#123: School Partnerships & Fantasy Football

#123: School Partnerships & Fantasy Football

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How to build home-school partnerships to help students succeed

Everyone wants their children to be successful in school, but how is often a topic of debate. No matter which side of the many school debates you fall on, student success starts with a great home-school partnership.

 

Practical ideas for how to partner with the school well.

As a parent, it can be easy to let our past relationship with school as a student or as a parent of an older child color our current relationship with school. If we’ve had great experiences before, it’s a lot easier to hope for a great experience this year. But if you’ve had a negative experience, the flip side of the coin is also true. It can be easy to start believing the worst. That’s totally normal!

That’s why it’s essential to treat every year as a chance for a new start, for you, your kids, and your school.

In that vein, we’ve got a few ideas on how to get off on the right foot.

 

Be intentional about building positive relationships with school staff (teacher, principal, coach, front office, counselor, etc.)

It makes it easier to communicate with someone when there is an issue if you already have a relationship. You also have more compassion for people you know.

It feels more like everyone’s on the same team when you know people’s names and voices. It could start with a simple conversation or a small gift.

Just like with any friend, be respectful and believe the best of the teachers in your life. If there is a problem, talk to them instead of assuming the worst or talking bad about the school.

 

Have a good attitude about school!

Your attitude will be contagious when It comes to extracurriculars, homework, school rules, etc. If you set an upbeat tone, your kids are more likely to follow.

Your attitude is also key when it comes to school work. If you want to instill a life-long love of learning in your kids, focus on growth and not perfection. It’s hard for most parents to celebrate effort instead of results, but try exchanging a vague “good job!” with “wow you should be really proud of how hard you’ve worked!”

Part of having a good attitude about school can be supporting your general school community. Volunteer at the school when needed. Go to games or shows (even if your student isn’t part of it). Encourage teachers and staff.

When we feel like we’re part of a larger community, everyone benefits and students are more likely to feel like they are capable and able to reach out when they need help!

 

Create a good home environment for learning

In a busy world, it’s easy to overlook this one. Between sports practice and music lessons and life, being intentional about homework models executive functioning skills (think organization and self-control) for your kids that will help them in every aspect of life.

 

Here are a few tips on how to do it:
  • Set aside a place for students to study or do homework.
  • Create a routine that helps your student succeed at home.
  • We know everyone is busy, but make time to be available while your kids are working on homework.

Should Your Teen Play Fantasy Football?

As school starts and the fall season is fast-approaching, Fantasy Football is coming into full swing, and many students are playing. So what is it?

 

So what is fantasy football?

You select your own team of players, setting a lineup every week. Then, you watch as they run, pass, catch and score touchdowns, all of which are worth fantasy points.

Every week, you are matched up with someone else in your league, and whoever has the most fantasy points that week, wins!

At the end of the “fantasy season,” there are also usually playoffs to crown the winner of the league.

 

Benefits of fantasy football for teens

  • Kids can learn executive function and problem-solving skills playing fantasy football.
  • Academic skills such as math and reading are also routinely used in fantasy football.
  • Fantasy football can be an engaging way to leverage technology use into a family activity.
  • It can lead to connection if you do it as a family or if they play with friends.

 

Things to consider before your teen plays fantasy football

  • Encourage teens to play with people they know and not join random leagues.
  • Make sure you are monitoring their interactions with strangers.
    Any online platform can be used to groom kids to participate in other activities. It’s vital that you know who they are talking to and have honest conversations about the potential dangers. Help them understand that you never really know who you are talking to and they reality of sextortion and kidnapping.
  • Have conversations around money and gambling.
    Many leagues have a “buy in” at the beginning of the season so that the winners get money at the end. Gambling, including microbetting and sports betting is highly addictive, especially if they win. So use this as an excuse to start a conversation about it.

 

Fantasy football can be a great way to connect with your teenagers.

Ask about their team; ask about trades; watch games with them on the weekend; and cheer for their players! The more you get excited about things they are excited about, the more trust and connection you can build.

In this episode, we mentioned or used the following resources about home-school partnerships and fantasy football

Have a question?

If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!

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Chris Robey

Chris Robey

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Karlie Duke

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The Best/Worst Time of the Year

The Best/Worst Time of the Year

Summer is upon us! Depending on your perspective, this can be the best/worst time of year for an adult in the life of a student. Over the next few weeks, you might see more joyous posts on Instagram from teachers with more trepidatious thoughts from parents. But for the student, this can also be the best/worst time as well. 

You see, for many students this time of year means freedom. They can sleep until noon (or 3), not be bothered with homework and other expectations, and generally just be free to do what they want. This freedom comes with an unburdening of sorts and a place to just “breathe”. 

Yet for others, this time away from school comes with a subconscious “dread” of sorts. This might seem strange, but go with me on this. I’ve worked with a lot of students who “hint” at their anxieties of having too much free time. They know when the structures and accountabilities of school are removed, they are more likely to make poor choices and get off track. This is rarely stated explicitly, but is more implied. 

We as a community who love students need to take notice. 

I’m not saying we need to create all kinds of programs and structures to keep kids busy. Our kids are busy enough. Summer is a welcomed time to get away from the often overbearing systems that can weigh students down. 

However, we also need to understand that there are students in this world who thrive on the structure and expectations local school districts provide. The great work teachers and administrators do on a daily basis afford a framework for students to thrive, especially when their home life is chaotic and devoid of structure. 

In general, I think the absence of something can highlight significance. When we lose a loved one, we gain a deeper understanding of their impact and significance on our lives. When we walk away from something, we see all of the ways we were blessed by it. 

School is no different. While teenagers will gripe and complain about having to be there, you will find a sense of appreciation about school when it isn’t there. They miss their friends, teachers, and learning – even though many would never admit to that. 

So, why am I posting this? Are you expecting 5 good tips to keep teens busy this summer? Sorry, I don’t have that for you today. 

But what I do have is a “thank you” for our teachers and administrators. 

Thank you for standing on the front lines of education, culture, social norms, and future-making. I cannot think of a place where the entire world intersects for teenagers like their local schools. And, you guys have to create a space where all of these things interact and function in a healthy way. 

This is an impossible job, but you keep showing up day after day to love these kids and show them a better future. If I might say this, you are doing God’s work in this world, and as we see the absence of this work for a few months, we are reminded of the impact of your tireless service to students. 

So, thank you. Thank you for dealing with the impossible teenager and their impossible parents from time to time. Thank you for being on the forefront of “culture wars” and having mud thrown at you for trying to do the right thing. Thank you for enduring politics and confusing state laws to give a student some kind of hope for the future. 

For those who work at schools, you are loved and appreciated. Stay with it. Don’t quit. You make a difference, and your influence wouldn’t be the same doing anything else. 

Enjoy your rest. Your students will miss you, but I am thinking you might miss them a little also. 

See you in August.

Chris Robey, Teen Lifeline’s Program Director, has worked with teens for over a decade and strives to help students see the best in themselves.