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Make the Most of Your Son's Holiday Break
Make the Most of Your Son's Holiday Break
Kelli Jones

Help your family go from surviving to thriving this holiday break!

This podcast provides advice for families with sons coming home for the holiday break. Grand River Academy sat down with Foundations Learning Program Coordinator Mrs. Shannon Farrell to talk about what are some ways families can help their sons through the next few weeks to continue the momentum gained throughout the fall semester.

Here's a brief breakdown of the recording:

What to expect when your son returns home

Students often see home as a time to rest from the structure and rules of boarding school life. They don't have to report to class, go to a mandatory activity or attend evening study hall when they are home. With this abundance of freedom, sometimes your son may have a transition period (similar to when they arrived at school) because he may have a hard time finding the middle ground between the highly structured boarding school environment and the relaxed freedom at home.

Families can assist in this transition by adopting a few aspects of boarding school life. We know how much of a well-deserved break this is for our students, so in keeping that in mind there are small steps that families can do such as encourage your child to eat breakfast, check on how clean their room is a few nights during the break, and perhaps plan some educational trips as a family.

Perhaps mom and dad are working during the day and your son is going from having a very planned out day to more freedom during the day. Ways to help your son with this change is to plan activities as a family to fill the day with positive, memory building activities. Try to help your son keep a bedtime and a normal wake up time. Everyone deserves to sleep in, but try to limit the staying up all night with video games or tv and waking up at noon.

Keep the communication strong

Have conversations with your student about what they are doing school, what activities they are enjoying. Take a strong interest in these areas. The more enthusiastic you are, the more your child will be open to keeping good habits and returning to school with a great attitude. Also recognize their growth, even little things such as improved independence, a strong term, etc. While at boarding school they are working every day on social, emotional and academic areas. Even the little things can indicate strong growth.

Returning to school

A few days before returning help them make a list of what they need for school. Think about supplies they will need for school, sports, dorm life etc. If there is a semester change, help them brainstorm any new supplies they will need for new classes. Sit down with them and make a list of short term and long term goals that they can work on with their teachers and you.

Anticipate any areas of struggle. If your child is nervous about a particular subject or has an area that they struggle in, help them anticipate the challenges ahead of time and work with them to come up with appropriate interventions. For example, if they are nervous to tackle a higher level math, ask them what they would do if they start to struggle. Help them identify who they can ask for help and what they can do on their own to help alleviate the pressure.

Be supportive and communicate with your son. Work with the school to encourage good habits. For example, if he is on limited data at school, try to keep similar structure at home. Keeping similar rules and structure will help them recognize the importance of what they are learning and how they will carry to their life outside of boarding school.

If you'd like to learn more about this topic, you can reach Shannon Farrell directly at For general questions about the school and our programs, please contact us at

Parent ‘16

I wanted to reach out to you to express my appreciation for ALL that you and your staff have done for him this year. I have seen such personal growth and maturity in him and I am so grateful...

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