You’ve spent the last few weeks organising uniforms, books, stationery and nutritious lunch ideas and you’ve finally packed the kids off to school for the new school year. After enjoying a quiet cup of coffee and a well deserved breather, there’s one more thing to think about: how can you help your kids have a meaningful and successful year at school in 2014?
1) Keep in regular contact with your child’s teacher
This is a familiar point but an important one. Send the teacher an email in the first few weeks to introduce yourself and to let them know that you’re very interested in supporting your child’s education in any way that the teacher deems useful. If your child experiences difficulty in one subject area over others, ask for the teacher’s program of study or ask them to keep in touch about your child’s progress and any ways you can help support your child’s learning in this area.
2) Model the importance of education at home
Help your kids value their education and help them want to apply their very best efforts this year. Set aside time each day, perhaps during dinner, to discuss what they’re learning and to share your own positive memories of learning these topics. Create a goal to have an hour a day where each family member is involved with their own learning, whether reading a book, watching a documentary or involved in some formal learning. When your kids see that you value learning, they’ll value their education all the more.
3) Become your child’s homework buddy
Learning is always more fun and more successful when you have someone else to learn with. Your child has many opportunities throughout the day to work with their peers and when there’s homework to be done at the end of a long day, having someone to work with will make the task more productive and more enjoyable. When your child knows that they can always come to you to ask a quick question or to ask for help with an extended assignment, they will experience less stress and more motivation. Become involved in their homework sessions and volunteer your help from day 1 to get them set on the right path.
4) Help your child develop organised habits
Often the most successful children at school are those who display the most organised work habits and ways of organising their learning materials. Regularly monitor your child’s school bag, their pencil case and their school workbooks and folders and help them develop order and routine in preparing for each day’s learning. Not all kids naturally develop this important skill and most kids need to be taught this with lots of regular reinforcement. The less they have to think about where their worksheets and stationery have got to, the more they can concentrate on what they are learning.
See yourself as your child’s partner in education this year and you’ll set them on the path to a successful and satisfying 2014.
Mirella is a Mathematics Teacher and Education Consultant and her mission is to help parents raise mathematically confident and competent children through her site www.educationequals.com