A Time for New Beginnings
Regardless of the fact that New Year’s is celebrated on January 1st, every parent knows that the beginning of the new year is right around the day after Labor Day, when school begins again for our children.
Now that you’ve had time for things to settle down, you can calmly and objectively reflect on the previous school year and decide how you want things to change or to continue the same for the coming year.
With each school year children are expected to reach a greater level of maturity. Their schoolwork will be more challenging and their teachers will, in general, be expecting a high quality of work encompassing greater depth, more attention to detail, and more time commitment. Just as children will have to adjust their efforts to meeting these new expectations, parents need to be open to adjusting how to help them be successful.
Every parent has his or her own style when it comes to dealing with schoolwork. Some parents like to be very involved, and to go over homework and class work each day with their child. Others prefer to leave it up to their child to keep track of their own assignments and help out on a “when asked” basis. Neither is right or wrong, the determining factor is whether your level of involvement is working for your children.
Take the time to review in your mind, or with your spouse, how your children’s school performance was in the past year and how it affected your family life. Were there struggles over completing assignments or studying for exams? Did your children complain about missing out on social activities due to an overwhelming amount of schoolwork? Were you satisfied with the level of your own awareness on your children’s progress in school? In other words, what worked well and what would you like to change?
Sit down with your children and explain what changes you would like to make regarding homework policy, socializing on school nights, participation in other activities, and curfews, both during the week and on weekends.
August always seems to fly by fast, and school is open before you know it. Try to make these preparations at least a week before your children go back to school. Listen to their reactions, and decide whether you want to try it their way or insist upon your own. Either way, make a date with all your family members to review the new policies after three or four weeks and make sure your school year continues in the way that will enable your children to be their most successful. Good luck.#
Dr. Hankin is Superintendent of Syosset Central School District. Randi Sachs is Public Information Officer of Syosset Schools.