“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”
A few weeks ago, I shared how excited I was to be a Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Ambassador. I have great admiration for the organization and all the amazing work they do to help children get through school. As I was reading through the material for the campaign, one sentence really struck me hard: “Each year, one million students fail to graduate high school.” Wow. That is one million kids (conservative estimate, I’ve actually seen higher numbers) every year that will have a very difficult future because of one bad choice.
In my circle of friends, I know at least five people who dropped out of school. Only one went on to get her GED. Here’s something that may surprise those not in the know: the GED test is harder than high school! I was on the honor roll my senior year in high school. I consider myself a fairly smart person. Yet when I took the sample test just to see what it was like, I completely failed the math section! Math was never my strong point.
Raising a high school graduate starts in elementary school
On most days, Jacob can’t stand school. Others, he loves it, but most often, he just can’t wait for the weekend and vacations. He’s going into third grade this year, so he still has many years ahead of him. I am constantly trying to lay the groundwork to make sure that he stays in to the end. Here’s how:
- Accept that kids sometimes don’t like school. While it would be super fantastic if our kids woke up every morning excited about another fun day of learning, that’s rarely reality. Remember when we were kids? Did we get excited every day? Sure, if there was a field day, class trip or other fun activity planned, it was a great day to go. Other than that, though, most of us groaned when our parents came to wake us up. Not all kids like school. Not even many kids like school. Accept it and move on.
- Explain that we all deal with things we don’t like. That’s life. Make sure they accept that doing things they don’t like is just part of life. It took me over 20 years to find a job I love. I still do side jobs that I don’t love, because that’s life. We all have to do things we don’t love, so we have the resources to do the things we do love. Going to school and one day becoming a high school graduate gives your child the tools needed to find their bliss later!
- Accentuate the positive. When Jacob tells me how much he hates school, I point out that without school, he wouldn’t have learned how to read or spell as well as he does. Without that knowledge, he wouldn’t be able to play Minecraft, create awesome science experiments or read the latest Captain Underpants book. He also wouldn’t have met his best friends. Accentuating the positive helps kids see all the benefits they get from going to school, even if some of the day is spent doing things they don’t like.
- Follow up with issues. Sometimes a kid doesn’t become a high school graduate simply because of too many issues at school. Bullying, bad teachers (sadly, they exist) and other issues seem to drive them out. Don’t let that happen. Advocate for your child and follow up with any complaints or issues to ensure they are resolved.
- Let them take a mental health day. Jacob rarely misses school. From kindergarten through second grade, he’s missed a total of about 5 days. I am lucky because he is rarely ever sick. I give him one “skip” day a year. As long as he is doing well in school and doesn’t have a test, he gets to stay home without being sick. That one day helps him get through the other 179 school days.
- Admit when you need help getting them help. As a single mom, I know that I can’t do everything alone. I’m lucky to have family to help out with Jacob’s homework (especially the math! When did 2nd grade math get so hard?). For those who need extra help and don’t have the resources, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America is an amazing resource.
How the BGCA can help you help your child become a high school graduate
The BGCA works diligently to help ensure every child has the chance at a great future. They even have a program called BE GREAT: Graduate that identifies kids who are at risk of dropping out. From basic after-school homework help to programs that help identify future career paths, BGCA is there to help every child become a high school graduate. They can’t do it alone, though. They need your help! Fortunately, helping is as easy as playing a quick game on your computer!
Disney has teamed up with BGCA to help put much-needed school supplies in the hands of children everywhere. Simply head over to the BGCA website and play the quick pop-quiz game. For every five correct answers, a donation of school supplies will be made to kids in need. It took me less than a minute to do the quiz and add to the growing number of supplies donated. Don’t worry, if you get an answer wrong, it lets you try again. By the way, the answer to that question above is 1860! That’s over 150 years of the BGCA helping kids succeed!
Other ways to help include donating money to the cause at the register at Staples now through the end of September or dropping off supply donations at Radio Disney events. Making sure your child becomes a high school graduate should be a priority throughout your child’s life. Making sure other children have the same chance is just as important.