As the school year comes to a close, it is important to take a deep breath and rewind. All the highs and lows are still fresh in your mind making it a great time to review your child’s school year. What things went well? What did your child struggle with the most? Who was the most help to your child? There are some very important things to consider when reviewing your child’s past school year.
- Overall performance: Are there concerns about your child’s grades? While passing the class is important, it’s also important to know how your child achieved that success or not. Encourage your child to share with you how he or she felt the past year has gone. Children can be surprisingly intuitive to what they need to succeed. He or she may have found a study method that works for them, a better way to communicate their needs to a teacher, or simply found a subject that he or she loved and can do well in it. If there were struggles this year, your child can also help pinpoint where things became problematic. Is it the deadlines, the size of the projects, the level of content? The only way to really know is by asking. We strive for our children to be independent and successful; valuing their input can bring a sense of ownership to their school work.
- Who helped? Who helped your child get through this school year? Chances are you may have spent quite a bit of time prodding and cajoling for work to get done and deadlines to be met. There may have been a good match with an understanding teacher, tutor or study buddy. Review who assisted your child in getting through the school year, and reach out to them. These people have found a way to make your child successful; they can be a wonderful resource in understanding your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Armed with this information, it may be a good idea to make contact with next year’s teachers if you know who they are. Opening the lines of communication early let’s everyone get off to a good start.
- What helped? The end of the year is a great time to review your child’s in-school supports. Find out from teachers, your school psychologist, your child’s guidance counselor and your child what accommodations he or she really uses. As your child moves up the grades, accommodations and programs may need to change. What worked the year before may not have worked this year. By reviewing and communicating to your school psychologist about accommodations and their usage, you can help set the stage for an amazing school year in September. This is the perfect time of year to streamline your child’s IEP or 504 plan. Your school psychologist can also help you figure out what will work best if your child is transitioning to a new building or school. He or she will know what programs are available and what accommodations are feasible in the new environment.
The end of the school year shouldn’t be a time of concern and worry for the coming year. By reviewing your child’s year with him or her, you have a wonderful opportunity to really pinpoint what worked and to set the stage for a great next year. It’s all about understanding the year as a whole, not just the low points or the high points. Take what works and try to use it to fix what may not have worked as well. Encourage your child to take ownership of the good things, let them know that you’re proud of them. Talk through the lower points; find out what didn’t work and what they needed during that time. Use your resources, teachers, school psychologists, guidance counselors; they are all there to support your child. Find out how they think the year went, and their ideas for how to make the next one a great one. As your review your now past school year, you may be surprised how well it actually went. Growth happens!