In these last few weeks of the school year, it is important to still prioritize school. We are lucky Erica McCall is sharing what parents need to remember these last few weeks. Erica is in her 10th year of teaching, so she’s a pro at giving down-to-earth advice on educational topics like this one.
School is ALMOST out. But – it is not out yet. Hang in there. We know all the teachers and the parents – and the kids- are excited for their break. Here are a few tips as you are waiting for the big end of school day to arrive.
1. School Isn’t Out Yet
Students still need 8-10 hours of sleep every night. With the weather turning beautiful and the sun staying up late, kids tend to stay out later and later, and then stay up even later than that playing on whatever electronic device they can smuggle under the covers.
While playing outside is super important, it might be time to limit the electronics at night to ensure they’re still getting enough time for their brain to rest and recharge. (Same goes for you! You can’t function on all 8 without getting your own 8!)
2. Supplies Are Running Low
Remember all those supplies you sent in at the beginning of the year? Yep. They’ve been blown through (literally if we’re talking about tissues) and most teachers could use a boost. You will earn some serious bonus points if you send your child’s teacher a quick note asking what you can grab during your next trip to the store.
If you’re feeling super awesome, send in a pack of paper along with a candy bar for the teacher. Trust me – the chocolate is necessary at this point of the year.
3. Testing Season Is Stressful…
…for everyone! You can help by ensuring your child gets plenty of rest, eats a healthy (not sugary) breakfast, and does a light review the night before each test section. Remember how effective cramming was in college? It isn’t effective for kids either.
A light review to remind them of which war was about what or a fast round of multiplication flashcards is great, but anything more is going to just frustrate everyone involved. If they don’t have it by the week of testing, they don’t have it. If they do, they do. A lot of test anxiety can be prevented, so be sure you remember to take a breath and allow them to do so, too.
4. Next Year CAN Be Different
You have a voice. Use it appropriately. If you find it absurd, as I do, that third-grade students are expected to write a coherent essay in thirty minutes or less, call your representative! If you think your school should offer a wider variety of media materials for your child’s class, call the media specialist or principal!
Don’t, however, talk to them like those people you see going viral. Be kind. Be polite. Be firm. Be eloquent. If you have a point but you get rude, your point will be totally lost behind your attitude. I was told once that 90% of marital arguments are over communication issues, like tone of voice. Lots of school issues are definitely made worse based on the attitude of one or both parties involved. Speak up, but mind your manners.
5. Summer = Brain Drain
Richard Allington, a leading researcher in the literacy field, shared that students who read over the summer will return in the fall ahead of those students who do no educational activities. Students will move forward at approximately the same rate during the year, but summers are where the biggest gaps arise.
Kidding Around Greenville is a great resource (slight horn honking here) for ideas about what to do over the summer with your kiddos, including activities that help avoid brain drain.
Visiting Falls Park? Create a quick scavenger hunt game that requires problem-solving. Traveling up to Lake Keowee? Pack a book for each kid and put the phones in the glove box. Last but not least, visit the public libraries! They even offer activities that give you a hot second to sit and flip through a magazine!
Now breathe. Summer is almost here! You can make it!
As you take this advice to heart, there are Things to Do in Greenville this May to keep kids learning while having fun.