Sunday, August 14, 2016

Parent's Role in Improving Student Achievement

       If you have a child in elementary, middle, or high school, then your main concern is helping your child to do well in school.  You have a person or persons in your household that is a member of the most important cliental in the educational community--the students.  And as a parent, you have influence over your children.  Your attitudes and actions toward school matter.

       We need your help!

       So here is my short list of the three top things that parents can do to help their children to do well in school.

  1. Healthy relationships all around.  
Help your child to make friends with classmates and to get to know the teacher or teachers.  You (the parent) should try to get to know your child's teacher(s) too.  Communication is the key to all healthy relationships.  So try to discover the best way to contact the teacher.  Make sure that your child knows that you have a relationship with the teacher and a way to make contact on an as-needed basis.  This shows that you care about your child's education.  

   2.  Emphasize "learning" over "getting-a-good-grade".

The point of school is learning, not getting a good grade.  There are lots of ways to get good grades without learning much.  We want students to learn how to learn; to read; to study; to try and fail and try again; and ask for help.  Your child's grade should reflect his or her ability; but sometimes it just reflects his or her ability to do what they're told.  Remember that the goal of school is learning.  It's the "Do you best." philosophy (that your parents probably said to you).

    3. Don't help your children too much.

Let's face it...nobody likes to see their children struggling.  But if everything is easy and can be obtained without effort then you have to ask, "Is my child really learning anything?"  Real learning comes from a little struggle from time to time.  Just because your child doesn't "get it" the first time doesn't mean they will never get it.  They just haven't gotten it yet.  If you tell them the answer or do the work for them, they will get the right answer, but they haven't learned anything.  Remember, the goal of school is learning.  Instead of telling them the answer, ask questions.  "What do you know?"  "What don't you know?"  "What do you need to know?"  "What questions should you ask the teacher?"  We want students to learn how to deal with struggle; we want them to problem solve when the problem is difficult.

       School means a lot of things to a lot of people.  Clubs, sports, friends, activities, requirements, homework, pens, paper, teachers,....  It can be hard to remember that it is all about learning.  As the parent, you can help your child to focus on the important parts of school.

       Have a great school year!

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