Help Your Teen Succeed in High School (Continued)
Written by Cedar Ridge Academy,
Posted on , in Section Teen Living
6. Offer Help With Studying
Planning is key for helping your teen study while juggling assignments in multiple subjects. Since grades really count in high school, planning for studying is crucial for success, particularly when your teen's time is taken up with extracurricular activities.
When there's a lot to study, help your teen to break down tasks into smaller chunks and stick to the studying calendar schedule so he or she isn't studying for multiple tests all in one night. Remind your teen to take notes in class, organize them by subject, and review them at home.
If grades are good, your teen may not need help studying. If grades begin to slip, however, it may be time to step in. Most parents still need to help their teen with organization and studying — don't think that teens can do this on their own just because they're in high school!
You can help your teen review material and study with several techniques, like simple questioning, asking to provide the missing word, and creating practice tests. The more processes the brain uses to handle information — such as writing, reading, speaking, and listening — the more likely the information will be retained. Repeating words, re-reading passages aloud, re-writing notes, or visualizing or drawing information all help the brain retain data.
Even if your teen is just re-reading notes, offer to quiz him or her, focusing on any facts or ideas that are proving troublesome. Encourage your teen to do practice problems in math or science. If the material is beyond your abilities, recommend seeking help from a classmate or the teacher, or consider connecting with a tutor (some schools have free peer-to-peer tutoring programs).
And remember that getting a good night's sleep is smarter than cramming. Recent studies show that students who sacrifice sleep to study are more likely to struggle on tests the next day.
7. Know the Disciplinary and Bullying Policies
All schools have rules and consequences for student behaviors. Schools usually cite disciplinary policies (sometimes called the student code of conduct) in student handbooks. The rules usually cover expectations, and consequences for not meeting the expectations, for things like student behavior, dress codes, use of electronic devices, and acceptable language.
The policies may include details about attendance, vandalism, cheating, fighting, and weapons. Many schools also have specific policies about bullying. It's helpful to know the school's definition of bullying, consequences for bullies, support for victims, and procedures for reporting bullying. Bullying via text or social media should be reported to the school too.
It's important for your teen to know what's expected at school and that you'll support the school's consequences when expectations aren't met. It's easiest for students when school expectations match the ones at home, so they see both environments as safe and caring places that work together as a team.
It's also important to note that educators may call law enforcement officials to the school for serious infractions, and consequences may differ based on students' ages.
8. Get Involved
Volunteering at the high school is a great way to show you're interested in your teen's education.
Keep in mind, though, that while some teens like to see their parents at school or school events, others may feel embarrassed by their parents' presence. Follow your teen's cues to determine how much interaction works for both of you, and whether your volunteering should stay behind the scenes. Make it clear that you aren't there to spy — you're just trying to help out the school community.
Parents and guardians can get involved by:
- Serving as a grade-level chairperson
- Organizing and/or working at fundraising activities and other special events, like bake sales, car washes, and book fairs, or working at a concession stand at athletic events
- Chaperoning field trips, dances, and proms
- Attending school board meetings
- Joining the school's parent-teacher group
- Working as a library assistant
- Mentoring or tutoring students
- Reading a story to the class
- Giving a talk for career day
- Attending school concerts, plays, and athletic events
Check the school or school district website to find volunteer opportunities that fit your schedule. Even giving a few hours during the school year can make an impression on your teen.
9. Take Attendance Seriously
Teens should take a sick day if they have a fever, are nauseated, vomiting, or have diarrhea. Otherwise, it's important that they arrive at school on time every day, because having to catch up with class work, projects, tests, and homework can be stressful and interfere with learning.
Teens may have many reasons for not wanting to go to school — bullies, difficult assignments, low grades, social problems, or issues with classmates or teachers. Talk with your teen — and then perhaps with an administrator or school counselor — to find out more about what's causing any anxiety.
Students also may be late to school due to sleep problems. Keeping your teen on a consistent daily sleep schedule can help avoid tiredness and tardiness.
For teens who have a chronic health issue, educators will work with the families and may limit workloads or assignments so students can stay on track. A 504 plan can help teens with medical needs or health concerns be successful at school. Talk to school administrators if you are interested in developing a 504 plan for your child.
10. Make Time to Talk About School
Because many teens spend so much of the day outside the home — at school, extracurricular activities, jobs, or with peers — staying connected with them can be challenging for parents and guardians. While activities at school, new interests, and expanding social circles are central to the lives of high school students, parents and guardians are still their anchors for providing love, guidance, and support.
Make efforts to talk with your teen every day, so he or she knows that what goes on at school is important to you. When teens know their parents are interested in their academic lives, they'll take school seriously as well.
Because communication is a two-way street, the way you talk and listen to your teen can influence how well he or she listens and responds. It's important to listen carefully, make eye contact, and avoid multitasking while you chat. Remember to talk with your teen, not at him or her. Be sure to ask open-ended questions that go beyond "yes" or "no" answers.
Besides during family meals, good times to talk include car trips (though eye contact isn't needed here, of course), walking the dog, preparing meals, or standing in line at a store.
When teens know they can talk openly with their parents, the challenges of high school can be easier to face.