Thursday, July 26, 2012

What Parents Can do to Help a Child Succeed in School

It is almost time to return to school. Students are collecting their school supplies in their backpacks and are eager to find out if their best friends will be in their class next year.
This is also a time for parents to be planning their child’s return to school. Playing an active role in their child’s school experience is the best way for parents to ensure their child’s educational success.
Studies on parent involvement indicate that the most accurate predictor of a child’s achievement in school is the extent to which the child’s family is able to:
Create an environment that encourages learning.
Communicate high yet reasonable expectations for their child’s achievement and future career.
Become involved in the child’s education at school and in the community.
Here are some ideas that can help parents provide a family environment that will support success.
Encouraging learning
Regardless of the student’s grade level, homework can be an everyday expectation. If the teacher did not assign homework, or if the student finishes the homework quickly, parents should expect the student to have plenty of books on hand to practice reading.
Parents should set aside a time and place to ensure that homework is completed without distractions. The best way to determine an appropriate amount of time is to multiply the grade level by 10 minutes. A first grader should have 10 minutes of homework; a 12th grader, two hours. However, depending on the student and the teacher, that can vary.
There is no doubt that students will begin using the Internet for schoolwork, even at very young ages. It is important for parents to understand how they and their student can use it best.
A good online resource is “Parents’ Guide to the Internet,” It is intended to help parents — regardless of their technological know-how — effectively employ online resources in their child’s education. The guide provides parents with an introduction to the Internet, instructions on how to navigate it, a glossary of common Internet terminology and suggestions on how parents can allow their children to tap into the wonders of the Internet while safeguarding them from its potential hazards.
Expectations for achievement
Children will often fulfill the expectation set for them. If a parent expects their student to get all B’s on a report card, what is the student’s motivation to get all A’s? The goal was met at B’s. Until students reach about 11th grade, the long-term reasons for doing well in school have not sunk in. Therefore, their only motivation to achieve is the parental expectation. However, it is important to know your children and be fully aware of their skills and abilities. Parents’ expectations should be reasonable.
Become involved
Becoming involved means establishing two-way communication between the parent and teacher, school administration or other parents. When students know their education is important enough for mom or dad to take the time to visit the school to volunteer, spend evenings attending school meetings, or make a phone call or send an email to check on a student’s progress, education becomes a priority for the student as well.
Ask your child’s teacher how to get involved, and keep asking throughout the school year as needs change.

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