Viewpoint: How to counter winter’s doldrumsIf you have children in a Woodbury school, or in a surrounding school district, it’s quite likely you embarked on a new semester within the past few weeks.
By: Kate Soucheray , Woodbury Bulletin
If you have children in a Woodbury school, or in a surrounding school district, it’s quite likely you embarked on a new semester within the past few weeks.
As a former teacher, I know that the most difficult quarter of the year is third quarter, the one we just entered. The kids are a bit tired and the excitement of starting a new semester is missing, like at the beginning of the school year. Then it was all new and energizing: they found out who was in their class, they learned more about their teacher, and the books were new and different from last year.
As we begin third quarter, the work is often harder, new concepts are being presented and it requires kids to buckle down and really work. But the mornings are dark, it’s cold, and the brain that thrives on new experiences has to work harder to overcome the mundane, “same-old-same-old,” and do a good job of learning in spite of this.
It always seems that third quarter is make-or-break time. So here are a few suggestions to invigorate your kids to stay connected in school and remain committed to doing a great job. First, share your expectations of excellent work from them, exemplified in their assignments and on quizzes and tests. Perhaps you could plan a time to go to school and help them clean out their desk or locker, purchase new folders or a new Trapper Keeper, or re-cover books that have gotten dog-eared.
Second, remind them that it is usually the use of the planner that separates the really good students who get their assignments turned in on time and those who have lots of spaces in the grade book at spring conference time. Make a commitment to take a look at the planner and set goals each week.
Third, plan a trip to do something fun, but not necessarily expensive, this winter. Allow your kids to invite a friend to come along and let them help plan the outing. In doing so, your kids will develop new skills, giving their novel-seeking brain something to explore as you engage them in a fresh and interesting way.
Finally, encourage them to do their best. If they are in middle school, remind them they are developing habits for high school, and if they’re in high school, remind them that these grades count toward their grade point average (GPA) and that every assignment is important. Attentiveness from a parent at this time helps kids be aware that doing their best can alleviate worry, scrambling, blaming and poor grades as fourth quarter begins.
Soucheray is a Woodbury resident and a licensed family therapist