From a teacher's point of view, this time of year can be a challenge in the classroom. Everyone has spring fever. The weather is getting prettier, it's warm outside, and there are only two or three more months of school left before summer vacation.
But it is also a time when students tend to slack off in their grades and work habits. What's worse is that most state testing is at the end of the year, and these scores go into their permanent files. What can we as parents do to help the end of the year go smoothly and keep our children's grades from falling?
There are several reasons why children's grades go downhill at this time of year. First of all, baseball season starts. When my boys were younger, they were at practice almost every evening, or else they had a game. When they came home, they were tired, and still usually had homework to do. By the time homework was done, and they had their snack and showers, they were getting to bed pretty late. It was also hard to get them up the next morning.
The evenings stay light longer, so kids tend to be out later. They come home from school, throw on play clothes, toss their backpacks in a corner, and run outside to be with friends. They assure you that they don't have any homework. But suddenly, at around nine o'clock, their memory returns, and they sheepishly tell you that they did have homework. But it was only a math page, spelling words, and a reading story! No more than an hour's worth of work when they're already tired, and so are you! Does that sound familiar?
So what can we as parents do? Here are a few simple tips that may help.
First of all, review your expectations with your children. Let them know that you understand how they feel, but you still want them to do their best and "finish the race well". That doesn't mean putting undue pressure on them. Just reinforce the same expectations you've had all year.
Let them know they must complete their homework. Maybe you have a rule that they have to do their homework before they play, or possibly have them come in for the evening a little earlier if they have homework. You know what works best for your child.
Many teachers ease up on homework at this time of year, but they still have certain skills that they have to cover to prepare their students for end-of-year tests and for the following grade.
Insist on a reasonable bedtime. I've seen students come to school so tired that they can hardly stay awake, let alone concentrate and do their best, or learn something new.
Springtime has both blessings and challenges. Spotting the problem areas, reinforcing rules at home, and making adjustments to your children's evening schedules can make a pleasant end to the school year for everyone.
Jessica Gerald has been an elementary school teacher for over thirty years, and is the publisher of the website http://www.oldfashionedhomemaking.com.
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