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I’ve never met a parent who wanted anything but success for his or her student, and that is the first ingredient in your child’s success. Of course, the second ingredient is a hard-working child, and we’ll all be working toward that goal together.
In English this year, we will be reading novels, plays, and poetry, all of which teach strong lessons about life. Your student will compose writings of various lengths, some brief pieces in response to assignments and some essays that examine or compare full-length works of literature. Your student should learn several writing techniques this year that will make nearly every writing situation in the future easier with which to deal. Your student will have plenty of opportunities to become skilled at note-taking and self-organizing.
A few things which you can do at home to help your student to succeed:
- provide a quiet space to do homework, far from televisions, video games, and telephones. (A computer can make your student’s job simpler, as can access to the internet, but I would never advise unrestricted computer use by any child. There are many internet activity-monitoring programs available, and you may feel more comfortable giving your child computer access if you have such a program running. Not everyone can afford these technological services, but if you can provide them, this kind of investment can benefit your entire family.)
- The high school library is open until 3:30, and a homework study hall operates until 3:30 in the cafeteria. There are quiet places here to work, and a bus run operates at 3:30.
- F.A. provides all students with an agenda booklet, an excellent way for students to list and track assignments, to record future due dates, and generally to manage the school year’s deadlines. Ask to see your student’s agenda. Encourage its daily use. Have your student check off assignments as they are completed and then show you. If you check my assignments page, you’ll note that my students have something due for credit nearly every day of the school year. Expect to see these items coming home routinely for my class: a novel or script and a handout of study questions.
- My assignments are posted on this site weekly. I encourage students and parents to bookmark the assignments page so that all are aware of the work to be done. Furthermore, our current study guides will be downloadable as .pdf (Adobe Acrobat Reader) files. (You can read and print them.)
- I encourage students to word process (use a computer to write) all essays and as much of their homework as possible. The mere act of typing homework forces students to organize their ideas in ways they normally wouldn’t. Additionally, typing and saving rough drafts of essays simplifies the process of revising the rough draft for a grade. You do not need to maintain a printer at your home for school assignments, so long as your student’s work can be e-mailed to me successfully or saved on a jump drive (key-chain chip), cd or a 3-1/2 inch floppy disk. If your word processor is not Microsoft Word, then the file should be saved as an .rtf file (Rich Text Format), which is a selection the computer user can make when saving the file. (See Save as Type€¯ in the Save As€¯ dialog box. Choose RTF.) Then the disk may be used at school to print your student’s saved work. Another free option is to download and install Jarte, a word processor that is compatible with Word. It is available here. Therefore, having a nonfunctioning printer at home is no longer a valid excuse for a late essay.
Look forward to an exciting school year and to seeing your student continue to grow.