8/31/10

Back To School- Success Start

We've been back at school a few weeks now.
Is the transition ever easy?


Actually the first week was easy-
my kids enjoyed the excitement of re-connecting with old friends, swapping summer stories
meeting new friends





It's the second and third week that the back to school blues sank in.
Besides the usual... dragging of feet to do homework
I laughed when my boys started complaining about
"he's looking at me" as a distraction to getting homework completed.

As a simple solution: I set up some file folders to make "cubbies" and even put pockets on the inside to hold
weekly spelling lists
multiplication flash cards, etc..

A great book, that was sent my way this summer,
I think everyone should get is Tutor in a Book.






I honestly love this book.
It spells out practical and helpful tips
Not just for students- but parents as well.

A challenge for me, personally, is this phase into teenager.
I can tell with my oldest son, our old way of communicating is breaking down. He's a young man- searching for role models and advice from other male figures and not running to mom like he once use to.

I really like the advice the book gives on how to keep communication open. Approaching homework and school "team-minded". Having judgement -free "check-in" so kids can talk to their parents about grades and tests and get helpful ideas on how to do better or juggle the work load and feel supported.

I love the section on figuring out your child's learning style. What a great discovery in education! I remember growing up- teachers taught one way- and if you didn't "get it" then you were labelled "special ed". I am so glad educators now appreciate that there are different "normal" ways people learn. Personally, I am a Kinesthetic learner- meaning I learn by touching, doing and physically working through concepts. That is why I like action oriented book clubs. That is how I connect things. My oldest is a strong Auditory learner. We use to get so frustrated working together. I was always trying to model something, do something hands on- when he would want me to just read it aloud again or quiz him orally. (For me- information goes in one ear and out the other. So I had a hard time trusting a few minutes of oral repetition would be enough studying for him to do well in class.)

THEN knowing your child's learning style-- you can go through the book and see the tips and helpful ideas that fit your child. BRILLIANT!

The Section for Students is just as helpful.
Tips on Organization
Time Management
The day-to-day and Planning for long term projects
Study Skills
How to learn stuff, but also a GREAT section pulling important information on
reading assignments, games to help you memorize things.

I could go on and on.....
My son and I are reading this book together.
It is tempting to just sit and try to read it all at once. (there is so much good information)
But to slowly read it..
just a chapter a week...
and let ideas settle ... and try to apply ideas is really helpful.

Plus reading it together helps keep us communicating.

I mean- we talk. We talk every day--
"Hi honey - how was school?"
"good" or sometimes it is just a grunt.
"What did you learn today?"
"Math"
I feel like my words just bounce off a brick wall.

Reading this together, opens up a conversation about his school work, his assignments, his goals.
It is a nice mediator in helping my son and I find a new way to work together-- now that he is a teen. That we can be on the same team- helping him succeed in school.

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