I love January. I love the fact that January signals to the whole world that it's time to hit the reset button. We can each individually hit refresh whenever we choose, but I love that during this season most everyone seems to be doing it at once. No matter what last year was like, what mistakes we made, or what we left undone, the new year is a chance to be a little better and to leave the past in the past.
If your child's school year hasn't been going as expected so far, you may be looking to hit the reset button for the new year. This is a perfect time to wipe the slate clean and head toward the school year you and your child would like to have. If this year has been tense, have a family conversation about what everyone wants to go differently in this spring semester. Not sure where to start in your school year refresh? Pick one or two of these areas to kick start your plans.
1. Reset Mindset and Expectations
Going into the rest of the school year with more open expectations and a better mindset can help ease stress and take pressure off of you and your student. Review the expectations you had for the school year and evaluate if they will be helpful going forward. I'm not encouraging you to not hold your child to any standards, but instead to re-think whether what you're expecting to happen is realistic. If you expected your child to get A's last semester but they are struggling with the content, consider expecting them to do their best, to learn something every day, or to improve upon their grades. It can be helpful to adopt a mindset of "growth over grades" to help you keep your child's learning and progress at the forefront instead of stress about letter grades.
2. Reset studying and homework
If studying and homework was a battle last semester, you might want to consider a revamp this go around. Think about what part of these routines was challenging and work together as a family to come up with solutions. I've listed some potential struggles below with a few suggested changes:
Kids fighting and complaining when it's time to start homework
Never having the right supplies
Kids unmotivated to do homework.
Help your child set goals related to their school work. This may help motivate them to practice so that they can get the grade or achievement they set their goal for.
Start calling homework "practice" and talk about the benefits of practicing academic work just like practicing sports or instruments.
Not knowing how to help with homework
Ask your child's teacher what resources she suggests you use.
Tap in some "subject experts" who are family and friends that excel in different subjects. When something comes up that you can't hack, call the subject expert to help your child.
3. Reset your systems and organization
If routines or systems didn't serve you well last semester, now is the time to toss them out and find something that will work better. If your before or after school routine wasn't working or was just plain boring, brainstorm ways to switch it up or to organize it so that everyone gets out the door or to the table at the same time. Charts and checklists could help your new routine stay on track in the first few weeks of implementation. Same goes for back and binder organization- if your child's homework was always lost last semester or the field trip form could never be found, now would be a great time to come up with a new system. Make sure your child has a hand in coming up with the organization system or new routine- they're much more likely to embrace the change if they're involved.
4. Reset through goal setting
If your child has been lacking in the motivation department, or is feeling discouraged by grades or lack of classroom accolades, goal setting is a perfect place to start in your reset. Setting goals and working toward achieving them can help students feel in control and more confident in the classroom. Help your child set an actionable goal that will get them where they want to go. Check in early and often to help them keep themselves on track. Need help getting started? Check out our goal setting guide.
Have you tried re-setting your school year in any of these ways? We would love to hear about it in the comments!
Wishing you a very happy new year!
Hoffman Tutoring Group