With summer vacation right around the corner, parents have to start thinking about the best way to prepare their children for the next school year. The best way parents can help their kids set educational goals for the next school year is by taking a look at their kids’ current grades. Sometimes the best way to create goals is by tackling the most obvious areas that require growth. Whether students will be getting tutored in English, or Spanish, or Mandarin, or math, or science, or they will be participating extracurriculars to broaden their college application, students should begin by setting goals that will strengthen the areas where they are currently missing the target. Grades are provided every quarter for this particular reason: to indicate areas of growth for our children.
I am the first to admit that grades are not the most faithful reflection of our children’s success. For this reason, it is important for parents to first speak with your kids and ask where they feel they have the most room for growth. If our kids choose to work on an area where they have shown strength, we can persuade them to tackle another subject. The collaborative nature of this discussion will give the growth process a supportive tone rather than a dictative tone, which can turn off our kids from desiring to work.
If your student is among those who gets straight A grades and is already involved in all of the extracurriculars available, you might want to begin speaking with them about vocational opportunities. Some options in the Bay Area are the Wishbone foundation, Summer Search, or Urban Tilth. The opportunity to participate in an intern position in a career field of their choosing will motivate your student to create academic goals for themselves. For example, our student can participate in a gardening summer program, fall in love with the profession, and begin to set goals for himself/herself around the sciences, and we have our next botanist!
Finally, parents should constantly be working with students not only around academic goal setting, but also around inter- and intrapersonal communication skills. These are skills that go beyond the classroom walls and bleed into basic life skills. Students should set goals for self-advocacy. Some questions to ask include the following: Did I speak with my teacher about my teammates? Did I communicate to my teacher that I was not understanding the lecture? Did I ask for help? Those simple questions can lead our kids to become individuals who excel in academics and in life. It all begins with equipping them with the tools to face their growth opportunities with bravery and by allowing them to explore vocational options that help them connect academics with life. We also want to motivate our students to do their best in the work that they complete.
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