Common sense in educationPublished 5:48pm Saturday, March 2, 2013
QUESTION: What are things I can do to help my kids be the best students they can be?
ANSWER: Less than 10 percent of children’s time from birth to age 18 is spent in school. Actually, all parents are teachers and we are definitely our children’s first teachers. Here are six common-sense principles and some specific ideas that help us be successful teachers at home, so our children are successful at school:
Children become better learners when expectations are clearly stated, when expectations are realistic, but high, when consequences are understood and when parents emphasize effort, not just results. Have your child teach you one thing he learned in school. Review homework and tests together; let your child correct mistakes and affirm the improvement. Reward your child for completing tasks, not just for high scores.
Children become better learners when they have a regular routine and parents supervise their activities. Eat a meal together daily and talk about the day. Post a weekly family calendar. Assign a child a weekly chore; allow for choices. Designate a quiet place and a regular time for homework.
Children become better learners when they are presented with opportunities to learn outside of school. Have your child write the grocery list. Visit the library and read together. Take nature walks together. Join a club.
Children become better learners when they know their parents appreciate and talk with their school teachers. Attend parent/teacher conferences. Connect with teachers regularly in person or by telephone or email. Go to school activities and athletic events with your child.
Children become better learners when they are encouraged. Send your child to school with a smile and positive words. Put a friendly note in your child’s lunch. Find a way to treat your child when you see her invest a lot of effort on a school task. Tell someone else, like a grandparent, about a positive accomplishment, and encourage that person to affirm your child with a note in the mail or a telephone call.
Children become better learners when the adults in their lives are positive role-models by reading, studying, asking questions, talking about education, setting long-term goals. Read books or magazines for your own enjoyment. Share a personal goal with your child. Ask for your child’s opinion about a decision you’re making.
“Homework” is really the learning that goes on under the guidance of parents, which is 80 percent of the learning all children do.
If you would like to talk with a parenting specialist about the challenges in raising children, call the toll-free Parent WarmLine at 1-888-584-2204/Línea de Apoyo at 877-434-9528. For free emergency child care call Crisis Nursery at 1-877-434-9599. Check out www.familiesandcommunities.org