10 Things Parents/Guardians Should Do Now

Hope you’re enjoying the summer break and visiting some cool places with the kids. As you’re getting ready to go back to work, spend a few minutes thinking about your role as a learning leader.  Here’s 10 things you can do for your K-12 students that will make a difference.

  1. Manage student time online–some recreation is great but they have work to do and it’s your job to keep them safe and productive. Turn off the devices and have dinner together every day.
  2. Boost student career awareness with visits to a variety of work environments–take your kids (and other people’s kids) to work, and other work settings, as often as possible.  Talk about what you see.
  3. Tell your eighth-grader that they’ll be doing college level work in two years and help them make high school choices that facilitate Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or dual-enrollment courses. Make sure your high school student takes a couple classes online.
  4. Build a family learning plan. Pick a topic and learn together.  Build a learning objective into your next vacation–make a game of it.
  5. Set aside a monthly Saturday maker morning and build, code, or post something.
  6. Know your options and choose wisely. The options are ever-expanding – public schools, neighborhood schools, charters, magnets, online, early college, and more.
  7. Make service part of your family routine, talk about what your family is learning through service.  Support student leadership experiences through faith congregations, sports, and clubs.
  8. Encourage students to start a business in high school–let them know by high school graduation they should have an LLC, a website, and a mobile app.
  9. Review your student’s digital portfolio at least quarterly, help them build a positive social media presence that incorporates a collection of personal bests.
  10. Help your student figure out how they learn best.  What promotes curiosity and  persistence?  What promotes understanding? Help them do more of what works in and out of school.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Discover the latest in learning innovations

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.