As vaccination rates increase and various aspects of society begin to reopen, a return to normalcy presents a whole new set of questions, challenges, and concerns. The implications of this are perhaps nowhere more pronounced than when it comes to a return to school and the parenting of school-aged children, whose lives have been upended in unprecedented ways since the pandemic struck in early 2020. Lockdowns, school closings, and remote learning have turned lives upside down, and families have spent a lot of time together at home navigating this stressful and uncertain period. As a result, many children have become accustomed to having a parent or caregiver around at all times. The transition to returning to the classroom for your child will take time and planning. For parents, there are two immediate questions: How can you help your child feel safe making the transition back to old routines? How can you support your grade-schooler and help them excel?
Get involved with school activities
Getting involved in school activities is one of the best ways to engage with your child’s education and to get to know their teachers and other parents as well. Not sure where to get started?
- Join the Parent Teacher Association or start a local chapter if there is no PTA established. This nationwide organization offers workshops, resources, grants, and more.
- Offer to chaperone field trips and dances. Or if the dance floor is too embarrassing for you or your child, sell soft drinks down the hall.
- Volunteer to help in the school library, cafeteria, or school office.
- If commitments make it impossible for you to volunteer in the school, look for ways to help at home; for example, by translating a school newsletter from English into another language.
Bear in mind that the same time management tools that will help your child succeed in class can be readily applied to your school activities as well. They’ll help you get and stay organized as you try to engage with and improve the school environment.
Power Tip: Connect Evernote with Google Calendar, so you can easily keep track of your kid’s school schedule. Evernote’s Project Management templates are perfect for handling school activities, and notes and notebooks can be readily shared between teachers, parents, and students.
Create and nurture a partnership with your child’s teachers
After looking at 50 different studies, educational researchers found a strong connection between parental involvement and academic achievement. The more parents engage with teachers and other support staff, the better they’ll be able to collaborate and measure progress. Strong parent-teacher relationships can be extremely beneficial when your child is struggling, as well as identifying affinities for specific academic areas and other interests that might not always be apparent at home. Students with engaged parents are also more likely to socialize better, experience less stress, and are more comfortable talking about problems and challenges with their parents.
How can you become more engaged?
- Give teachers your contact information and get to know them early in the school year. That way, when you have questions, you’ll feel comfortable reaching out.
- Share your classroom goals or expectations openly with teachers, and ask them to do the same.
- Take up opportunities to connect with the school. Volunteer stints, school activities, and parent-teacher committees are all great engagement opportunities.
- Take time to get to know the support staff besides your child’s teachers. That can include the principal, the school librarian, school counselors, and administrative staff.
Student success is most strongly influenced by how well their families involve themselves in their children’s education and encourage learning at home. The sooner you do, the more equipped your students will be to reach their full academic potential.
Power Tip: Use notebooks to gather information about specific subjects and activities, then tag and identify details such as reading lists and student records. Evernote’s powerful search capabilities allow you to find information quickly.
Be your child’s academic support at home
No student likes to do homework, no matter what their age, but children in grade school simply haven’t developed the kind of time management skills needed to handle homework on their own. Children are easily distracted, especially while learning remotely, and without proper motivation and discipline, homework that should be done in a relatively short amount of time might end up taking all night. Parents who establish healthy study habits and encourage their children at home will ensure their kids complete their homework in a timely fashion.
How can you get started?
- Set up a specific space for studying. It should be free of distractions, and not used for anything but schoolwork.
- Create a planner and draw up a schedule. Break down each task the student needs to accomplish each day and the anticipated amount of time each will take. Use a shared calendar to keep track of this schedule.
- Talk about ways to take smart notes, such as focusing on the things the teacher writes on the whiteboard and why they might be important.
- Encourage them to ask for help when they need it, rather than getting frustrated.
Power Tip: Use Tasks to set up reminders to start homework or other activities. You can establish planner templates to keep track of your child’s studies and access materials like reading lists. Also, use a shared calendar to keep track of study schedules and view it via the Calendar widget in Home. In general, a single-platform solution is an effective way to set schedules together, work through homework, and establish and maintain healthy study routines.
It takes a village…and a really good app
With many kids readjusting to the realities of in-person or hybrid learning, a whole new set of challenges is emerging: staying focused, establishing relationships, and juggling a full plate of extracurricular activities, to name just a few. Evernote simplifies the management of school life, helping you keep your child on track while freeing up some time for fun.