may be time to get professional help. A good tutor will help your child stay focused and hold her accountable to complete assignments (and keep you from getting frustrated!).
Make summer plans. Spend time with your child talking about what they’d like to do this summer break. Have your child research the summer camp or program that they want to take part in. Acknowledging that summer’s nearly here can be the motivation they need to persevere until the end of the school year.
Yolanda Darville is a freelance writer focused on making a difference. Connect with her on Twitter.