After a week in first grade my son announced that he had the WORST lunches of his entire class. Surprised, I asked him why. “I have brown bread sandwiches, and they all have white!”
While we’re not giving out sandwich tips today, we are sharing some great ideas for parents. I asked two amazing, well-respected educators for ways parents can help their kids be successful in school. Take note but you won’t be tested on this….
1. Make sure your children know their education is top priority for you as their parent. Nothing is a better predictor of student success than parents who care! Talk about school each day. Let your priorities show. Your attitude toward school attendance, education and involvement in the school makes a strong and lasting impression.
2. Even though teenagers have busy lives, they still need routine as much as possible. Set aside quiet time to encourage regular homework/study routines. Reduce distractions by turning off TV, cellphones, and video games. Good concentration usually requires a quiet place, a clean desk or table, good lighting, and perhaps someone to help nearby for questions.
3. Encourage “personal best” in school and at home. Remember “personal best” does not mean “perfect.” Avoid comparing your children with each other. Different children will have different strengths and interests.
4. Praise them generously for effort and good study skills, not just high grades. When bringing up the negative, give specific suggestions on how to do better: (for example, read the assignment when it’s given, proofread material to catch errors before writing a final draft, review notes before a test)
5. Keep extra spiral notebooks, colored pencils, poster board, flash drives, etc. so last minute projects are still possible to complete.
6. Help your child dream for the future. When they feel like talking about it, ask for details of their dreams. Asking “which college” or “what job seems most interesting” can help your teen form concrete goals either about college, technical training, or career choices. At this point, giving them something to aim for is more important than the specific job or career choice.
7. Encourage reading for pleasure. Students need to read to learn, and parents can encourage and model leisure reading at home. Even reluctant readers can increase their vocabulary, comprehension, and spelling skills if they find something enjoyable to read.
8. Communicate with teachers by e-mail whenever possible. It is so much more convenient for teachers to respond on prep hour or after school than to be called to the phone with students needing their attention. It also makes it easier to gather information before they respond to you. Teachers appreciate parents who are informed and involved.
9. Generally, teachers are pretty reasonable people! If a conflict should arise, remember the teacher may be able to offer a different perspective to help you understand the situation fully. Contact the teacher first. Then if no solution can be reached, an administrator or counselor may be a valuable resource.
10. Finally, remember the end goal is for the students to learn responsibility, learn HOW to learn, and gain a DESIRE to be a life-long learner!
Hope you’re doing something fun to enjoy your last few days or weeks of summer!!