There are few adults who do not have vivid memories of high school. When your own kids hit high school age you are likely ill-prepared to:
1) Acknowledge your true age.
2) Acknowledge how long ago your own high school experience was.
3) Acknowledge your ignorance of life in the high school world of 2015/2016/2017 . . .
5 Simple Back To School Tips;
Ask – By all means ask questions of your friends with older children but do not stop there. Make an appointment with your child’s guidance counselor (if you homeschool, talk to the coordinator of dual enrollment at your local community college). What was true for your friend’s son who graduated four years ago is not necessarily true for your rising junior or senior. For example, if you have a child who will be taking the SAT in 2016, go into the test with caution. Or, skip it altogether and have your child take the ACT test which is accepted at most schools. If you are a homeschooler with a child who is active in an NCAA sport, research what is required for that child to participate at a high school level – it’s daunting, but doable.
Open – Among the things they never show you on HGTV is a living room, hastily rearranged, and filled with 10-15 teenagers. It’s not pretty. It’s not cheap (teens eat constantly) but, it is worth every inconvenience. As your child starts high school consider that their friends may range in age from 13-19. If you haven’t already, get to know your child’s friends. Make them welcome in your home. Yes, it’s work but it’s work worth doing.
Plan – Before your child starts high school, spend some time talking about their future goals and aspirations. Talk frankly about your finances and what you are able to help them achieve. Do virtual college tours. Look into financial aid options and what they mean after graduation in terms of debt. Keep in mind that college is NOT the only option for today’s teens. If your child is definitely bound for college consider using special education resources and/or a special education tutor to get them prepped for the tests and for preparing their applications.
Food – Insist that you and your child share at least one meal a day. This can be harder than it sounds but, it is worth the effort. Work around school, work, practices and social obligations to sit down and eat something – scrambled eggs and toast work any time of day and only take a few minutes! Let your child lead the conversation. Keep your mouth full so you can give thought to your reactions.
Independence – Now is the time to talk to your child about money and how to manage it. Most schools really do a poor job of teaching finances and it’s probably one of the most important lessons to learn! Help them set up their own back account (if they’re under 18 and at your own bank or credit union you’ll have access to the account). As they go through high school, give them the freedom to spend without question (while encouraging them to save!). Work through mistakes and bad logic BEFORE they are off on their own. Dave Ramsey has incredible resources specific to high school students designed to aid in financial lessons.
One of the biggest points of being a parent is raising a child who can leave home as a self-sufficient, functioning adult. High school is your chance to test various skills before your child is on their own. You have a chance to pull them back if need be or to push them to be more independent. No doubt, through your child’s high school career, you will encounter things you NEVER expected. “Keep Calm and Carry On.” It’s all going to work out.
What are some of your families back to school traditions? Please share in the comment section below.