School can be complicated for parents and kids alike. Parents are far removed from the process, generally, and students are just learning about it. This doesn’t stop you from wanting to help your child succeed in school. If you have a child entering the 4th grade like I do, the following five points will help you help them succeed this school year.
Common Core Standards Expectations
Common Core Standards will be in every classroom this year, and fourth grade will have some high expectations. Fourth graders will have the “refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says” and “describe (in depth) a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text.” They will also need to “explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose, and refer to the structural elements of poems and drama.” In Math, they will need to apply a method taught to them to show how they reach their answer when completing a problem, and they will need to be able to show knowledge of operations, such as how they work and what they mean. If these are things you struggle with as a parent, they are the things you’ll want to brush up on before school starts.
Fourth grade is the year where most kids begin forming strong friendships and understanding how relationships work. During this year, they will work more independently from classmates and this is when they will learn that not everyone can or will be their friend. This is an important life lesson, but one that is very hard for many kids at first, especially if they find themselves not making friends easily. You can help your child by talking to them about friendships and how to make friends without compromising family values.
There will be a lot of physically developmental changes with kids in the fourth grade. Girls will often mature and grow faster than boys in this grade. All fourth graders will have improved coordination, but with the growth comes lots of aches and pains. These are common, but can affect the way a child performs in school and at home. If your child is fatigued or sore at the end of a day, realize this is normal and they may need a break before pitching in at home or doing homework.
Kids are emotional as it is, but the older they get the more emotional they become because they have a hard time processing all the changes happening to them at one time. This is an age where kids will feel peer pressure more than before, and they will want to be a part of the crowd. This is a fun time to enroll them in sports or other extracurricular activities to help their social skills develop, but they also help them become more emotionally secure. Kids at this age become more self aware, and this leads to a need to be in control of some life choices. Let them! Clothing choices, food choices, and even the activities they will engage in can be great choices to make on their own- with your guidance, of course.
While most children at this age can reason logically, they generally think about actual physical objects and don’t engage in much abstract thinking. This doesn’t mean, however, they aren’t ready to start trying. They will become more responsible at this stage, so give them chores to help teach them about responsibilities and consequences. This is a time you should also give them more options to read and watch in television other than cartoons and fictional works. Realistic works will help develop their intellectual abilities. One thing to be aware of is that homework demands increase at this age, and kids tend to struggle with that at first. Help them with this by making a homework calendar to keep them on track.