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What to Watch for as Students Settle into the New School Year

It’s hard to believe it, but the first couple of weeks of school are already behind us, and by this point in the school year, the whole family should be settling back into a familiar school routine.

A new school year is a time of opportunity and possibility; anything can happen.  And, while it may still be early on in the school year, it’s important for parents to know some of the warning signs that the school year might be heading down the wrong path.

Here’s what should be happening, and what to watch for, broken down by age groups:

Settling into the School Year:  Grades 1-3

·       With a few weeks a school behind them, students’ new-school year anxiety should be replaced by excitement about the classroom, new teachers, and new friends.

·       For the younger grades, a large part of school is social-based, including group play and recess. This can impact attitudes about school. Kids should be getting the message that school is a safe, fun place and that learning can be fun.

·       Academically, the early years of school are building a strong foundation of future skills (learning letters, counting, reading). While some problems might sound alarm bells of future issues, problems at this point might as easily resolve themselves. Parents should keep an eye on struggles, and discuss concerns with teachers. Getting extra help now can prevent issues in the future.

Settling into the School Year:  Grades 4-8 

·       After a few weeks of school if struggles are occurring, such as problems keeping up with homework, or getting easily frustrated, then now is the time to get help, before the problems progress further.  By seeking help now, academic problems can be easily repaired and students can get back on track.

·       Watch for the common school issues:  disorganization, sleep habits, procrastination: these are the foundations of many other school issues. Watch for them early and correct them before they become bad habits.

Settling into the School Year:  Grades 9-12 

·       In high school there is very little transition time back into the grind of the school year.   Midterms are approaching quickly, so students need to keep their eyes on the prize at all times. One bad test mark can make it really difficult to get a good grade in that class.

·       Time management is a big struggle for teens. Between social commitments, jobs, family, extracurricular activities, and school work, students can run out of time to get everything done. The problem is that teens need more sleep than they did when they were younger. So, developing time management skills is critical. An agenda can help.

·       It’s important that teens not be shy about asking for help. Often asking the teacher for extra help shows a willingness to improve, which can go a long way when it comes to the report card.


Oxford Learning provides supplemental education services across North America. It offers programs for young people from preschool through university, and its cognitive approach goes beyond tutoring to ignite a lifelong love of learning. Find out more at


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