Many of our students began their new semester in January. It’s the perfect moment for a fresh start! Now is the time to revisit goals, celebrate the successes of the fall semester, and plan ways to end the school year on a strong note. Here’s 10 ways to start the new semester on the right foot:
1. What went right last semester?
It’s easy to focus on what went wrong and where you want to see improvements. However, it’s also important to step back and recognize achievements, no matter how small, that were made during the first half of school.
Did your child start the year strong? Maybe he wrote in his planner consistently for the first month. Even if it fell off after that, celebrate the beginnings of time management habits! This semester, he can focus on maintaining that tool for more than a month.
2. Re-set Goals
Starting with the positives from last semester, talk with your child about the goals you BOTH have for the new semester. Build on those habits, or choose new areas on which to focus.
Create SMART goals:
- Specific – be straightforward
- Measurable – how will you and your child measure progress?
- Action-oriented – outline the actions your child will take
- Realistic – make sure the goal is attainable with some effort
- Timely – identifying an end point gives your child a target to work towards
Establish a clear plan for finishing homework, checking to make sure it’s correct, and putting it away in the right place so it can be turned in the next day.
Develop skills to keep track of larger assignments and break them down into manageable pieces.
For high school juniors, now is the time to begin preparing for the SAT and ACT if you haven’t started already. Would your child benefit from an overview of the test structure and content, or is more in-depth work needed?
Look closely at the semester report cards and break down each grade by category (homework, quizzes/test, projects, final exam). That way, it’s easier to tell where the student needs to improve.
7. Academic Skills
In the first semester, foundational skills were built. This semester, students will be expected to develop and apply those skills. If there are any holes or weak areas, they should be addressed now!
8. Time Management and Organization
Clean out those binders! Take out materials that won’t be needed for the new semester (if in doubt, store them in a folder at home), fix broken divider tabs, and replace lost planners.
9. Extracurricular Activities
It might be time to change sports or start a new extracurricular activity, but keep practice and game schedules in mind. Don’t schedule too many activities at once. Think about whether games, plays, or recitals will come at the same time as the next round of final exams.
10. Support System
Evaluate the support system that was in place for the first semester. Perhaps your child had a study buddy, met with a teacher or tutor, or improved skills with an Educational Coach. Was that the right amount of support? Would your child benefit from more support, or is he ready to be more independent?