Here come the final weeks of school and you and your kid may feel like you’ve hit the wall. You need a second wind to finish strong. For a long-distance runner who’s exhausted, the phenomenon known as a second wind is what propels them to the finish line. Just when they feel like they can’t go another step their breathing becomes less labored, they’re overcome with increased confidence, and their performance improves. Is this new level of energy possible for students at the end of the school year? Yes.
Let’s use another running analogy: steady state exercise. Instead of varying energy output, runners apply a continuous, steady effort to physical activity. Think tortoise in the tortoise and the hare story. To finish strong, just keep going.
The end of this school year is actually the beginning of the next. Ending this year strong is setting your kid up for a good start to the next cycle of learning. Here are six ways to end the school year strong.
1. Schedule a parent/kid conference
Take a few moments for an end-of-year meeting with your kid. This is an opportunity to be a mirror and point out what you’ve noticed in their development. Focus on how your kid has grown through this home-school experience and let them know your observations about what they’ve enjoyed learning and what has captured their interest. Ask:
- What are you curious about?
- What do you want to continue to explore?
- How can I support you?
Pass your learnings from this conversation onto your kid’s teacher in a Parent-to-Teacher Letter. This is valuable information for them.
2. Maintain focus by setting goals
Whether you’re following the expectations of your kid’s school or developing your own at-home learning strategy, help your kid set goals for the remainder of the semester. To stay on track, list priorities and make a plan. Break the bigger tasks into smaller chunks and let your kid set the pace. The science of learning tells us almost any student can master material, but they do so at their own speed and using different processes.
3. Reflect and celebrate accomplishments
Even though it’s not over yet, celebrate what your kid has done so far to spur them on to completion. Research shows that reflection boosts productivity. Use these prompts to encourage your kid to think about this past season of home school and how they can keep going:
- What worked to get me into learning mode?
- How did I keep going when it felt too hard?
- How did I shift my strategy when my approach didn’t work?
- How did I stretch myself?
- How can I use this to push through the last few weeks of school?
4. Build a portfolio
Collecting and reviewing past work can be very motivating. Pull together projects, stories, drawings, and other work your kid created recently. It’s personally rewarding to look at all they’ve done this season and can spur them on to accomplish even more. It may be helpful to take this to school when it reopens to show the teacher what they’ve learned.
5. Document this unique learning experience
Writing about their experience boosts memory. It’s also a living record of an unforgettable moment in time and a window into understanding how your kid has processed what’s been happening. Showing this to the classroom teacher in the fall will give them insights into the at-home learning experience.
6. Plot a plan for summer learning
Take a moment to sit with your kid and work through Prepared Parents’ summer scholar activity to develop a strategy for continued learning through the summer. It’s not a bad idea to set some goals for yourself as well. You’ll be modeling the joy of being a lifelong learner.
More than ever parents and kids are partnering in school. Parents, be proud of the work your kid has been doing and excited to tell their teachers about it. Prepared Parents created the Parent-to-Teacher Letter so you can share back their home school experience. Then give yourselves a high-five for all you’ve done. It will spur you both on to the finish line.