Supporting My Lighthouse Student
The Lighthouse School is a unique learning environment in which it may take time for some kids to adjust as they move toward becoming an autonomous and self-directed learner.
How can I support my student in the Lighthouse School?
Here are some ways you can support your student as they navigate this process:
1. Allow your student time to adjust to the new environment. For younger students this could possibly be as long as two years. Keep in mind they are likely working two or more years ahead of their age peers so it is unlikely they will fall behind even if they have a day when they are not producing tangible work. Remember that non-academic learning, such as organizational and social skills, is also essential learning for students.
2. Pack healthy snacks and a water bottle to keep up the energy level throughout the day.
3. Have regular discussions about their school day. Let your student lead the conversation and resist the urge to turn it into a “daily interrogation.”
4. Help your student to structure his/her evenings to allow time to play and rest, and/or participate in extracurricular activities. Remember, we do not assign homework. Most work should be completed during the school day if students are using their time wisely.
5. If your student is participating in an academic team competition, offer to help coach the team and be alert for notices about your student’s responsibilities toward the team’s goals.
6. Work on age-appropriate goal setting with your student.
7. Remind your student to set up a time to meet with his/her advisor to discuss his/her weekly plan.
8. Support your student’s efforts towards progress. Celebrate and reward milestones (i.e. completing a math level or finishing a book report).
9. Be flexible about student progress. It could be that more challenging lessons require more time to complete. Or perhaps a unique learning opportunity utilized much of the work block time (i.e. artist in residence, guest speaker, and inquiry project presentation). Also consider that some students do not recover quickly from the excitement of a fire drill or the stress of standardized testing affecting their ability to resume focus on their work.
10. If you have concern about your student’s progress, speak to your student’s advisor for more insight and/or ways to help motivate your student.
11. If your student has concerns, encourage him/her to seek support from one of the teacher-facilitators or bring it up in the next meeting with his/her advisor.
12. Remember that your student’s interests belong to him/her. You can offer support through classes, books, etc., but it is helpful to remember that some interests and passions are short-lived. It almost always takes running through several (maybe hundreds of) different interests to find real passions.
13. Share your expertise with the school through coaching an academic competition team, doing a group presentation, leading a learning experience, or being available as a mentor.
14. Talk with other parents. You will be pleasantly surprised by the ideas and resources other parents can offer. Join the PTO.