Tips for Midyear: Ending One Semester and Starting the Next
We’re coming up on midyear: a lengthy winter break followed by the end of one semester and the beginning of another. When Learning Coaches help students handle this transition smoothly, the second half of the year can be even better than the first! Here are some time-tested tips for keeping the momentum going—so the holidays won’t break your learning stride.
- Build up to the semester’s end by staying on track. Avoid the temptation to “slack off” as holidays approach. Remind your students to keep up-to-date or even work ahead. As overdue lessons pile on top of one another, catching up can feel overwhelming. Your whole family will be better off staying on top of deadlines in the first place.
- Look ahead. Are there any portfolio activities that take additional time to research or write? Do you see any science labs that require time for plants to grow or water to evaporate? The end of the semester is a firm deadline. Plan ahead now for success!
- Take things step-by-step. If your student has overdue lessons or big projects due before the holiday break, break them down into manageable pieces. Have your child complete a small chunk each day. (You may also want to set aside a few hours on a Saturday.) Tackle reviewing for an exam the same way. Work with your child to create a plan that ensures the work will be completed before it’s due.
- As the semester ends, make note of it mentally and emotionally. Celebrate successes—grades, projects well done, and hard work studying for tests and quizzes. Take a weekend to relax before starting the second semester. Read a book for pleasure. Go see a movie. Bake a cake or cookies! Simple pleasures make good celebrations, and good celebrations bring a feeling of closure to the semester just finished. With that time and hard work behind you, it’ll be easier to look ahead.
- Review what your students have learned. Are your students studying history? The timeline will continue and build on the material from first semester. In math, they will continue to add new challenges onto already-mastered fundamentals. To support spring semester’s success, plan a few learning activities to review during the holiday break—just to keep this learning fresh in your student’s mind. Your teacher may have some suggestions.
- Set new goals. A new semester is a good time to establish new target goals. A “3-2-1 summary” can be a good way to start the discussion: List THREE good habits to keep in place. Name TWO bad habits to break. And finally—but most importantly—choose ONE positive change to make.
Whether you were just starting or returning to virtual school this fall, beginning the second semester can be easier now because you know the ropes and are in the swing of things. You and your students know how the system works, how to read an assignment, and how to organize time. Stick with the routines you have in place and use these tips to make a smooth transition—and your family should ease into a successful spring semester!
What ideas and goals do you have for transitioning to the second semester? List your best ones in the comments!