By Rebecca Scarpino, BASIS Charter Schools
In academics, as in life, preparation starts with a solid foundation. Successful students, on the path to becoming scholars, no matter the grade level, can find opportunities in everyday life to reinforce basic academic concepts. They also practice essential success skills and carry essential ideals such as accountability, organization, time management, communication, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving. By building on the basics at every grade level, students stay active in their own education, learn to love learning, and stay ready to grow and achieve.
It sounds simple, but it’s a necessary first step: we like to tell our parents and students to make sure your child has the right tools to succeed. A new school year, leveling up in their classes, and meeting new classmates can be intimidating even for the most prepared or mature student. Starting out with necessary resources and supplies – whether those that are ‘required’ by a teacher or campus, or simply those that your family deems purposeful or helpful — sets them up for success from Day One, and each day thereafter. Coming to school prepared with the physical supplies they’ll need for their courses also builds up the social-emotional supplies they’ll also need: tools like self-confidence and accountability. We also suggest parents of younger students talk through these tools, both the tangible and intangible. Quick chats about what they have, and how to care for, use, and store them properly, land families on the same page. Our teachers do that too, of course, so it’s an early way to show our younger students that teachers and parents align!
Take time to sharpen mental acuity and agility. Most BASIS Charter Schools offer summer enrichment camps and other resources to provide extra practice and develop study strategies during the summer break – to keep learning without the day-in, day-out tumult of school! Further, opportunities to learn are everywhere, whether you’re traveling or at home. Showing that you care about your kids’ active learning, and that you support curiosity in a tangible way, is among the best ways to support your child. When you show interest in their curiosity, interests, and insight, and find opportunities together to expound on new concepts, not only will their confidence in their own abilities grow, but it also reinforces the value of their own thoughts and creativity. They might be ‘little people’ – but they are people! Their intellectual observations are intellectual observations, and matter greatly in their academic and social-emotional growth. Encourage them.
If at all possible, it’s helpful to dedicate specific physical space and block out actual calendared time for studying at home. Set up a study area with the resources your student needs. Make it comfortable so they’ll feel like it’s a positive place to go, and stay awhile! Let them personalize the space with inspirational and creative décor to make it their own.
Establish study schedules during times when there are fewer distractions and, if desired or possible, an adult is available for questions – or, for motivation.
By scheduling as much of the day as possible, including time for taking breaks, playing, eating meals and snacks, and sleeping, structuring study time feels less like a chore. Rather, it can become just another part of the day! Post the schedule in a common area for all to see and, even when you all memorize the schedule, take a look at it from time to time. Having a physical view of all that your student is accomplishing, all that a day entails, is a subliminal positive.
It is, of course, quite okay to relax some of the usual rules while on vacation, or just to take a break. However, keeping a schedule helps everyone plan the day efficiently. Students who maintain a schedule are more likely to accomplish their work and still have time for other activities they enjoy. Sticking to a plan helps ensure that you will accomplish what’s most important to you.
When standards are set high, students naturally reach for those heights – and even higher. When students are told they can achieve more and are shown how to do that, they believe they can achieve more. Their confidence grows with each success, and every accomplishment reinforces the chance to succeed, and thus more success! Founded on these principles, BASIS Charter Schools have been educating students according to the highest international standards since 1998. Now, at 32 schools nationwide, our K–12 students consistently outperform peers around the world, by a great many measures.
The prepared student performs better in school, creates more opportunity, and reaches more goals. A supportive home environment nurtures and empowers students with confidence that yields high performance. BASIS Charter Schools prepare students for success throughout primary grades, middle school, and high school. It also translates to emotional and academic preparation for higher education, and beyond!
Doing that isn’t a secret. It’s simply, creating a positive, purposeful atmosphere; showing up each day; and expending effort and energy. It can be done.
We hope all of the students in metropolitan Phoenix, and beyond, have a safe school year full of rich learning and new ideas!