Academic Resolutions for the New Year

by Zena Smith

As the dust of the holiday season begins to settle, many of us have begun looking to the New Year as a chance to become the best versions of ourselves yet. These are the moments when we resolve to be more spontaneous, get in better shape, or rekindle old friendships—all admirable goals by any measure. But wouldn’t it be great if 2016 was the year that we made a new kind of resolution, an academic resolution?

There are many ways that we and our children can plan to make this year in the classroom the best one yet. Whether that means finding ways to be more engaged in the material, making education a hobby, or otherwise, we challenge you and yours to add one more resolution—an academic resolution—to your list in 2016.

Academic Resolutions for Parents

It’s a fact of parenting that our students’ results in the classroom—the grades they receive, the schools they get into—aren’t their responsibility alone; they’re ours, too! As parents, it is our duty to guide and support our children on their journeys from elementary school to junior high, high school, and beyond. By resolving to be more active and involved in that rule, we give our students their best chance of thriving and succeeding. There are many ways that we can improve as education-minded parents in 2016, but only you can decide which will make the biggest difference for your family. Here are some suggestions to get you thinking:

  • Attend more outings at your student’s school. From parent-teacher conferences to athletic events, field trips, and so forth, you send a message to your student when you show that you’re interested and engaged in their school activities. It is important that your student sees that you care; it sets a precedent and sends a message that they should too!
  • Spend more (educational) quality time with your student. Although it can be tough for parents and students with busy schedules to find time to “hang,” it is important that we do, even if it’s on the nights or weekends. In 2016, wouldn’t it be great if you could use this time to extend your student’s learning? Make a trip to the museum, sit down and watch a documentary, invite your student to shadow you at work. Be as creative as you want, but guide the focus of your quality time toward learning!

Academic Resolutions For Students

Students need quality New Years resolutions, too, and there are many ways that your child can aim to improve themselves in the classroom this year. Get the conversation started by asking your student about the resolutions they’ve made. If they don’t have an answer, get the ball rolling with some simple suggestions:

  • Be more active in extracurricularsLike you, your student will find that their involvement in school activities snowballs once they get started. From sports to clubs to volunteer opportunities, ask your student to pick up one new thing in 2016.
  • Spend less time on technology and more time in the books. It has become the norm for students to spend their minutes before bed surfing on their phones. Work with your student to break this habit and replace it with something more productive. If they read a book before bed only three nights a week, you may be surprised how it improves their focus, comprehension, and attitude in the classroom.

Of course, with all resolutions, the key is to start slow and keep steady. Trying to make these changes all at once may overwhelm you or your student, and it then becomes easy to slip back into old habits. Stay the course, and you’ll be well on your way to better report cards and happier students in 2016.

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