Shaping a successful school year

1 Feb 2021

Shaping a successful school year

As a new year begins, it’s easy to think that this year will be the year that organisation reigns, preparedness will be rife, and incredible academic results will be produced. Making grand plans for a new year is normal but none of it will ever come to fruition if there is no plan in place. 

 

Routines 

It’s no secret that routines are an incredibly important part of life. When they work, routines make sure that we get enough sleep, spend enough time exercising and enriching our mind, and they can help us juggle a busy life. 

Routines are also important for managing expectations and priorities, and learning what it means to compromise. When routines are in place, students know what they need to do and when they need to do it, equipping them to look ahead and be prepared. 

Tips for parents 

  • No student ever ‘falls into’ a routine. It will take a lot of encouragement at first to go to bed at a certain time, to eat the right foods, to do their homework. This is especially true for older students as they find more of their independence. These routines, however, will help them to thrive throughout the more challenging years of school. Encouragement and management from parents at first is essential.
  • Parents can also support their children as they get into routines by providing the resources for them to get into a routine. For example, providing a space to do homework and buying healthy foods can be a great way to support your child. 

Tips for students

  • Know your weaknesses and your strengths. Some people believe that a ‘routine’ means you always exercise, have some mindful time, read a book, eat a full breakfast, make your bed, and clean your room – all before you make it to school on time. Take the pressure off yourself. Know when your brain works best and work around that. If you’re prone to staying in bed until the last second, make your lunch the night before so you’re never without brainfood. If your weekends are full of sport and social activities, make sure you’re allocating enough time during the week for your study, so you’re not rushing on a Sunday night to catch up.
  • Start shaping your routine now. The earlier you start, the sooner the routine will solidify and help you to manage the school year. 

 

Organisation 

The start of a new school year is a great time to rethink organisation. What frustrated you last year? How can you improve on it this year? Organisation is so important to keep you on top of what needs to be done, the big dates that are coming up, and managing academic commitments alongside other commitments in life.

Tips for parents 

  • Keep note of all the big dates – assessment dates, school events, term dates. It might sound like an obvious thing to do, but keeping across the big dates means that you know when assessments are mounting up for your son so you can organise other activities thoughtfully around stressful times. 

Tips for students 

  • Get a system! Whether it’s a binder for each of your subjects, a filing cabinet, or digitising all your notes so you can search for what you need – different things work for different people. Know what works for you and stick to it so that you know where to find your notes at any point.
  • Note down all your assessment dates and work backwards to know when you should start working on them, or start studying for them. Your teachers should be able to guide you through how long each assessment will take you to complete and you can use that guide to get ahead of the curve and avoid the last minute  

 

Connection 

Having time to touch base with family and friends is essential for students as they go through the school year. It can be the perfect time to take their mind off their studies, destress, and debrief. 

Tips for parents 

  • Life gets busy and afternoons can fill up with school pick ups, sports, study, and other activities. Implementing family dinners can be a great way to prioritise family time and set an expectation that your children will participate. It can be hard to convince older children to join in, but you can use the time to encourage them and understand their school life.
  • Prioritise praying for your children and their lives – including their academic lives. This will also help you to keep talking to your children regularly to understand their frustrations, their achievements, and what’s weighing on their minds.
  • Remember to support your children as they seek time with friends – these relationships are incredibly important to students, even more so if they’re looking to connect with friends who don’t attend Trinity. 

Tips for students 

  • Time with friends is important, but remember to be checking in with your family. Attending family dinners, supporting your siblings in their own academic/sporting achievements, and making yourself available to talk is always important. You are an integral member of your family and it’s essential that you treat family occasions with respect.  

It’s important to remember that none of these tips are going to magically create a breezy school year, but the small decisions and commitments you make today can help you and your son as you travel through another year.