As I begin the second year of this column, the new school year begins next
week for most of our readers. Itís a good time to reflect on the importance
of what families can do to maximize their childrenís learning at school.
Research has shown that parents are crucial in establishing school success
for children. Here are a few things you can do to support this:
Be in touch with your childís teacher. Set up lines of communication and
keep them open.
Be a vocal supporter of school. Openly support the schoolís policies, teachers,
goals, programs, events, and rules. Make the events that happen at school
part of your familyís schedule. Attend programs such as back-to-school-night,
book fair, science fair, and literacy fair. Do your best to buy the wrapping
paper, scrip, and other fundraising products. Volunteer at the school if
you have the time.
Talk about what happened at school each day. Get into the routine of hearing
about school projects as they are assigned and progress through the year.
In this way, you can be available to give support as needed.
In going over homework, ask your child to explain it to you. It is reasonable
to expect that children have a basic understanding of what needs to be
done. If this is not the case, talk to the teacher to find out why your
child does not understand what has to be done.
Explain why it is important to get a good education. Use examples from
your own life to bring home the points you want to make.
Be sure your child has a routine time and place to work on reading, studying,
and regular homework. This will need to be a quiet and secluded place for
some children. Recognize that some children may need non-traditional settings
such as having background music and being sprawled out on the floor.
Read daily to your child and show her or him that you read daily for your
own pleasure. This is an activity that never takes a vacation, so you should
be prepared to do this daily, regardless of the school calendar.
Have a great school year and keep in touch.
This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacherís Advice for Parents.