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Let me start by saying, If no one has told you yet today, you’re doing a great job! : ) Please remember that. We all remember(and will always remember) Friday (March) the 13th.  It was a day that our world was abruptly changed.  Kids were dismissed from their classrooms to what felt like a normal Friday, and at the time, that’s all we knew.  Fast forward 180 days later (yes, ironically, the exact length of a school year) and we are still in almost the same position we were in then.  Except this time, more prepared and ready for whatever this year throws at us. 

As a classroom teacher of 10+ years and the owner of Teacher Time To Go, a “travel to you” tutoring company, I’d love to offer some helpful strategies from our recent Parent Planning Program on ways to support your child, and stick with routine/schedules this school year.  If nothing more, just remember, that there is no one “right” way to handle this new year.  You are doing the best you can.  And that is good enough!  But feel free to try and experiment with the tips below!

1. Set SMART Goals.  The acronym stands for “Specific – Measurable – Attainable – Realistic – Timely.  Don’t set yourself up just to be let down.  Set goals together with your quarenteam (aka your family).  Pick one goal a week and make it happen.  Maybe the goal is to eat every meal together or schedule 30 minutes a night to unplug and read together.  Whatever goal you set, make sure that it is realistic and can be accomplished without too. Many factors that could hinder it. 

2. Consistency = KEY!  It takes 21 days to build a habit.  Don’t get discouraged if online learning for your kids isn’t a raving success over night.  Even after week 1-2 you may not feel totally in the swing of it with your kids learning.  But stick with it and the results will come. If it’s helpful to make a checklist of each day to keep track, go for it!

3. Design an established work-space and let your kids picktheir supplies.  My favorite part of a new school year was choosing my special homework spot in the house and going school supplies shopping with my mom.  Continue to keep the tradition alive (even when the kids are learning from home.  Let them “shop” on amazon with you to find a cool pencil case or desk calendar.  Allow them to decorate their own personal space and a designated work area.  When they are comfortable in their setting and feel a sense of ownership for their supplies, they will be more likely to be engaged!

4. The Power of Academic Choice – kids learn best when backed by motivation.  Academic choice is best understood as allowing children to choose how they learn.  For example, if your child is learning about the life cycle of plants, allowing them to draw it out, act it out, or write it out.  They are still learning about the life cycle, but by adhering to their preferred learning style, they are more likely to understand/retain the information, and in turn, be interested in the content and material.

5. Self-reflection is vital. You’ve all heard of the phrase, if you don’t succeed try, try, try again.  And this holds 100% true, however, this time, reflect on what has worked, what you’d like to change, and what you envision the successful school day (for your kids and for yourself) to look like.  WRITE IT DOWN.  And have an open conversation with your child, regardless of their age.  When they feel they are part of the learning process, the motivation will 

Good luck to all the families out there.    Would love to hear any tips that have worked for you!  Remember, you got this!  

Teacher Time To Go provides Individualized Tutoring, Homework Help, Test Prep, Enrichment Services, and Executive Functioning/Organizational Skills for students PreK-12th grade. www.teachertimetogo.com


Jennifer Shemtob