Prep Now to Make Your Child's Next School Year Go More Smoothly
At the beginning of this past school year, 16-year-old Valerie’s mornings never seemed to get off to a good start. She frequently woke late, rushed to get to school, and often straggled into class 5-7 minutes tardy, much to the teacher’s annoyance.
Historically, Valerie had always been a strong student. She participated in many extracurricular activities and in several leadership roles, but as a self-professed night owl, she found her academically-packed mornings increasingly exhausting.
Earlier this year, this is how Valerie described a typical school-day morning to me: she’d stand in the shower for 15 minutes at 7:30 am, just trying to wake up and lose track of time; breakfast almost never happened, and first period always found her struggling to keep her eyes open during AP Statistics.
Changes Needed to be Made
Valerie couldn’t bear the thought of continuing down the same tiring path for rest of the school year. So here’s what she (with a little help from SOS4Students) came up with to make the rest of her school year more productive:
- She changed her schedule with her counselor so that her first period class was “lighter” and less lecture based. She’s in studio art now, which is active and creative, and doesn’t place too many demands on her attention or working memory.
- She is taking a shower the night before and laying out her clothes. Minimizing AM choices is a key for Valerie!
- She recognized that her smartphone was keeping her up later and later and making it tough for her to fall to sleep. It’s off by 9:30 now, per Valerie!
- She has pared down her scheduled of outside activities. Now she only engages in those activities she really loves. Her overpacked days filled with “must dos” and no time to relax are gone!
Make Plans for Next Year
What changes are you already thinking about that would help make the next school year go more smoothly? Yes, I am already talking about next year because, these days, the new school year starts for most students during the second or third week of August! That makes our summers even shorter and increases the importance of visualizing early how you might shape next year’s schedule for your child.
Start by considering these areas:
- If your child/teen has a 504 Plan or IEP, are the goals working? How about the accommodations? What could you add, expand on, or improve upon? Set up the next meeting now and draft a new plan of action.
- If sleep is an issue, perhaps a discussion now, when the pressure is off, is a first good step to address any problems. Maybe your child’s schedule is too packed. What can be dropped? Why is your child sleep deprived?
- Was social media a problem? New rules around phone and computer use may be needed. You don’t owe your child entertainment time on his or her smartphone; it’s a privilege and takes a backseat to school at all times.
- How was the schedule set up? Is your teen, like Valerie, struggling in the morning? A talk with the counselor may be the ticket to a better set up.
- What was the homework routine this year? Was it relatively smooth or stressful? How could changes be made to improve your child’s ability to handle most of his or her schoolwork with minimal interference from you?
With school out, take stock (in collaboration with your child) to see what worked and what didn’t this past year. Get your child’s input and listen actively, without judgement, as to what he or she would like to see changed this coming year.
We Can Help
If your student struggles with time management, organizational skills, and study strategies, check out or Summer Workshops for small group learning and Summer Coaching, which is tailored to meet the specific challenges of students one-on-one. Workshops and coaching schedules are filling fast, so act now to ensure a spot.
- Signing up for an SOS4Students Workshop or Summer Coaching is easy and can be done online. Our workshops tend to fill fast and start dates will be here sooner than you think, so act now.
- All workshops are held at Lafayette Library (Oak Room) Lafayette, CA.
- Summer coaching is available at our Walnut Creek and Montclair District offices, or online.
Middle School Workshops
High School Workshops
Can't make the workshop you need? Does your student benefit from more individualized attention? All ages and abilities benefit from the one-on-one summer coaching sessions with our seasoned coaches.