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Making the Most of The High School Years

High School can be a difficult transition for students.  It is a change in building, atmosphere, rules, expectations, etc. Once students reach the high school level they are given several  freedoms that they did not have in junior high or middle school.  High School students are old enough to make their own decisions and it is the parents and the schools job to help them make smart decisions.  Below are some tips from the pamphlet "How to Get the Most out of High School" (Woodburn Press, 2003) to help parents guide and advise their children as they go through high school.

  • At the beginning of each term, sit down with your son or daughter and together set realistic academic goals for that term.
  • Encourage your child to be involved in extracurricular activities, and show your support by attending performances, games, etc.
  • Make sure that your child understands that he/she is expected to be in school, on time, every day.
  • Attend all exhibitions and parent conferences.
  • Calendar the dates that progress reports and report cards come out, and expect your child to bring them home.  If you don't see one, call the school and request a copy.
  • Realize that it's your child's responsibility to be in school every day, to follow school rules, to get homework done, and to prepare for tests.
  • Work together with the school.  If you have a question or concern about a class, make a phone call or send an e-mail to the teacher and advisor.  If your concerns are not alleviated contact administration.
  • Make sure that your son or daughter is not spending too much time on the phone, playing computer games, watching TV, etc.  Also make sure that a job doesn't interfere with school.
  • Talk to your child about what's happening in school and be a good listener.
  • Look for opportunities to praise good grades and extra effort.
  • If you suspect that your child is drinking or using drugs, talk to your son or daughter immediately.  If you need help or advice, talk to administration or to your family doctor.
  • Encourage your child to take care of things on his/her own.  By doing this, your child will learn independence and gain confidence.  If you child is unable to resolve an issue, or if there is a serious problem, be available to help or intervene.
  • Help your child choose appropriate courses.  If you have a question about a course, talk to your child's advisor.
  • If you want to change a behavior, first make sure that your son or daughter knows exactly what your expectations are.  You can then offer rewards if your expectations are met and/or consequences if they're not.  Never take away a positive activity (e.g., sports, choir, school play) as a consequence.
  • Put the computer in a common room and monitor your child's Internet activity.
  • Help your child explore and evaluate a variety of career and educational options.
  • Most importantly - Make school a top priority!  Nothing is more important to your child's future than education.