Monday, May 21, 2012

Supporting Your Child's Education - Guest Post

Parents Are The First Teachers - by Leslie Garner

All basic skills in the first few developmental years are integrally tied to the interaction with parents and other care providers. Parents set the stage at the outset for a child’s opportunity to succeed in a traditional academic setting, and there are many things that are determined before the first day of school arrives. As a parent, you will continue to make an impact throughout your child’s educational years, and there are some simple steps you can take in order to help your child get the most from his education.

Value Education
Children often take on the attitudes embraced by their parents. A parent’s esteem of educational value is integral in establishing that same sense of value in a child. Your youngster recognizes quickly that you like or dislike something. Portraying school and education positively will communicate an understanding to your child that education is important. This doesn’t mean that you have to like every class that’s offered or agree with every decision made by school leaders. However, always emphasizing the importance of a good education and the value of your
child doing his best will help him to recognize that his efforts matter.

Partnering with Teachers
Children pick up on parent attitudes quickly. Apathy or dislike can be recognized. Appreciation and esteem are equally recognized. Undermine a teacher in the eyes of your child and you are on track for undermining your child’s education. On the other hand, supporting your child’s teachers will communicate a sense of cooperation and value.

Handling disputes and difficulties directly with an instructor allows for difficulties to be addressed without undermining. Your child’s job as a student can be supported best by keeping him focused on that role, rather than by including him in your questions and doubts. Additionally, parents can partner with teachers in a number of positive ways.

At elementary grade levels, classroom assistance is essential. Parents are essential in organizing class activities and parties. Allowing your child to see you acting in cooperation with his teachers communicates value. Provide support to your child’s teachers by completing surveys and returning materials in a timely manner. Every way that you support your child's teacher allows for your child’s classroom experience to be more positive, helping him to make the most of his education.

Involvement in Homework
While young children don’t have a lot of homework, there may be occasional assignments. Older children frequently have homework. Parental oversight allows children to get the most out of their educational years through completion of the work required to learn. Parental involvement shouldn’t include doing the work for your child. Your youngster can be led through an assignment with the use of relevant questions, but you should refrain from providing the answers. Challenge your child to think, and learn to ask good questions in order to spur, or direct thinking.

Limit Extra Activities
Too much distraction will keep your child from thriving in school. Extra-curricular activities are fun, but if your participation in a soccer league prevents your child from completing his homework, there is a problem with your priorities. If there are different activities every day, your child may think that these activities are the priority. In either case, it’s wise to limit the extra-curricular involvement to that which can successfully happen without interfering with school work. Your child will get more out of his education when he isn’t constantly distracted from it.

Goal Setting
Children constantly think about what they want to be when they grow up. While early considerations may not continue in their plans later, it’s always great to talk about what a given job or position requires. Additionally, it’s helpful to discuss the educational paths needed to reach such goals. Placing an emphasis on how to reach a goal is important, but setting goals in the first place can provide children with the motivation to excel. Your child will get more out of his education if he is determined to reach a goal that depends on his successful completion of his schooling.

Leslie Garner is a education counselor and contributor at Best Masters in Education. More expert advice from Leslie can be found here.

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