Wednesday, August 25, 2010

5 Ways Parents Can Help Children Succeed in School

Parents play a major role in the success of a students school year.  Here are five ways you can be sure this year is successful.
1.  Make sure your child is at school every day unless they are sick.  There is no substitute for attendance.  I taught in the primary grades and 95% of my instructional days was hands on or oral instruction and could not be made up at home.  Some assignments can be sent home but you can't make up what is happening in the classroom.
2. Partner with the teacher.  Communicate with the teacher on a regular basis but don't overdue it.  I had a parent call me every time their child missed anything on an assignment and wanted an explanation as to why, how the lesson had been taught, was he being attentive....   A little overkill especially for kindergarten.  Keep in mind though teachers are more likely to give your child a little more attention if they know you are going to email every few weeks to check on how their child's progress.  Build a positive relationship, compliment or thank the teacher when appropriate (trust me teachers don't hear this often enough) and don't be confrontational.  You want to work together.  Remember, you both have the same goal.
3. Volunteer. Parents who take an active interest in the success of their child's school is one of the biggest contributions to a student's success.  Children of involved parents typically have higher self-esteem, fewer behavior problems and better grades in school.  You are showing your child that you value their education by contributing to their school.  Volunteering does not have to take place in the classroom or during the school day.  You can attend PTO meetings, cut out a project at home, help with a fund raiser, etc...
4. Make homework a priority. This comes before TV, ball practice, or playing with friends.  Establish a homework routine. Be sure to include at least 15 -30 minutes of reading time in the homework schedule.
5. Make time every day to talk with your child about the school day. Give them your full attention and really listen to what they have to say.  Ask open ended questions so they can't give the standard response "nothing".  Example: Your teacher said you were going to do an experiment today.  Tell me the steps you did to complete it.  What story did you read today?  Tell me about your favorite character in the story.

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