Super 5: Back-to-school power moves to start the year strong

Today we welcome Windy Lopez-Aflitto from Learning Heroes to the blog! Below, Windy shares "power moves" that parents can use to make back-to-school a success.

When it comes to getting your child off to a new school year, parents can be learning heroes. In addition to getting backpacks and school gear ready, this is a great time to get a clear sense of how to support learning at home throughout the year. Knowing your child’s interests, habits, and personality means that you have a head start and can help make learning fun and enjoyable throughout the year.

Yet, for parents to successfully support their child, they also need an accurate picture of their child’s achievement level.

Learning Heroes’ newly released national survey Parents 2017: Unleashing Their Power and Potential shows that nine in ten K-8 parents report their child as at or above grade level in both reading and math, two in three consider their child “above average,” and three in five are confident their child will be prepared for success in college. But national data tell a different story. For example, 2015 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) data demonstrates that barely one-third of students perform at grade level.

To help parents get a full picture of how their child is progressing and start the school year strong, Learning Heroes created the Super 5: Back-to-School Power Moves, which includes the below 5 tips as well as free, easy-to-use resources and videos from National PTA, Scholastic, and many other trusted organizations.

  1. Start Strong. As part of your back-to-school routine, find out how prepared your child is for his or her new grade. Pay attention to how easy or hard it is for your child to perform grade-level tasks, and review the annual state test results from last year. If you haven’t received the results yet, ask your child’s teacher. Compare this information to see where your child is doing well and where more support is needed.

  2. Partner Up. You need your child’s teachers and they need you. At your first teacher meeting, bring your child’s state test results and ask what they mean for the year ahead. Find out what’s expected of your child this year and what you can do at home to help. Ask your child what he or she is most excited and
nervous about for the new
school year and why, and let the teacher know.

  3. Make it fun! You are the expert on your child and can help make learning cool! Read together to discover topics that interest your child. Find math problems in everyday life and turn it into a game. Practice subtraction, measuring, and division when cooking together or while grocery shopping. These small learning moments add up to a lot!

  4. Celebrate hard work. Our attitudes about learning–called “mindsets”–impact how our children learn, how they feel about making mistakes, and their self-confidence. Promote a “growth mindset” at home to help your child see that hard work is what leads to success. For example, focus on the specific effort and what your child is learning. This will help your child feel less nervous about new tasks or subjects.

  5. Encourage life skills along the way. When it comes to your child’s potential and happiness, focus on the whole picture! Strengths like being able to communicate, problem-solve, show patience, and act independently will help your child in school and life. Talk openly with your child about how he or she is feeling and reacting to situations at school, on the playground, and at home.

For more back-to-school resources and activities (in English and Spanish) to help your child succeed this year, visit bealearninghero.org. You can also get and share tips with other parents using #bealearninghero.

Comic via Learning Heroes