Education is vital to a successful future. As parents, it is our job to do all that we can to see that our children get a sound education. You can help your child through school by simply following a few simple guidelines:
- Start early -- before your child ever steps foot into a classroom.
Once your child is school-aged, let them know that you feel that school is a special and important place. For children, time at school is akin to an adult's work day. The value of their schoolwork should never be diminished.
Keep the lines of communication open with your child's teacher. Teachers are your partners in seeing that your child excels in school. Let your children's teachers know that you welcome and appreciate their input.
Provide a supportive environment for learning at home. If possible, purchase a desk for your child to use when doing homework. If space constraints or finances prevent this, allow your child to use the kitchen table to complete their assignments.
Keep a few basic school supplies on hand. Stocking a small supply of paper, pens and pencils, along with scissors, a ruler, glue, a calculator, a dictionary and a thesaurus will make it easier for your child when he/she is doing their homework.
Establish a set routine for homework. When your child comes home from school, allow him/her to have a healthy snack then make time for homework. Setting the ground rules while your child is young will help them to have good study habits in place as they move into the higher grades.
Offer to help with homework, but do not do your children's work for them. If they are having difficulty with an assignment, make suggestions and guide them towards the correct answers, but let them draw their own conclusions. Some of the most important things that children learn during their school years is how to be problem solvers and independent thinkers.
If your child struggles with a subject, seek help. If you are qualified (and patient enough!) to offer your assistance, do so. If not, seek the help of a tutor. Many schools offer free or inexpensive tutoring -- just ask!
Extend learning outside of the classroom. Try to incorporate the things that your child is learning about into his/her real life. Take nature walks and family trips to museums and zoos.
Encourage your child to think about their goals, both short and long term. Short term goals might include getting an A on the next math test or making the honor roll this semester. Long term goals will include your child's ideas about what career path they might someday want to take. Stress to them that doing well in school is their first step toward achieving their long term goals.
Talk to your child about your own experiences in school -- your strengths and your challenges. It will help your child to know that everyone excels in certain areas and must work harder in others. Let your child know that you are proud of their efforts!
- Read together. Children who enjoy quiet time reading are likely to feel well prepared for school. Not only will they be entertained by books and learning, they will have already established the self-control to sit patiently for short stretches of time.
- When your child is young, play pretend games about school. Take turns being the teacher and the student. You can even purchase a small book-bag, a few school supplies and a fun lunchbox for these games. By doing this, you will help to prepare your child for real school.
- Speak enthusiastically to your child about the day when they will get to go to school. Make it something that they look forward to!