Attending school is a full-time job for children and one that they are expected and required to excel in without benefits or raises. Often children do not understand the need to do well in school. Parents also have a difficult time in letting another individual take over the care and instruction of their child or may feel left out in a child’s education. But helping your child to succeed in school does not have to be difficult.
Following this plan will help your child succeed in school, but expect it to take time. This is a one-year plan because it should be implemented the entire year of school…each and every year of school. Do not assume that following this plan for one year will help them to be a success in all the grades to follow, but rather follow this plan for every year that they are in school.
Know Your Roles
Remember that parents cannot teach for the teachers and teachers cannot be parents to the children. It is wise to also remember that teachers (add parents) cannot learn for the children and children cannot teach the teachers.
Measure Success Individually
Show the same amount of love for your children regardless of their success in school; often kids do try really hard but some subjects are harder than others. Let your children know that they are loved regardless, even if a punishment is deemed necessary they need to know they are loved. Also, judge your children separately. One child may have strengths in school, and another may struggle but judging ones’ success based on the other’s will only leave children feeling inadequate.
Expect that there will be some set-backs in school. Children are going to get bad grades or get into trouble. Show empathy and sadness when these instances occur rather than punishment. Talk to your child and find out what happened and why or ask them if they think they could have gotten a better grade. Encourage them to do better next time. Do not pay or reward children for good grades and do not punish for bad.
Chores and Responsibilities
Expect your children to still do their basic chores or keep up with other responsibilities at home. However, it is a good practice to let children do their homework first and then tackle their chores. If unforeseen circumstances happen it is okay if the chores did not get finished, but late or incomplete homework will result in a bad grade. If your child is involved in after-school activities and finding it hard to manage homework, activities and shores then it might be time to look at eliminating some of the activities.
Spend time each day talking with your child about your work or your day. They will want to imitate you and talk about their work, their classes, their friends, teachers or school in general. This will open the ways of communication and give you an insight into how your child is doing at school. Also, they will feel free to talk to you about problems that might occur. When children start to talk about their day listen to them…really listen. Ask them questions or respond to what they tell you. Have your children teach you something that they learned in school. Even if it is something you know about, pretend you don’t or add your own observations into what they teach you.
Read, Read, Read
It is proven that reading to your children and listening to them read to you helps them in school. Most children’s books only take 5 minutes to read and 1 chapter in an adult book can be read in 5-10 minutes. Set aside time for reading when everyone can relax such as after supper or just before bedtime. Not only will this increase a bond between parents but it will help them to succeed in school and life.
Re-charge the “Batteries”
Encourage children to do things that will “recharge their batteries.” Let them enroll in after-school, summer or weekend activities that will help them to relieve stress and social with others in a non-academic setting as well as exposing them to a variety of interests and talents. Take them to a park or allow them to act silly during stressful times or during periods when they have a lot of homework. As long as their responsibilities are being met, it is okay to let loose every now and then.
Build Up Their Strengths
Remind children that their lives and careers will be built around their talents and skills, not around their weaknesses. A child who despises and is no good at math will not seek a career involving complex math skills. Encourage children to develop their strengths and expose them to a variety of activities so they can discover other strengths and talents.
A Time and Place for Homework
Providing a time for homework provides consistency. Above all else, children need consistency in their lives. if homework is always done at the same time each day children are less likely to forget to do it and other events, even just playtime or TV, can be scheduled around the homework. Homework should come first and foremost and schedule it around a time that fits with the child’s or families needs. Set up an area where children can do their homework everyday. All that is required is that it be a place free of clutter, with good lighting, and quiet. All their supplies should be near the area so less time is spent hunting for paper and pencils.
Do not fight with children over homework. If they are told one way to do something but you think you know a different way, do not argue about it. Children need to do the homework the way the teacher taught them. Also, do not let children argue with you about the homework. Do not relent and let them skip homework until a later time in lieu of going to play. Also, do not fight with teachers over grades or consequences. Teachers will hopefully follow the school’s discipline policies and they should not be playing favorites with grades. However, if you feel that your child has been disciplined or graded unfairly, then speak rationally and calmly to the teacher. If you still feel that you are getting no satisfaction then it is acceptable to speak to a principal or vice-principal but fighting should never occur.
Quite often children go home with papers and their bags are never emptied. By the end of the year the bag may be bursting the seams with paper. Make it a habit to empty bags ever night. Children often bring home notes from the teachers or their homework that they did during the week. Looking at their homework will help you to understand how your child is doing in school and where their strengths and weaknesses lie.
After children finish their homework review it with them. Do not correct the right answers but let them know it is wrong and have them figure out the right answer. When they bring home papers that were done in class ask them if they know why they got an answer wrong. Praise them for the correct answers, but do not criticize them for the wrong answers.
Being an active role in your child’s education is the most important thing that a parent can do. Let teachers know if there is anything going on at home that might influence a child’s grades or attitude. Communicate with teachers as often as possible, even if it is only a note sent via your child. Schools have an open-door policy as well, drop into your classroom to see what is going on. But remember, too many unexpected drop-ins, staying an excessive amount of time, or interfering with activities or teaching will only cause a disturbance.