By PAUL WENNINGER
Most school heads and principals do not like the annual spring day-by-day countdown to the end of school. Iem not saying that we donet know what the number is, but when you find students and sometimes teachers focusing on the fact that there are 35 days left in the school year, it can be a distraction.
Worse yet, you find that the sixth-grade math class is calculating the days, hours and minutes remaining.
Most school heads and principals do not like the annual spring day-by-day countdown to the end of school. Iem not saying that we donet know what the number is, but when you find students and sometimes teachers focusing on the fact that there are 35 days left in the school year, it can be a distraction. Worse yet, you find that the sixth-grade math class is calculating the days, hours and minutes remaining.
Why? Looking too far ahead takes your head out of the game. If a basketball team is ahead by 35 points at the half and they play the second half like theyere 35 points ahead, they stand a good chance of repeating the old quote, eWhat happened?e
The last six to eight weeks of school are extremely important. Academically, they are significant, as students complete coursework and projects and prepare for year-end testing. Socially, the last two months are important to relationships that have been developing over the entire year. Physically, there is some fatigue, especially coming out of a cold winter. All this can add up to emotional fatigue.
Try to enjoy every moment of your childes last few weeks at this grade level; it will be different next year. Thinking about how many days there are before you can get on with ethe next thinge can distract you from the thing at hand – the time remaining.
Here are a five quick ways to stay in the moment for the next six to eight weeks (depending on your school calendar).
- Help your child by not focusing on the first day of vacation and honoring each day in some small way. Use the evening meal time to recap the dayes events, perhaps. Write in a journal and encourage your children to do this at the end of the day.
- Recognize the pressure this time of year puts on children. If you feel crazy and crammed, imagine how they feel without all the time management skills youeve developed over the years and with far less control over their own schedules.
- Create spaces of calm – both physically and emotionally. This is hard to do, but it is essential to finishing the year well. Turn off media more than you might usually. Take family walks now that the days are longer. Sit and pet the cat for a while and breathe. Help your children do the same.
- Pacing is everything. I have run a few marathons. I know that if I only focus on the finish line, I will lose form, concentration, time and even enjoyment. Enjoy and support the weekes activities. Maintain a steady, focused pace. Do not overcommit. If Mom and Dad are seen pacing themselves, this will help the children do the same.
- Donet let the calendar drive you. This is a time of year that is full of command performances – holidays, ballgames, recitals, awards ceremonies, end-of-year meetings, special projects, and more. Put it all down on a shared calendar that the family can see and always strongly consider paring down unnecessary extras. Layer in a weekly family meeting if you do not already do so, and honestly consider ways to control your calendar and protect your time for family and yourself.
It is a good thing that summer is coming. It will be there when we arrive. Yet, now is important. Letes give the present our best.
Paul Wenninger is Head of School at Currey Ingram Academy. eExtra Credite is provided each month by Currey Ingram Academy to help parents at all schools and at all stages of the parenting journey.
Currey Ingram Academy is a private K-12 day school for bright students with learning differences and unique learning styles. For more information, click here.e
Earlier Extra Credit columns:
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- The little-known ‘character trait’ that can change lives
- Parent-teacher conferences can be most important meeting of year
- Parenting requires CEO’s skills, savvy every day