Extra, Extra, Read All About It: Managing a Busy High School Schedule is Possible With These Helpful Hints
***Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzCE809V9Ro Family with Purpose has some additional tips for helping your family manage a full schedule.***
Soccer cleats, school notebooks, (possibly unpracticed) band music, that flyer for this semester’s school play… most parents needn’t look further than the sheet music and shin guards in their high schooler’s bedroom to see the mound of activities that make up their busy son or daughter’s day.
Extracurriculars can be great thing. High school is, after all, a time of discovery for students, and all that debris littering their floor is evidence of this process.
However, if you, like many parents, worry about just how to help your child make the best of all the extracurricular while still staying on top of their schoolwork— and keeping their sanity in check– you’re not alone.
Here are a few tips for helping your teen manage all those before and after school offerings, while still staying on top of their academics and general well-being.
Everything in its place- Whether it’s attached to the side of your fridge or floating in the World Wide Web, you no doubt already have a method in place to track the organized chaos of your busy family’s routine. While a family calendar may seem like a no-brainer, it’s of little use if the whole crew isn’t on board.
Find a system for marking events that your teen can contribute to as well. Because, let’s face it, no matter how many e-mails the school sends, your teen is still likely the best source of knowledge of any changes in their fast-paced extracurricular life right now.
If you’re on a shared cloud system for your family’s cell phone and computers, a family calendar can be easily created, shared and modified by all members. And, if your teen ends up being the one to teach you how to use the system, they may just be more likely to contribute updates and events on their own.
Fill in the Holes- If your busy teen seems to be at the school from sun up to sun down fitting in the myriad of extracurriculars in their life, it may seem like their isn’t a spare minute for the other, really important part of their time in the building: academics.
Work with your teen to find out if that half hour between baritone lessons and lacrosse practice could be used to double-check that all their schoolwork is completed for the next school day. While you might be met with some hesitation at first, remind them that using these breaks in their day to get ready for the next will ultimately allow them more free time (whether that’s for Minecraft or meeting up with their friends in person).
Voice Your Values- As exciting as it is to see your child find that activity outside of the classroom where they really shine, it’s important they know at the onset that “extracurriculars” are just that—additions to the top priorities of academics and a general state of well-being for your youngster..
Remind yourself you’re the parent, and part of your role in the experience your high schooler is having is to check in if things seem amiss. If at any time you see a slide in grades or morale and suspect a new activity may be taking a toll, step in early. Have a firm but open-minded conversation with your teen. If grades are slipping or schoolwork is getting neglected, remind them their newfound passion is an addition to academics—not a replacement.
If you suspect the scheduling, pace, or setting of an extracurricular is taking a toll on your child’s well-being, it’s time for another honest and open talk. The stress and anxiety of a new activity may outweigh its potential benefits.
While extracurriculars can teach valuable life lessons in endurance, perseverance, and finding new skills, it’s important that your teen know they can tell you if something on their plate is simply too taxing. Sure, it can be frustrating to find out your offspring doesn’t want to spend their evenings in the chorus for “Into the Woods,” but take their schedule and stress levels in mind and in check.
Fit in the Family – As your teen finds more and more tryouts and teams to fill up their days, you may feel as if you hardly see them anymore. Don’t hesitate to be firm on the importance of family time for your home team.
Sure, you may have to schedule a dinner or a game night, but the result is valuable time to check in with your child, catch up, relax and bond. High school flies by for both teens and their parents, and years from now, you’ll be glad you made time for pasta night or Monopoly Monday.
Above all else, take a deep breath, and remember, you’re doing a great job. Your support for your teen as they experience this memorable time in their life is invaluable.
And, if you need any help keeping academics on track, or simply improving on those ultra-important classroom skills, the team at Keen Academy is here to help. Find us online at www.keenacademy.org, give us a call at (678) 908-0023, or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re located at 3555 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Rd #402 in Suwanee, and we’d love to talk to you about ways we can help your high schooler continue their path to academic success.