It’s a new year! This is the time of year that we all set new goals for ourselves, right? Often we set fitness goals, budgeting goals, or organization goals to name a few. But, this is also a good time to set a goal to become more involved in your child’s education. If life got a little crazy during the first half of the school year, now’s the time to “reset”. Let your child know that you are going to make their education a priority. In this blog, I will share a few ways that you can do this to help your child have better grades and a better attitude toward school.
Find out if your child’s school offers volunteering opportunities. There are so many benefits to volunteering in your child’s classroom. For starters, it improves communication with the teacher. You will see your child’s teacher in a different light and build a relationship with them. Secondly, being on the “inside” allows you to gain knowledge of what the kids are learning in the classroom. This will help you be better prepared to help with homework at home. Moreover, it shows your child that you value their education. When you take time out of your day to volunteer in their classroom or within the school, you are showing your child how important their school and education are to you. If YOU think it’s important, THEY should think it’s important!
Be Involved With Homework…But Not Too Involved
Ahhh, homework! Parents have an odd relationship with this school-year staple. We love to watch our kids hashing out answers and finding creative solutions on their own, but we also want our children to be shining stars in the classroom. I have been there. I have watched my child complete a homework assignment and cringed as I mentally judged everything from her handwriting to the less-than-eloquent answer she scribbled onto the notebook paper. It has taken all of my strength not to grab the pencil out of her hand, erase everything she just wrote down and do it myself. BUT, as a teacher who has seen one-too-many homework assignments returned in the parent’s handwriting, I had to stop myself. Remember, homework is the opportunity to practice what was taught in the classroom. Furthermore, mistakes let the teacher know where your child is struggling and provide intervention and extra practice. Mistakes also provide kids with an opportunity to learn how to do things differently. Having said that, if you see your child is not putting forth their best effort on a particular assignment, you can let them know when they haven’t done their best work. But, make the criticism constructive. Don’t tell your child, “You aren’t going to hand in that messy work, are you?” Instead, say something like, “Your teacher will understand your ideas better if you use your best handwriting.” Then, don’t forget to praise your child when they follow through with your suggestion.
Praise with Purpose
As I mentioned above, praise your child when they are doing a good job on their homework. Make the praise specific, however. Instead of giving a broad compliment like, “Good job,” direct the comment to something they did well with the assignment. For example, “Great job determining the area of that figure!” Or, “Wow, I really love your use of interesting vocabulary words in your book report!” You are not only encouraging your child but letting them know exactly what they are doing well. These compliments can go a long way toward motivating your child to complete their assignments with maximum effort!
In closing, being involved in your child’s education has so many benefits including better grades and increased motivation. I hope that you consider trying the tips mentioned in this blog to start the second half of the school year strong!