Create Structure with a Daily Schedule
Creating a structured schedule or routine provides guidance and consistency for students. We recommend that students follow the office hours chart we have shared with students and parents. Students are required to check in with their teachers during their office hours, so by working on school assignments during these times, students will meet their academic requirements and receive support while having a structured academic day.
However, a structured day goes beyond just academics. Exercise, brain breaks, meal times, and bedtime are also important to incorporate into a daily schedule. For instance, when students are at Grand River Academy, all of these activities are built into our schedule to provide more structure for students. When creating your schedule, build-in 10-minute brain breaks, an hour of exercise, a time for breakfast and lunch, and a time for lights out.
Set up a Designated Space for Learning
Creating a comfortable environment for your son to study is very important. Try to find a quiet, well-lit area of the house to limit distractions and allow for video calls with your son's teachers. It is also important to avoid areas with distractions such as television, video game systems, etc. Cell phones should not be in the area. The fewer distractions students have around them, the more they will be able to focus on their schoolwork and have productive days.
Create Household Quiet or Study Hours
Students need a quiet space in order to focus and complete their work to the best of their ability. In this vein, we recommend creating household quiet time or study hours to help your son complete his work more effectively. If you have more than one child working on school work from home, creating quiet or study hours becomes even more important. At Grand River Academy, we utilize quiet hours in the dorms every night during our evening study hall. We have found that this is the best way to create a comfortable environment for all students.
Find Time to be Active
Teenage boys need to be active. Being active not only helps students get physical exercise during this time of quarantine, but it also can reenergize them to focus on their school work. This does not mean you have to have a scheduled time in which you are doing things with your son, but it is important to have a proper balance of activity built into the day. Encourage your son to take a walk, play catch with a sibling, or take a quick jog around the neighborhood to be physically active.
Create Rules Early
Creating rules is essential for mutual respect between your son and yourself. However, it is important to set rules early into this process. Allow teenage boys freedom and trying to implement rules a few weeks into our distance learning will create more problems than they will solve.
Listen to Self Advocacy
At Grand River Academy, we encourage students to advocate for themselves. Self-advocacy is an important life skill. While creating a schedule with your son for distance learning it is important to listen to how your son thinks he will learn best. Doing so provides an opportunity for your son to take control of his own education.
Allow Brain Breaks and Downtime
Boys need brain breaks! Research shows that a young man's brain becomes more active after a 20-minute break than it does sitting quietly. Allowing your son to take a few short breaks to be active and take their mind off their school work actually increases their performance and productivity. Brain breaks can be as simple as having your son stand up and walk around inside your house for a couple of minutes before returning to their school work. At Grand River Academy, we incorporate brain breaks into our longer classes, allowing students to get a drink of water or stand up for a couple of minutes before restarting class. Ideally, students should have multiple brain breaks a day. Keep this in mind when building a schedule for your son while they're learning from home.
Benefits of Sleep and Healthy Eating
For all people, but especially teenage boys, a healthy diet and sleep schedule can have enormous benefits. On the contrary, not getting enough sleep and eating a poor, unhealthy diet can have negative effects on a young man's ability to be successful with his school work. We encourage you to have a "lights out" time. Having a set time will get your son in a routine and ensure he is getting the necessary 7-9 hours of sleep. Creating a healthy diet is also important for your son. Eating food with high protein and vitamins such as lean meats and vegetables can increase energy and focus. Encouraging your son to eat more healthy will help improve his performance in his school work.
Communicate with GRA
It is more important now than ever to communicate with the Faculty and staff at GRA. Distance learning at this level is a new endeavor for all of us - teachers, students, parents, and administrators. However, it is important to remember that we are all in this together. All of us want to make this transition to distance learning as seamless as possible. In order to achieve this goal, it is imperative that we have good communication between teachers, advisors, administrators, parents, and students. As questions arise in the coming weeks, your first point of contact should be your son's advisor; however, Mr. Crowell, your son's individual teachers, and other Administrators will always welcome your questions via email or phone.