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Moving On: Getting Ready for the Next Step
aTransitions can bring welcome changes and unknown challenges. How prepared is your child for the next step in his/her education? Has school been a breeze so far? Was the last transition a piece of cake? Or has your child been struggling? The smoothness of a transition can determine the smoothness of the new path. Whether your child is just moving up a grade or moving to a new school, take a look at how prepared your child is for this transition.
Evaluate Needs
If things have been going smoothly, you need to make sure your child's skills are upgraded for the next challenge. Will your fifth grader be able to handle the organization of seven separate classes? Is your eighth grader ready to enter high school? Can your honors student handle AP classes? Will your graduate be able to handle the challenges of college? If you are not confident your child has the necessities for success at the next level, summer is a great time to gain the skills needed. The better prepared our children are, the more confident and successful they will be when they get to that next step.
Get on Track
If things have not been going so well, summer is also the time to get on the right track. Has your child struggled through one or more classes? Get some extra help now, either to catch up or increase confidence. It's important to continue to use challenging skills or they will be lost. Avoid the "brain drain" of summer. Is organization a problem for your child? The right system for organization can mean the difference between success and failure. After all, if a kid can't find a paper, no matter how well it's done, he/she won't get credit for it!
Maria's* report card did not reflect her intelligence. The work she turned in was good but much of it never got turned in. She was either forgetting to do her work, losing it or not turning it in on time. Over her break, Maria took a Study Smart workshop and as a result, she went back to school with a plan. She began to experience success and within a few weeks, she was getting all A's and B's.
Meet Needs
How do you get your child what he/she needs to make a successful transition? Signing up for summer classes might be a good idea. Some students may need to take classes because of past failure or to gain credits needed for graduation. Others may need to take classes to keep from losing the information learned during the school year. "Use it or lose it" is really true when it comes to learning!
Perhaps your child needs to upgrade organizational or study skills. It is not necessary to spend an entire summer or semester to upgrade study skills. A short organizational and study skills course toward the end or summer will motivate your child to use the best skills when school starts. The skills themselves aren't difficult to learn, but they need to be taught in a way that motivates students to use them!
Get Comfortable
Becoming familiar with new territory also helps ease anxiety. If your child is changing schools, tour the new campus. Be sure to attend new student orientation. Try to meet a few people on the new campus.
Relationships can also help ease the difficulty of transitions. It's during transition years that students frequently choose their social paths. Who does your child hang out with? Be sure to encourage healthy relationships and be sure your child has a good support system, especially at the beginning of the new year.
Make a Plan
Having a plan can smooth a transition. Have a great summer and use it to ease the bumps of a new path.

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