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Another school year for students, parents

Posted: August 18, 2011 10:24 a.m.
Updated: August 19, 2011 5:00 a.m.

It’s back-to-school time again.

And if the recent flood of slightly-psychotic status updates from my Facebook friends are any indication -- “Praise sweet baby Jesus, it’s time for school again!”one parent said recently -- I’m guessing many of you are beyond ready to unleash your children into the hallways of one of the school district’s 20 schools.

I’m guessing that most of you have already bought the items on your kids’ school supply checklist. Several of you may have even had the inevitable argument with your 15-year-old daughter about why certain outfits that she likes are not appropriate for school.

But it’s also important to remember that preparing students for a new school year takes more effort than just buying notebooks and clothes, or making random veiled threats to your children about the consequences you will heap on them if they don’t finish their summer reading books.

The start of a new school year is also an opportunity for parents to think about what they can do to help their kids succeed during the next few months.

So while some of you may still be hatching a game plan for navigating the car rider lane, here are three back-to-school tips from teachers and mentors that you can also consider:

-- Watch out for cyberbullying.

Kids today are facing issues I never had to deal with when I graduated from high school eight years ago, and cyberbullying is definitely one of them.

Monitor what your kids put on social networking sites and teach them that name-calling or viciously attacking someone online is not OK. They need to know that just because sites like Facebook give you a platform to say pretty much whatever you want to say, that still doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

-- Don’t assume that just because your kid is in high school, that you can just “let go.”

Backing off is one thing, but not monitoring your child is another. Teach them the importance of time management and note-taking skills. Be involved. Know who your children’s teachers are and find a way to introduce yourself to them. Go to a school board or PTO meeting every now and then. Don’t wait until a problem surfaces to get involved.

-- Take advantage of everything your child’s school has to offer.

Teach your kids why it’s important to be proactive. Have them enroll in Advanced Placement, Central Carolina Technical College, ATEC or online courses. Talk to principals, teachers and guidance counselors about opportunities are available in your child’s school. Put them on a path to make sure that they learn the importance of thinking about what comes after they graduate from high school. They may hate you now for it, but they’ll thank you in the long run.

So there you have it. It’s not much, but I hope it helps.

Happy back-to-school, parents of Kershaw County.


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