Friday, September 20, 2013

Let's Focus on You. . . Programs for Parents

Let's Focus on You...
Programs for Parents
by Mikey Smith, M.Ed

You've read every article and watched every television special. You've gone to Open House and parent-teacher meetings, and you read the school newsletter each week. You EVEN know your child's teacher's blog address. But still. . . you don't feel like you're "doing it right." Your child doesn't seem to be performing as well as he or she could be in school, and your house is chaos from August to May. Your child demands independence, but you don't want to see him or her fail. How can you find the right balance? If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, why not try something different? What about a workshop created especially for YOU, the parent who WANTS his or her child to succeed but can't quite seem to figure out the formula for success?

Lisa Fegen, parent, veteran educator and owner of Raising the Bar, knows exactly how parents feel.  "I think parents want to stay involved but simply aren't sure how to do so without feeling like they're inhibiting their child's independence," she says.  "But I know from teaching middle school for 14+ years one thing is for sure:  kids need their parents during this stage of their life more than ever." She adds,  "Unfortunately, this tends to be the time when parents feel it's time to 'let go'.  The results of letting go too soon can be very disappointing on all fronts:  academically, socially, and emotionally."

Parent Stephanie Walton agrees with Fegen about the importance of parental support, especially for students transitioning into middle school. "Setting up homework routines and home organization is critical for students as the homework load increases. While your middle schooler is screaming for more independence, they actually need you more than ever as they begin navigating the waters of middle school," she says. To ensure that her son "got off to a great start in middle school," she sought out ways she could support him at home. She discovered Raising the Bar's "It Takes a Village" workshop, and signed up along with several of her friends who also had students making the jump from elementary to middle school.

Was it worth it? In a word, yes. Walton says she uses tips learned in the workshop every day with her now-middle-school-aged son. "The workshop gave my family fabulous talking points and new ideas for setting up our family routines. Keeping up with homework assignments, upcoming tests, and extra curricular activities is a full time job." She adds that the workshop helped her family get - and stay - organized.

If this sounds like just what the doctor ordered, keep reading! Raising the Bar offers several programs to help parents equip their students for academic and social success and to help restore sanity to the home front:

"It Takes a Village" is a parent study-skills workshop that helps parents learn how they can best help their child at home when it comes to study skills and organization. While many students participate in study skills courses themselves, their success may be limited if mom and dad don't know the tips and tricks their kids have learned so they can continue to support their child during the school year.  Think of this course as a Tupperware party, but for study skills.  You provide the group, and we'll bring the know-how!

"The Perfect Fit" program is a single-family home consultation in which a Raising the Bar specialist visits the home to assess what's working and what's not with the current academic routine and gathers details about the student, the school, any extracurricular activities, etc. Since no family is exactly alike, following the first visit, families are provided with a customized plan of action that is tailored to fit the family's needs and helps establish a home routine and homework regimen that will work with the family's style and schedule - hence, "The Perfect Fit".

 "Organization 911" - Home Rescue for the Organizationally Impaired is also a single-family home consultation that has the feel of The Super Nanny meets Extreme Home Makeover.  For those of you who are not up to date with your pop-culture, this is a program in which a Raising the Bar specialist visits your home, helps establish an academic routine for the family and then makes over a part of the house that will serve as the at-home hub for homework, supplies and all things scholastic.

Fegen and her team of certified academic professionals called upon their years of education (and parenting) experience in order to develop programs that help real families deal with real concerns. "Nothing matters more to us than the happiness and well-being of our families," Fegen says. "I feel we come with a wealth of knowledge and resources to help our families, yet we are humble enough to admit we don't know everything, at which point we begin our search to find the answers!  The more parents can learn about how to best help their kids, the better.  Information is powerful."

This last point is one that Walton agrees with wholeheartedly after her experience with a parent workshop. "I think every 5th grade parent needs to attend this workshop," she says.  "Middle school is a huge transition from elementary school, and this helped make it a little easier."

To discover the right parent workshop for you, visit our website!