As parents of high school kids, we’re always monitoring our children’s grades and test scores, trying to ensure their success. But good grades aren’t the only building blocks of well-rounded, successful, happy young adults. In your child’s last year or two before graduation, what can you help him or her focus on, besides the obvious?
#1 – Honing Their Skills
Mastery of a subject is not enough to ensure success in college and career. Success requires specific skills, often referred to these days as “21st Century Skills.” Envision has done extensive research to determine the skills most in-demand by college acceptance committees and employers, and these skills are a major focus in our Career and Leadership camps.
Top skills on our list include:
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Critical thinking and problem solving
Employers’ lists also often include additional skills like technical proficiency, decision-making, prioritization, and accountability.
Today’s educators are focusing more and more on these 21st century skills in their lesson plans and teaching approach. As you evaluate your child’s progress this year, focus not only on scores, but on the key skills that will serve them well in life. Augment schoolwork with life lessons at home.
If your children would like more information on this subject, direct them to Top 5 Skills to Develop This Year.
#2 – Time Management and Life Balance
Our children’s schedules are jam-packed these days, with school, extra-curricular activities, social engagements, and often a job as well. Time management is a critical skill to acquire now, and will continue to be instrumental in college and career success.
It’s easy for us to become stressed and overloaded with our schedules – at any age. Achieving life balance and a sense of control will go a long way toward providing peace of mind.
Help your children balance their own schedules by teaching them to budget time wisely, establish a realistic routine, and stick to it. Organization and efficiency are critical components of good time management. For ideas and insight, check out: Tips and Tools for Time Management.
#3 – Finding Their Passion
They’ve probably been urged to think about their future since they were 11 or 12. But have they been urged to think about their passion? What sparks and intrigues them? What type of activity are they drawn to, without even thinking about it?
Composer, musician, and philanthropist A.R. Rahman said, “Success comes to those who dedicate everything to their passion in life.” Fascination, enthusiasm, and a “sense of calling” are significant motivators, kindling the desire to learn and explore – and ultimately producing the perseverance required for success.
Remember that your child’s specific passion may be something you’ve never thought of – and not what you may have secretly hoped they‘d pursue. Expose them to as many activities and subjects as you can. It will be easy to recognize when something captures their imagination.
After you help your children identify their passions, look for ways to help them investigate and channel these passions into concrete directions. If they happen to change their course as they discover new things, don’t get in their way.
#4 – Real-Life Experience
The knowledge we gain in school is invaluable, but a significant portion of our education actually takes place outside of the classroom. Help your kids think about the experience and knowledge they acquire from “real life.” They should pay attention to professional interactions between people, to differences in places and cultures, and to the ways in which successful adults apply their school-learning to their jobs.
This year, expose your children to as many different kinds of experiences and places as possible. Take them with you on the job, to help them understand the workings and interactions of the business world. Talk to them about a variety of careers and work environments, as well as the significance and impact of current events. Help them develop real-life skills such as money management and project management.
For more tips, see our blog Give Them a Real-Life Education.
#5 – Being a Kid
All this talk about future success… it’s pretty heavy stuff. Neither you nor your children should forget that they are, after all, kids. In these high school years, they’re building memories they’ll carry with them forever. Make sure they have time to be kids and to be themselves, enjoying their social lives and their high school events, and experiencing the thrill of simply discovering life.