Today’s Schools Are Different
Students today have many options available to personalize or customize the high school experience. Gone are the days when only female students took home economics and only boys played football. Now classes, activities, and sports are available to all. Metal shop classes have females mixed in with male students, home economics class has some male students mixed in–and why not, they may be future chefs.
Teens sometimes need encouragement to make their high school years what they need them to be. So give your teen a pep talk and remind him or her to participate in classes and activities that will make him happy and help him build the skills he wants for his future career. Tell your child to make choices about classes that make him happy. Drop a hint that he can avoid peer pressure and let you or a trusted teacher know if anyone one is bullying him about his choice of classes.
Talk to your teen about joining clubs and activities at the school. Remind her that on college applications it looks great to be the president of a club or activity.
Too often schools have just a set roster of traditional clubs available to students. If your teen shows leadership and has a specific idea, she can try to start a new club. Often the idea will be approved. Let your child know that being proactive in school to start new clubs and activities will be a valuable learning experience to teach leadership skills.
Suggest New Class Ideas to the Principal
You as a parent should stay in touch with the trends among high school students. You can even suggest new classes to add to the curriculum that would be of high interest to students. For example, certainly our recent elections show that political interest is very high among young people. A new class about Politics in America might be very interesting.The environment is a hot issue now so classes about green living and the environment may be a big hit.
Listen to what the kids are talking about and create a list of new class ideas to cover those topics. While you certainly want your teen to take part in experiences that are already in place, your efforts to broaden the curriculum by including timely topics will help students build a high school experience that will be truly memorable.
Show an Interest in Group Projects
At Open House, ask the teachers how often they use teamwork for projects in class. This helps students build teamwork skills and also opens the doors for shy teens to make new friends. High school is a very social place; the more friends students make, typically the more enjoyable their high school years will be.
Someone to Lean On
Does your child attend sporting events and dances? Sometimes students avoid school events out of shyness. Encourage your child's participation, and if your child is really shy, perhaps a teacher will allow her to set near them if they wish.
Submit to the Literary Magazine and Try out for Plays
Encourage your child to nurture his creative side. Tell him that he should try submitting writing to the school literary magazine and he should also try to audition for school plays. If you have a friend whose child also attends high school, encourage them as a team to participate. Participating in the creative activities in high school builds wonderful memories and helps one also make new friends.
Keep In Mind…
Remember that you can't and shouldn't push your teen into doing anything he doesn't want to do. However, keeping track of what he gets involved in is wise, and you can always use the above suggestions if he seems at a loss for ideas.