As the final weeks of summer vacation wrap up, it is an opportune time to have a goal setting conversation with your students. Having attainable goals in mind before they walk into school helps keep kids focused on the bigger picture of the school year. Keeping an action plan in place also helps with keeping them accountable. Some goals to discuss are listed below:
- Grades: Instead of talking about grades retrospectively after the report card comes, start this conversation now. Giving your students the opportunity to envision what the school year will look like and the level of effort they will put forth allows them to be in the driver’s seat (something they may often experience). No matter how fervent their dedication seems before school begins, have an action plan in place if they start to struggle. Check in with them throughout the quarter and semester to see how their grades match up to what they wanted before the year started. Parents supporting student goals, versus a student trying to attain a parent’s goals makes all the difference.
- Volunteer Hours: At Lighthouse, we recommend our students volunteer roughly 50 hours a year. The end of summer is the perfect time to plan. Look at which activities and clubs your student is currently involved in and which of those have volunteer opportunities. National Honors Society, Student Ambassadors and tutoring programs are all great. Calculate how many hours they can obtain through current clubs, and implement a plan now to make up the difference in the needed hours.
- Work Part Time: Students are busy. Sports, clubs, school work and family obligations eat up a lot of time. However, some of your students may have a little more flexibility in the school year. If so, working 10- 15 hours a week is a phenomenal way to start saving for college. Not only is it a great way to save, but studies also show that students who juggle a part-time job with school work actually perform better. If it’s impossible to squeeze anything else in during normal school time, consider having your son or daughter work over Christmas break. Countless retailers need students to help with the holiday rush. Be sure to plan for this ahead of time as most companies complete their holiday hiring around Thanksgiving break.
- Dedication to areas of interest: If your student has another area of interest, don’t forget to put some focus on it as well. Whether it’s playing an instrument, writing, painting or learning a language, lay out some goals specific to their interest. It’s hard to perfect the saxophone if your student is only playing during class. Especially if it is something they hope to continue in college, have a conversation about their level of dedication during the school year.
Having a goal setting conversation at home is a powerful way to start the school year. If you’re a Lighthouse client, don’t forget to meet with your counselor to create some additional goals and accountability!