Parent Tips for Maintaining Student Engagement at the End of the Year

May 14, 2024
Parent tips end of year student engagement Edmentum article

When the school year is coming to a close, the weather gets nicer and the students become antsy. For parents, these last few weeks before summer can feel like a marathon, attempting to keep your children from completely checking out from the classroom mentally—without losing your own sanity. 

Looking for some fresh ideas? Let's explore some practical tips and techniques to keep student engagement levels high during this critical period.

1. Give In To The Great Outdoors

Once the air warms up and the sun comes out, the pull of the great outdoors is hard for all of us to ignore. Make a point of quenching your child’s thirst for time outside during the hours you have with him or her at home. Activities can include:

  • A walk to the local park after school
  • Signing them up for an outdoor sports league
  • Taking a weekend day trip to go hiking
  • Eating dinner in the backyard as a family

Any time you spend outside with your child will help manage their need to escape the indoors while they are busy learning in the classroom.

2. Ask Questions

Contrary to what you may hear from your child, their time in the classroom is valuable right up to the last day of the school year. Teachers are racking their brains every bit as hard as you to keep students busy and learning during the final weeks of school. 

Help them out by making a concerted effort to get your child talking about that learning at home. Avoid the impulse to focus on upcoming summer activities or indulge in complaints, and ask your child about what the day’s lessons included. This will not only spark conversation but also encourage your child to reflect on the material, which can boost student engagement even during these waning weeks of the school year. As always, express your own interest in those topics—enthusiasm for learning is infectious.

3. Maintain A Routine

The days may be getting longer and summer activities may be getting started, but that’s not an excuse to disrupt the school year routine. Make a point of maintaining consistency in your child’s homework time, family mealtime, bedtime, wake-up time, and any other daily rituals you have. This will help keep your child in the mindset for school and improve his or her focus in the classroom right up to the last day of the school year.

4. Reflect On The Year

For students, each school year is a distinct experience. As the school year is wrapping up, make it a priority to help your child reflect on all that he or she has learned and done in the classroom over the past nine months. 

Try having your child write a letter to their younger self from the start of the school year—what advice would they offer, what challenges can they expect, and what should they look forward to? 

This kind of reflection is a great way to get your child thinking about all the progress they have made throughout the year and motivate them to keep up the academic momentum.

5. Provide Some Incentive

Never underestimate the motivating power of a little reward. Think about different incentives you can offer your child for displaying continued effort and achievement at school during these final weeks. 

Maybe it’s an extra hour of screen time if they finish all of the night’s homework before dinnertime or a special outing if they achieve a certain grade in a subject that has been challenging. Big or small, dangling a carrot can make a big difference in keeping your child engaged at the end of the school year.

6. Connect Learning to Summer Fun

Find ways to weave your child's end-of-year learning into the fabric of their upcoming summer activities. For example, if they're delving into a specific historical period, plan a trip to a local historical site or museum. If they're studying different ecosystems, explore nearby nature trails, parks, or even volunteer at an animal sanctuary. This will help them see the value and real-world application of what they're learning.

7. Get Creative with Projects

Instead of just relying on worksheets and tests, encourage teachers (or get involved yourself if possible) to set up end-of-year projects that allow for student choice and creativity. This could involve anything from building a model related to science concepts to writing a children's book based on a historical event or creating a public service announcement about a social studies topic. Empowering students with a sense of ownership over their learning can significantly boost student engagement.

8. Stay Positively Involved

Maintain open communication with your child's teachers and school administration. Your continued positive involvement shows your child that you value their education. Attend any end-of-the school year meetings or conferences. Volunteer to help with classroom activities or field trips. The more you stay engaged, the more your child will too.

Remember, student engagement is not just about keeping children busy; it's about igniting their curiosity, nurturing their potential, and empowering them to thrive academically and beyond. For more ideas on how parents can keep their kids learning in the summer, read our article on summer planning.

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