As the end of the school year approaches, students struggle to stay focused in the classroom. Let's face it, warmer weather, longer days, and the promise of a lazy summer all make it difficult to think about things like geometry. So how can we encourage our kids to focus on their studies through that last day of class?
1. Support the teacher.
Spring is tough for teachers too. The best educators know that keeping content fresh and engaging is one of the best ways to hold student interest, so many plan special end-of-the-year projects and activities. Be enthusiastic about these (and insist that they be completed), and your attitude will rub off on your offspring.
2. Allow for plenty of active time outdoors.
It isn't easy to sit still in a classroom all day, especially in beautiful spring weather. But since many schools are limiting recess time — against the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics — it's up to parents to ensure that kids are getting the necessary time to play outside.
If you let your kids play in the backyard or at the local park for an hour or so after school, they'll be able to better concentrate when it's time to sit down and study. And if you spend time outdoors over the weekends, they'll be able to better focus in the classroom during the week.
3. Stick to your rhythm.
Though Daylight Savings and spring sports practices may alter your bedtime and homework routine to some extent, keep the general rhythm of your household intact through the end of the year. If we give the signal that study time no longer matters since school is almost over, our children will be only too happy to follow our lead.
4. Create a visual.
Purchase a large wall or desk calendar, and then get your kids to help fill it with important end-of-the-year dates. Include the last day of school, of course, but also be sure to mark test dates, project deadlines, and fun activities like ice cream socials, school carnivals, and dance recitals.
Why does this work? Because students are usually more motivated to complete the tough stuff when they can see that there really is a lot of fun stuff mixed in too.
5. Look ahead to summer.
When you can see your kids starting to lose focus, take a break from anything school-related and start making plans for the summer. Talk about summer camps or family vacations or the lazy days you'll spend at the local pool. Then, get back to work. Your children will slowly learn that, while it's normal to be excited for summer vacation, it's essential to prioritize education as well.
Are your kids already looking forward to summer vacation? Do they lose focus at the end of the school year?