WHS physics is Rated PG
Parental Guidance is recommended
How can parents help their child succeed in physics and beyond?
- Low scores happen occassionally in physics, and that is okay. The class is designed to challenge students and they will falter at times, but I have operations in place that will protect their grade. For example, an F on a chapter test can be raised to a C through test correction. Also,a B in an AP physics course is highly respectable.
- missing assignments also happen occassionally. Since this is usually not the only difficult class for you child, they can be overwhelmed by thier workload and fall behind temporarily. Students are allowed to turn in work late up to one week for half credit. As long as it is a rare event, a late assignment or two will not dramatically affect your students grade.
- Frustration is very common in physics. This subject requires a great deal of abstract thought at a high level of thinking. Most students are not well practiced in this type of thinking and will be very frustrated for a large portion of the class. This is normal. For some students there is a moment when it 'clicks' and makes sense all of a sudden. And for others, they struggle the entire year (I often get an email the next year when they are in college saying that it finally clicked and that they really enjoying physics finally).
Your children really appreciate all the enouragement you give and it really affects their attitudes toward school in general.
Be sure to encourage and not too push your child too much. A little pushing to try new things is good, but students seem to resent it when their parents try to make them do too much. I recommend:
- Encourage them to join a club on campus
- Encourage them to try a challanging class or two
- Encourage them to get a tutor when the challenging class seems too challenging
- Encourage them to tutor others and form study groups (provide plenty of snacks for study sessions at your house!)
- Encourage them to join a sport, group or team that competes or performs toward a common goal
- Encourage them to volunteer some time toward improving their community or school
- Encourage them to go to school events (sports games, music/drama performance, prom, etc.).
When your child's actions (or usually lack there of), frustrates you, express your concerns to them and them give them time to make the changes themselves. In my many years of teaching, I have found that most kids have really great hearts and good intentions. Give them the encouragement and chance to show you that they can fix their own problems. (But in the end, some are not quite mature enough to do it on their own, and that's when you have to step in an make it happen). Since I teach mostly juniors and seniors, I do not hand hold students. I hold them to high expectations and let them know when I am disappointed, but they have to decide they care enough about the class to make the change needed.
This is probably the hardest thing to give your child, but possibly the most important. Trust them. Let them out of the house. Give them responsibilty and let them make mistakes. Students who learn to be independent in high school do very well in college. For others, whose parents took care of all their needs and fixed all their problems, they can be very overwhelmed. Freedom does not mean that you are not involved in your child's life, but that you do not dictate every step to them. Here is an example that worked for me. When I wanted to go out with friends on the weekend, my Dad let me set my own curfew. I would have to let him know what I planned to do and where I would be doing it basically every minute of the entire night. As long as it was an activity and not just "hang out around town" or "going to a party" I could stay out as late as I wanted (midnight was the latest I pushed it, except for Prom). The next day my Dad would casually grill me about what I did the night before, but it was worth it to be able to spend some time with friends.
I teach because I really enjoy working with kids. They want to do well and succeed. They want to impress you and receive your praise. They make mistakes all the time (just like we do) and need our constant support to help them through these difficult years. With your love and encouragement they will grow into amazing adults. Remember to remind them that you are their biggest supporter and that everything you do is hopefully to help them achieve their dreams. Always be honest with your children, especially when they do not choose the college that you really wanted them to go to, but then give them all the support they need to follow their own path. It is hard for parents to start letting go and letting their child make major decisions for themselves, but now is the time. Whether we fight it or not, they are still going to grow up.
As a parent myself, I know how hard it is to do what is best for your child all the time, but what I have noticed is that kids who come from homes filled with love and encouragement seem to do just fine. Best of luck, to us both!