Spring = New Beginnings, Tips To Close Out the Year Strong

I remember the first time I heard the term “spring fever.” I was a third grader in elementary school, and Ms. Nowell was complaining about how hard it was for her to teach us, now that spring fever had affected us.

As she and some other adults bantered and joked about how they were simple babysitters for the rest of the year, I started daydreaming and doing everything, except the work that was sitting in front of me. I had learned that after spring, you can simply skate by and go through on the work you have done during the previous months.

My attitude stayed much the same through high school, and it is only now that I am realizing that my spring fever attitude is what kept me from wearing black robes and sitting in the front row during my high school graduation. If I had been more focused and regrouped every spring, my education would have been at least 25% stronger.

I have always been aware of the “summer backslide” but now, as a parent, I am paying more attention to the “spring fever” realizing that we must keep consistent with our efforts throughout the year, summer backslide will have a harder time appearing, if we keep active all spring. Here is a list of family activities that can help re-charge and close the academic year strong.

1) Get different books!

Every time a child outgrows their clothes, it is likely that they have also outgrown their current set of books. If their bodies have grown, so have their brains. I do much better at replacing books than socks, and this spring, I will be making sure that my kids get a few pieces to add to their personal library. These books don’t have to be new, or store-bought, they just have to be updated to their current mental abilities.

This is also a good time to start having reading picnics. Grab a blanket and some books, and get to the park and do some reading. If your books have bright white pages, make sure that you get sunglasses to help with the glare, add some grapes and water bottles to your backpack and now you are outside, fed your children healthy snacks, read, and spend quality time as a family.

2) Plan a vacation.

Summer is coming, what will you be doing? Planning the next step may seem counter-intuitive, as we want our students to stay paying attention to school, however, preparing for vacations can be highly educational.

How much will this cost? How will you pay for it? What do you need to pack? What would be good to know before getting there? The point here is to keep their brains active and moving. Keep them reading, keep them looking at numbers, search those maps together, write down your plans!

Also, remember good old bribing.

“Remember mija, finish all your reading so that we can tell abuelita all about what a good student you are while we are hanging out on the beach!”

3) Acknowledge beginnings.

To us, it seems like spring is the last hoorah of the school year, the last leg before reaching summer the end somehow. Nature, however, shows us that spring is all about new beginnings, the start of something new.

Plants are blooming, leaves are growing, things are new. Take some time with your children and look at all the new and wonderful things that are going on around them. Acknowledge the new that is going on at school.

4) Sharpen those pencils!

Every fall we worry about school supplies. Lists go home asking for students to bring items from a list, and we all make the effort to go to our local school supply store and make sure that our kids have everything they need. If for some reason we just can’t buy a new backpack that year, we feel guilty and bad and do the best we can to at least make sure that it is clean and mended and that zipper is working right.

Well, kids need sharp pencils in the spring too. Look at their supplies, you may not have to buy anything, but it is a good time to make sure that the basic supplies are still in working order. Did those glue sticks dry out? Is that notebook filled up? Do those pencils need to be sharpened? Maybe a new box of crayons is in order? Where are those staples?

Let’s make it easier for our children to do well in school by making sure they have all the tools they need to keep going. Sometimes supplies and uniform shirts just don’t last the whole year.

5) Volunteer or Simply Be Seen.

This is a great time for you to show support for your student by volunteering. Can you help with end of the year projects? Are an extra set of eyes needed at pick up? Are allergies making it so that tissue paper needs to be replaced in the classrooms? This is a great time to lead by example and be around for the finish. If you want the school year to close up strong, see what you can do to help it get there.

Having you be aware of what is going on in the school will keep your children motivated, they can’t really slack off if their Mami is paying attention to their moves. Also, if you notice that the school as a whole is starting to lack, you can make sure to fill in the holes for your student.

It is true that sometimes movies and end of the year parties start dominating the scene. You can counter anything that is less than perfect at home, as long as you know that the problem exists in the first place.

Those are some tips to help close out the year strong. Thank you for taking the time to read my words. If you have any other tips or suggestions, I would love to read about them in the comments.

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Melissa Cota

Melissa Cota

Melissa Cota is a Freelance Writer and long time education advocate, who has worked as a Reading Coach, Tutor, and High School Teacher. She grew up attending Chula Vista schools including Kellogg Elementary, Castle Park Middle and Castle Park High. She went on to receive a Bachelor's Degree from San Diego State University and now hopes to positively affect the Chula Vista Elementary School District through involved parenting.

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