As January draws to a close, I am acutely aware that the South African kids are heading into their 3rd full week of school. Have you considered ways to give your child a competitive advantage at school this year?
Logan is in Grade 6 this year. That means, we’ve refined our back to school, planning and organisation practice. I know how stressful is it when you child starts grade 4! I knew the rotation would help my little ADHD boy, yet I still felt a little anxious about all the changes.
With the help of a education psychologist, we have managed to implement a number of minor tweaks to help Logan cope with the changes.
We are also implementing one or two new strategies this year for Grade 6! And as always, we are open to learning what works for you and giving it a try too!
5 Minor Tweaks to give your child competitive advantage at school
1. Book Bags
Logan has six different book bags in his school bag, a bag for each subject. Initially, this was a little investment, because we opted for durable Waltons book bags in various colours.
Thankfully, the investment paid off, as two years down the line, the book bags are still sturdy and being used daily.
This year, Logan has decided to opt for 3 bookbags instead of 6. However, the principle stays the same.
2. Colour Code
Once we had purchased the book bags in various colours, I literally redesigned his school rotation roster, matching the book bags’ colours.
This helped Logan immensely! When he looks on his roster, he can easily see what his next subject is, along with the colour of the book bag he needs to take out of his school bag.
In other words, Math is colour coded in Blue. The colour of math on his school roster is blue and as soon as he sits at his desk, he removes the blue book bag out of his school bag. In the blue book bag, he neatly has all his math books together.
This helped him to be organised and ready to listen to what his teacher is talking about in class, instead of fiddling in his school case for the correct books.
It may seen minor to us as adults, but being able to focus on what is being said in class, instead of trying to get your duck in a row, as a child is serious competitive advantage!
3. Laminate the School Rotation Roster
Once we nailed the colour coded school bags, we printed and laminated the school roster. The laminated school roster card is attached with a simple keyring to his school bag – which give Logan easy access to the roster.
He doesn’t have to search for the homework diary, flip to the first or last page, in order to view the roster. It is easily accessed on the outside of his school bag.
4. Diary Management
Teaching your kid to use their school diary, can be an uphill battle. Especially when the teacher doesn’t check if they have written down their homework.
Here’s what we do: On a daily basis, Logan writes down every subject in chronological order, i.e. he follows the timetable for the day and writes the subjects accordingly.
This means, that all he needs to do is write down the homework in the space allocated next to the subject after the period is completed.
For us this practice wasn’t enough.
In certain subjects there we never any homework and in the languages, he always had spelling words for homework. Writing down ‘spelling words’ every day seemed a bit pointless.
For these reasons, we took it a step further in last year. Instead of writing down the homework, I asked Logan to write what was discussed in class.
For example: Eng – Passive tense
Now, naturally, he doesn’t always remember to write down the outline of the lesson per subject. One thing he is well aware of, is that I will be asking him for his diary when I come home. This forces Logan to reflect on his day, and jot down what was discussed.
The ability to recall information you stored earlier that day, is an invaluable executive function – a skill we all need in order to thrive in achieving what we decide to do!
5. Daily Practice
Ever since I read Caroline Leaf’s book – Switch on Your Brain, I am accutely aware of the active steps we need to take every single day, in order to change our thinking.
Deep reflective thinking helps us to change our non-conscious minds!
Logan may not feel the need to change his thinking. That doesn’t mean, it isn’t my responsibility as a parent to equip him appropriately for the future. Schoolwork certainly is a practical area to start!
Here’s what we’ve (slowly) tried to put in place:
We would like Logan to take a bit of time, daily, to reflect. In his instance, we would like him to jot down what they did in the classroom, for every subject.
At the moment, it seems like the end of the world for Logan! He feels our sole purpose in life, is to make him miserable. (Pretty much what I thought my parents were out to do, as a kid.)
Like I said, the details haven’t been ironed out just yet! I am hoping that we can transfer a skill to Logan, that will give him competitive advantage in the long run!
He is a smart little boy and with the right kind of guidance, he will excel in work and life.
There you have it! What’s working, along with, what we hope to achieve.
Tell me, in the comments below, what strategies you have implemented for your child? And how it has turned out for him or her?
I would love to know what is working for you.