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  • Writer's pictureMeg Tanner

Starting Strong


Dear Parent, I pray your summer break has been a great one. It's hard to believe that school will be starting in the next couple of weeks for my public school students. Private and home schoolers have a bit more time. I know some of you are attending open houses and buying your school supplies over the next few weeks. There is an old adage that states "how you start something is usually how you finish it." I think there is some truth to that, especially as relates to study habits. As you know I have my students sign a contract each year. I have updated the contract and will share it with your child/children as we start the year. There is a tendency for parents to think that the older kids don't need as much help with their school supplies and organization. On the contrary, I would say they need more. I will be helping your students with their study habits from week one, but in the meantime I would like to ask that you give special attention to the following: *Notebooks with folders for each class) Some of your kids, especially elementary and some middle school teachers will give you very specific instructions for notebook set up and you want to follow them; however, if there aren't specific instructions, I will ask that students have a notebook for each class or a large Trapper with sections for each. Ideally, I would like students to have a 3 ring binder for each class, but sometimes this takes up too much space in their book bag so they can use a larger one for multiple classes. I have extra 3 rings if you need one. I also like students to have a divider with two pockets for each class so that they can have a place to put homework to be done and work to be turned in. They should also have dividers for each class for homework, classwork, notes and tests. You want them to organize their notebooks daily, hole punch graded work, file assignments in the appropriate sections. *Agenda) Most schools provide an agenda. If so, make sure your student has one the first week. If not, you can purchase a great one at most dollar stores. Successful students use agendas. Please set the expectation from day one that they will be recording homework in their agendas. You will also want to ask that they record their averages from the Parent Portal in their agendas weekly. Agendas can be used for multiple purposes, like communicating with teachers, checking off assignments as they are completed, and recording study times each night. *Study Time and Place)

Your child needs a consistent place to study free of from distractions as much as possible. If at all possible, try to use common areas versus their bedrooms. Try to find some creative ways to make their space functional and inviting, free from clutter and stocked with things they need. As we have discussed your child should be studying every night, even when the teacher assigns no homework (the study habits contract has a list of ideas of activities). A rough estimate is 15 minutes per grade level.

*Parent Portal)

Please create the expectation from week one that you and your child will be regularly logging in to Parent Portal to view grades. This is a way for you and your child to stay ahead of any missing assignments, low grades, etc. and stay on top of averages. If your child's school requires you to have a username/password, please make sure you get that information the first week of school. Also, make sure your student knows how to access any online text books. If they say they need a password, make sure they follow through with getting it. Never hesitate to email teachers.

*Create a Culture of Accountability)

Following through with all of the above will also make my partnership with you and your child more successful. I have been reminded in the past couple of weeks in my own life of just how critical accountability is in helping me reach my goals. Some parents get discouraged and feel like they shouldn't have to remind or hold their child accountable for certain behaviors, but the reality is that we all have areas in our life where we need to be held accountable. I also hear parents say they wish their child wanted to get good grades or wanted to study more. As the article below explains, you can't make anyone want something, but you can hold them accountable for not meeting expectations you have put in place. Accountability accompanied by consistent and meaningful consequences for non-compliance will change behavior. If your pay gets docked for being late, you will find a way to be on time. If you get speeding tickets, you will learn to slow down. When you started having to pay your electric bill as a young adult, you started turning off lights when you left the house. If your son is unable to get online/play games/watch TV until he does all of his work, he will get it done. If your daughter knows she loses her phone if she fails to turn in work, she will find a way to turn it in. CONSISTENCY IS THE KEY. This takes time and patience but in the long run it will save you time and your sanity.

I am here to support you and your child in any way I can. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

It's going to be a great year.



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