Building positive habits and routines that support your child in their learning is one of the key ways that parents can support their children at home along the journey toward academic and personal success. Here at Aspen Academy we will work to partner with our parents to help implement such strategic routines that empower our students towards becoming increasingly self-aware, more personally accountable, and bringing each student to a place where he/she feels more empowered to pursue their passions and to attain their personal goals.
Establishing routines and habits that work for your child depends highly on helping them to identify their personal learning style, working with your child to recognize the strengths that reside in their personal learning style, and to provide a safe and nurturing environment that allows your child to take healthy risks that promote personal growth at a time in their life when it is ok to “miss the mark” as they identify such opportunities for growth. There is a fine balance between creating a system of personal organization that helps a student to stay on task and get things done, and finding oneself in a place where routines and habits can actually feel rigid. It is important to help our students to find this healthy balance so that they can more effectively leverage their personal organization system to help them and not debilitate them.
Students are encouraged to identify a personal organization system that works for them. Whether they choose to use a paper planner or an online digital calendar, paper note cards or a computer generated Quizlet, or chose to study right when they get home from school or after gymnastics practice and dinner; each student is encouraged to explore and take ownership of a system that works for them.
There are several key resources that are in place for both parents and students that will help to build the right system for your child.
- Open and regular communication with your child’s teachers is always a great place to begin. Knowing the expectations of a specific teacher for a specific course allows the student to begin with the end in mind and to strategically guide their efforts towards maximizing what is being offered in each class. The balance here is that we often want to “help” our students and we can fall into the temptation of doing things for them. However, it can be more helpful to encourage your student to self-advocate as they grow along their path of maturity and independence.
- Study and homework environments are also highly influential in how productive a student can be when he/she is at home working to stay on task and complete their next assignment or to study for their next quiz. A clean and clutter-free desk space can minimize distractions and help students to know where essential materials are located when they are needed. Removing distracting digital devices like cell phones and games will increase your child’s capacity for learning, focus and attention while they study. This is a big one and will help your child to see the “reward” of having designated play time after their work is done.
- Canvas is our online grading software program. It is truly important to login early and login often if you wish to see critical information with your child. This platform allows teachers to effectively and efficiently communicate pertinent information about upcoming assignments, grades earned, and course syllabus. Again, the key here is balance. There is plenty of information here and the temptation can be to “over-check-up” on your child, whereas in the middle school, it is certainly a goal to build our students up to a place of independence. This skill, like most, comes with practice, so it is very helpful to guide your child, but ultimately allow them to build up the skill if independence. If you find you are having any trouble at all logging into Canvas please reach out as soon as possible so that we can provide you with the necessary login credentials to help you best support your child in their successful journey.
Finally, but perhaps most important, and true for parents and students alike, to practice and model the skill of self-advocacy; to please ask for help early when you have questions. Teaching professionals are helpers by our very nature and we want nothing more than to help you and your child have the best experience possible here at Aspen Academy. Whether we can help with academics, your child’s social/emotional development, or simply finding a critical piece of information that you are looking for, we want to hear from you. Thank you for entrusting us with your kiddos and for the invitation to partner with you in the education of these magnificent students.
About the Author
Jessie Skipwith is the Student Success Coach at Aspen Academy.
Jessie comes to Aspen Academy with over 20 years of experience in educational leadership and student engagement. He has held head of school positions at elementary, middle and high schools, ran an all-school counseling department, provided private practice counseling services for families and individuals, and has served as the executive director of an education non-profit supporting low-income, English language learners from throughout the greater Denver area. He is a voracious reader of books about how students learn, how families and communities support developing young people, as well as books on progressive, innovative and dynamic new solutions to many of today’s life challenges. Jessie loves that Aspen Academy provides families and students with a small, nurturing and safe environment that encourages students to take healthy risks, to push themselves beyond their comfort zones, and that it inspires insatiable curiosity and wonder in students as they pursue their passions to help make the world a better place to live for all people. Outside of work, he loves to spend time with his wife and two children and enjoying Colorado’s great outdoors while hiking, golfing or skiing.