The End of the Year: (5/7/2015)
As the end of school approaches, it seems as if we are all in a rush to complete everything, and still balance the extra activities that students have as we close out what has been an eventful school year. The wise advice I would like to pass along is to have fun and enjoy the summer. This should be a time to slow down and relax. I always had my children read for pleasure, but read every day. We often crowd our schedules with so much in the way of activities that we fail to take advantage of this down time. Young minds need think time in order to assimilate what they have been learning. So be mindful not to overschedule your child or yourself. If you do, you may overlook the value of looking for patterns in a cloud filled sky or fail to appreciate the wonder of watching fireflies ignite the backyard at night. These are the times that our children remember in later years so make memories this summer.
To Override or Not: That is the Question: (3/9/2015)Counselors are often flooded with questions from concerned parents wanting to make the right decision for their child’s course selection. No one wants to make a choice that will set their son or daughter down the wrong path in the future. While I totally understand the dilemna, I want to add some perspective to this process.First, your child’s teachers make their recommendations based on many factors. These are performance, grades, work habits, potential, maturity, and how they react to setbacks. They know what your child looks like as a student. Teachers want a child to be successful and watching him or her struggle with their subject is not what proves to be the most motivating. It is disheartening to watch a child receive a low grade because the child is in over his or her head, particularly if your child wanted to be in an honors class because of interest in the subject. Rest assured, nothing can crush a love of math faster than a D. Liking a subject is simply not enough. It can set a student up for failure and that is the last thing we want as a student begins secondary education.
That brings me to the second consideration. Middle school is the beginning of that process when children becomes even more autonomous. They not only want to do it themselves, they won’t even tell you they are doing it! This is normal and a part of their growing independence. Studying on their own, keeping track of assignments, managing their time are all parts of the picture. They want to become active in arts, athletics, or some other areas. They need time to do this. If they are burdened and overwhelmed, this can’t progress at the normal rate and they will feel left behind.
The third consideration must be the simple logistics. Our schedule is tight. If they are in a course and not doing well (a D or F) they may have to remain there because we cannot change the class. This may require a student to go to clinics and seek outside help but it will impact their time and yours.
For these and many more reasons, overrides are difficult. We can’t always see into the future but I, for one, hate to see a child placed in a situation that can set the tone for middle school and high school. Challenge is important but so is success. Chose the course wisely aim for balance.Course Selection: (1/29/2015)
I want to let you know about the calendar for the remainder of the year. Counselors have already begun the scheduling process for our eighth grade by having presented them with course overviews; had the evening meeting for parents at CRHS-North, and had the administrator’s presentation to the eighth grade. At this point, teachers are making recommendations based on your child’s performance and current course load. In February, we will begin to meet with students individually to share the teacher recommendations and to then write down the elective choices. This will be printed out for parents to review and return signed. This process takes time, so please be assured that we will see your child. In March, the process will begin for our current seventh grade except that counselors do not meet with the students individually as they don’t have multiple elective from which to choose. Once this is complete, the sixth grade recommendations begin to come in. Add to the mix, the PSSA’s and you have a good idea of what the counselors are doing for most of the remaining school year. We will, of course, continue to meet our other obligations, just perhaps not as quick. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, we are always here to help.
On Making Mistakes: (9/15/14)
For most, the New Year is ushered in on January first, but for me, it’s always the fall. With the start of another school year, I am renewed and hopeful; anxious and nervous, much like your children. For incoming seventh grade, it is the beginning of developing their identity through independent action. Although they don’t say “I can do it myself mommy,” the sullen look and eye roll if we try and help, conveys that sentiment quite well. It is the beginning of independent decision making. Will they make mistakes? Absolutely. Will they need our help? Yes. But we learn through a complex set of trial and error actions. Don’t let these formative years go by without the life lessons because these are the opportunities our children have to learn from mistakes when we as parents are still available to be their guides. Being too sheltered might just mean a much rockier road in their future.