Every year at the start of school you have big plans for your child to have a successful school year right? Your children will all get straight A’s, you will be on-time for school every morning, and you will be the best homeroom mom. But just a few days after school starts the reality starts to set in. You realize your children might not all get straight A’s. You have been tardy 2 times the first week of school (actually happened to me). Your schedule is too busy for you add homeroom mom.
How does a busy mom still make the school year a success? You make have a plan. Your plan includes a plan for academic success, a plan for morning success and a plan for being a helpful mom even if you can’t be the homeroom mom.
A Plan for Academic Success
Create a Schedule
To have academic success, you will need a schedule to complete homework, study for tests and complete projects. No matter what your child’s grade, it’s never too early to start learning to use a planner or agenda. Help your child start writing down homework and other assignments.
If your child is in grades that have tests, quizzes, and projects, teach them to plan ahead. Some projects take several days or even a few weeks to complete. Help your child develop a plan to complete projects. Resist the urge you probably have to create the plan for them, just guide them in creating the plan.
For example, if they only plan 2 days to read a 200-page book for a book report, you should guide them to develop a better plan to complete reading the book (over 2-3 weeks). Learning to manage time is an important skill for children to learn.
Tests and quizzes also need time to prepare for and study. Planning a few days ahead to study will increase your child’s chances of doing well on tests and quizzes. When they cram, they are less likely to retain the information long term.
Another aspect of having a schedule includes a set time for homework and projects. Do you have your child do their homework right after school or do they rest and do homework after dinner? For different families, different times will work better. For us, because I work full-time, we tackle homework after dinner. The kids take a break from studying in the afternoon.
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You started off the year with the high and lofty goal of all your children having straight A’s, but deep down you may have known that was not possible. Maybe your kids can have all A’s and B’s. Maybe it’s important to improve grades in specific subjects.
At the start of the year, take 30 minutes to an hour and define what will make this year a success. Be specific. For example, you can say success for this year is a “C” in math (last year was a “D”). This year, a “C” in math all year will be an improvement.
Take your time, be thoughtful with how you define success for each child and most importantly be realistic. If you know your child cannot make an “A” in math, don’t set an “A” in math as a success. If you set the definition of success too high, your child will just feel like a failure.
Each time you reach a success milestone, you can take another baby step forward. Every 9 weeks if you reach the goal you have set, create a new goal that is slightly harder to reach. See how far you can go. Never stop trying to do better, but master where you are first.
At this step, you are setting the parameters of success. Each child will have a unique definition of success.
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After you have defined success, you will need to set goals for how your child will reach success. You can set many types of goals. You could make it a goal to get a set grade or higher on every test. You could set a goal of completing all homework successfully.
Since you have your definition of success, you may set weekly goals based on assignments given or past grades (if your child scores low on an early test, you may be working to make improvements).
For my oldest child (in 6th grade), I will be working with him to write weekly goals. His weekly goals will help him stay focused and on task. Remember, you can also break goals into smaller goals. For example, the goal is to get an 85% or better on the science test Friday. You can set smaller goals of studying 2 nights during the week and memorizing some important facts before the test.
Setting goals is an important step because if you don’t set goals and continually refine the goals, your child is less likely to achieve the definition of success.
The plan for academic success includes: creating a study schedule that will work for you and your family, defining success and setting goals to reach your definition of success.
A Plan for Morning Success
I will be the first to confess, mornings are not always a success at our house. I work hard at being prepared and ready to go, but many mornings it’s just a mad rush out the door.
I’ll confess, I deeply struggle with getting my children to school on time. School just started this week and we were late 2 times (the tardy bell rang just when I pulled into the parking lot, don’t tell anyone but I cried on the drive to work, I get so frustrated when we are tardy). Does this ever happen to anyone else or just me?
My plan for morning success includes: preparing lunches & backpacks the night before, making sure all homework is done and in the backpacks ready to go, setting out clothes to wear for the next day at night. The morning struggle comes into play when I have 3 additional people with their own opinions about when and how fast they want to get ready for the day.
I account for all the little things that can go wrong in the morning (a misplaced shoe, slow to get up, scrambling around for something, etc….), I am working really hard to add an additional 15 minutes of margin time into our mornings. If we have everything prepared the night before and add 15 minutes of margin time, I believe we should have morning success.
A plan for morning success includes: doing nightly preparation including making lunches, packing a backpack, completing homework, and setting out clothes for tomorrow. Then adding 15 minutes of margin time to our morning routine.
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A Plan to Help
Working moms are frequently too time-challenged to be the homeroom mom. But just because we cannot be at school in the mornings or assisting every week, we can still be helpful to teachers.
One area I always notice teachers need more help is field trips. We can plan ahead, save a few days of our vacation time, and go on field trips with our children. Our children love it when we come (except maybe not the teenagers), and we can be a big help to the teachers.
We can also offer to help with refreshments when there is a class party (Christmas, Valentines, end of the year). Teachers appreciate extra help with food and refreshments.
Last, we can send supplies periodically for the classroom (wet-wipes, hand sanitizer, Lysol wipes and more). We can also send pencils, pens, paper for the class to use when someone runs out.
Even if we work or our schedule doesn’t allow us to help at school every day or week, we can still help by chaperoning field trips, sending food and refreshments for class parties, and helping with classroom supplies.
Make your school year success with a plan for academic success, a plan for morning success and a plan to help in the classroom.
How do you make your school year a success? What have you done to make academics or mornings a success at your home? How do you help the teachers?