Did you ever just want a fresh start? You know, a chance to start again, a chance to remake yourself into a better version of you? Or to remake a bad reputation? Teachers and students get the chance each school year to start over. It was one of the things I loved best about teaching. New year – new you!
As a teacher, I implemented new policies or classroom routines. Students decide to be more organized or complete all their homework. And it can be done! Why? Your new teacher or students have no prior expectations of you. You can be whoever you want to be. That is a blessing.
So, let’s talk about your teen. Was last year, especially the spring, a bit rough? Were grades slipping? This is the chance to change those bad patterns from last year and set new, more productive ones.
6 Ways Teens Can Start the School Year Off Right
Use a planner
This is the best way to create new habits AND start the school year off right. A planner will help your teen keep track of assignments and his schedule outside of school. Grab your teen, a planner (this one is my favorite! and this is my affiliate link), your kid’s various schedules (school, work, church, sports, etc) and have him or her start filling in that planner. Your teen should take it out during EVERY class and write down the specific assignment. If there is no homework, he writes “No Homework”.
For more detailed help picking and setting up a planner, check out my 2 posts:
Kids who start the year unorganized usually end the year even more unorganized. It’s time for your teen to set up her notebook(s) and organize that backpack. When the teacher asks your child to turn in homework, she will know where it is. When it’s time to study, she can easily find her notes.
If you (and/ or your teen) just don’t know where to start, take my 5-Day Organized Student challenge. Think of it as an organization boot camp!
Complete all work, in and out of class
This is the best time to impress new teachers and build a positive reputation. Remember, she might write your teen a recommendation to college or for a scholarship later on. Hopefully, the planner we discussed above will help your teen track homework assignments. But, he must work in class as well. Believe me, the teacher remembers the kids who goof off and declare they will “finish the assignment at home.” (Spoiler alert: they usually don’t!)
And if your teen has a summer assignment due, PLEASE MAKE SURE IT IS TURNED ON TIME. Read my post on completing a summer assignment at the last minute, if your kiddo needs to finish it quick!
Create a study schedule
Creating and sticking to a consistent study schedule will allow your kiddo to use their time more efficiently and better prepare for class. (Psst – This is when the planner really helps out!) Your teen should start blocking off time to study on a regular basis. That 2 hours before dance class on Wednesday? She could set it aside for English reading. 15 minutes in between practice and church? He can flip through flashcards on his phone. When a big test or semester exams are looming, grab my Study Plan worksheet!
Find an accountability buddy
Creating new habits is HARD! Research shows that it takes over 60 days to make a new habit. So, your teen should grab a blank calendar or their planner and write in their new habits every day or time they want to use it. It might look something like this:
Your child can create small rewards that she can give herself for using her planner every day for a week or cleaning out her backpack 3 weeks in a row. Mine, somehow, always revolve around food.
Then, she needs to grab a buddy to help her. That buddy will hold her accountable, meaning she will keep your teen honest and hold her to her goals. The accountability buddy could be a parent, a sibling, or a friend.
Ask for help
If your teen is struggling early in the school year, please please please have him go to the teacher for help. Together, the teacher and your child should be able to pinpoint the problem and fix it early. If the teacher can’t or won’t help (gulp!), ask the counselor or a tutor. As a private tutor, I work with students on isolating and solving those problem areas, whether it’s taking notes in class or understanding a text. However, it’s so much easier to fix that problem early in the school year. By April or May, your child may have missed too much content!
For more tips about being a successful student all year long, check out this post! Let me know how it goes in the comments below!
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