This may shock you — but your child has much more in common with Beyonce, Sam Kerr, and even NASA than you might think!
What do a great performer, a renowned athlete and astronauts together have in common? They all have a specific and defined sequence of activities that make a successful comeback or outcome in a challenging scenario.
At Kalibrate-Ed, we call this a launch sequence… a planned effort and series of actionable steps to bring out something new and better. Whether you’re a superstar, an astronaut or a high school student aiming to improve and succeed this year, a successful launch helps create a sustained flight trajectory throughout the year, without losing momentum and plummeting out of the sky.
January is always the busiest and most strategic time to plan and ensure everything is in place before your child starts Term 1. If you’re already a parent of a Year 9 student or your child is just beginning their Year 7, laying the groundwork for your child can help them boost their chances of success and get a good grasp of their year without burning out.
In this article, we will share a quick, tried-and-tested launch sequence that will ensure your child is not just ready for Day 1 but also smoothly adjusts to a new cadence coming from the holiday break.
The School Year Launch Sequence
Step 1: Gather all materials, text lists and books.
Ask yourself, “What are the things my child will need? Do they have all their books and access to resources?”
First, make sure that the work is done by ticking off all the materials in your child’s arsenal. This means getting ahead with an advanced text list — not just for Term 1, but for the rest of the school year. If they don’t have the essential texts and materials, that’s a guarantee that nothing gets done.
Step 2: Set up your child’s study space, tools & systems.
Prepare different tools that cater to their unique learning needs. If they struggle with getting organised, design an organisation system that’s easy for them to work with. For example, if your child has dyslexia or is adept at visual learning, use a folder system with colour-coded labels.
If your child misplaces assignments or their “dog just keeps on eating homework for breakfast,” now is the best time to set up a backup system for their work. Technology and the cloud make digital file storage seamless but make sure they check all boxes during set-up and ensure it’s actually syncing. Unless you want to be staying up with them stressing about vanishing assignments: check…and check again!
Step 3: Get a copy of the Assessment Handbook and Notification.
You can maximise your child’s exam preparations when you know the criteria or basis of how they will be marked. That’s where this will come in handy for your child’s launch sequence.
It’s different for each school, but most have these ready for parents earlier than others. Often, you can find your child’s assessment handbook and notification pre-loaded (but hidden) somewhere on their designated learning platform. While you may not have access to the specific question until the notification comes out, you can almost certainly predict the examinable content. Reach out to their teachers for the whereabouts of the assessment handbook and notification to get a head start.
Step 4: Sync with your child’s timetable.
Some schools publish student timetables earlier than others, which are commonly accessible via their school learning portals (just bear in mind that some years and schools may release theirs earlier or later than others). Get in sync with your child’s daily schedule and know what kind of day they have.
Routines make children feel safe and support them in building healthy habits. With their daily timetable in mind, you can help them run their day smoothly, from getting ready to go to school to their designated study times at home, without sacrificing quality time with family.
Step 5: Reset the body clock.
After weeks of holidays and chilling, your child has probably shifted to later bedtimes and become a little night owl. Shifting their body clock for Term 1 can be challenging when done abruptly. So it’s better to address it over time. Help them adjust their bedtime by increments — no more than 30 minutes each night leading up to Day 1.
The key here is to start early and not rush. Any overly aggressive correction or change in timing can cause sleep lag and interfere with their circadian rhythms, leading to more damage than good. A good window for transition is 7–10 days before the start of the term so that you can build earlier bedtimes as a solid habit, not just a temporary change.
Step 6: Make sure they know their first port of call in the school year.
The first day can be hectic and stressful, especially for first-time high school students or if your child is starting in a new school environment. That’s why they must have a clear visualisation of where their first port of call is.
Let them get acquainted with student services and the different kinds of support available to them in school so that they can get through their first days without feeling lost.
Step 7: Sit down with your child and set clear goals.
Many students still don’t know what they want to do or how to find out either. It may sound like it’s nothing, or it’s okay because they still have time to figure things out, but this uncertainty is the culprit of short-lived motivation to push and succeed in school.
Talk with your child and set clear, SMART goals together as early as now. Years 11 –12 might include specific rankings or university courses, while Years 7–10 might be about subject improvements and improved study efficiency. Have them write these down so they can be honest with themselves about how these goals are going. Decide on progress metrics and timelines with check-in points for accountability.
Step 8: List down questions and look out for missing items.
As a parent, is there anything you would like to clarify in your child’s syllabus or curriculum? Are there things your child remains uncertain about regarding their study, assessments or projects?
If anything is blurred in your child’s mind, list them and keep them on your radar. Work your way to help your child figure things out one by one as your child goes through the year.
Step 9. Use an ‘easy-to-see, easy-to-use’ organisation method.
Your child can always use a diary or calendar to organise all the information, but writing down information for whenever something comes up won’t be enough. It must be proactive and ‘in their face,’ especially when using digital planners.
Start with a 10-week planner that your child can draw up or print visually and save in easy-access areas: their bedroom door or above the study desk. The goal is to make their planners easily seen and accessed.
This physical launch sequence is one of the easiest preparations you can do, but it’s only a third of a successful strategy. There are still other essential conversations to have about your child’s academic success: sustained motivation levels, well-being, getting organised, and their future direction. These are separate sequences that need to be properly initiated and coordinated.
If you’d like more ideas on how you can personalise our School Year Launch Sequence to your child’s needs, get in touch. Our education strategists are experts in targeting the best approach and moulding a personalised learning strategy so your child can get their best results.