Fresh starts carry great promises. Each one is a second chance at changing our habits and behaviours to get it right this time. When it comes to education, although children are aware of and excited by fresh starts, they often lack the skill set to bring about changes, even if they do have the initiative.
Most parents not only share their children's hopes for the new school year, they're also more likely to see the bigger picture. Habits don't change on their own. It takes consistency and determination to adopt new habits and let go of the ones that no longer serve us. Many parents comment that they are in disbelief with how quickly their kids are growing up, and every September is a reminder of this passing time.
Thanks to the no-fail, no-zero school policy, students are presented with second chances every year. But in real life, opportunities are rare and precious. Given that a lot of our big regrets come from missed opportunities, it's important to teach kids to take advantage of every second chance they get.
Success comes from routine training, receiving and incorporating feedback, and overcoming failures. Children who adopt these habits and skills set themselves up for a brighter future. As students step into their new grades, there are things parents can do to help their children make this year their best.
Importance of practice
Students who receive homework from their teachers learn organization, time management, and the process of mastery. Those who do not miss out on the opportunity to build these skills. Without homework, students don't learn the importance of training and practice in improving performance. Successful professionals and entrepreneurs reached their goals through consistent effort, on good days and bad.
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For practice times at home, use your children's school textbooks (or buy additional workbooks) and assign them questions, starting from easy ones to make sure they practice the basic skills. Once comfortable, pick more challenging questions for them to try. When students struggle in a positive and encouraging environment, they develop problem-solving skills and learn to embrace challenges. Those who work only on easy questions may adopt anxiety and nervousness towards difficulties and try to avoid them. Encourage your children to stretch their thinking and break out of their comfort zone on a routine basis by challenging themselves.
Sticking to deadlines
It's important to teach children how to manage their time and stick to deadlines. It may mean that sometimes they need to postpone or cancel a social event to make sure they complete an assignment or study for a test. Often when students mismanage their time, parents are quick to step in to finish the task for them, sending children the message that even if they don't try, it will somehow get done. This skill is especially important in adapting to today's learning trends and shifts to e-learning and distance education platforms where students have full control of their studies. To allow a smoother transition to post-secondary and the workforce, children must learn to be accountable to deliver quality work on time.
Often when students mismanage their time, parents are quick to step in to finish the task for them, sending children the message that even if they don't try, it will somehow get done.
Tests and assessments
Getting feedback through tests and assessments allows students to track their learning and (hopefully) take action to improve. Instead of letting tests be a source of fear and anxiety, teach your children to embrace testing. Practicing timed tests at home prepares your child for higher grades and helps them become accustomed to showcasing their knowledge. Students who become comfortable speaking or writing about what they know will find more success in future situations, whether at a job interview or an executive meeting that requires them to present and showcase their knowledge and thinking.
Encourage your child to go over their tests with the teacher and understand the mistakes they made and how to correct them. Students often miss the opportunity to learn from mistakes because teachers do not hand back the tests for students to look over. Kids need to know what they got wrong and why it's wrong so that they can learn from their mistakes. The worst mistakes and failures are those that do not provide learning opportunities. Encourage your children to respond to mistakes positively and seek feedback to hone their skills in overcoming failures.
Using school to teach students essential skills such as time management, working with deadlines, and overcoming failures will not only lead to better marks, it will make your children adaptable and prepared for their post-secondary education and their future employment.
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