The single most important step you can take to help your child learn is to be an active participant in your child’s education.
Active participation includes: talking to your child about their day, hearing young learners read, helping with homework and making sure kids go to school happy, healthy and with plenty of sleep.
The second step is to become involved in your child’s school. This is harder than ever due to work and other commitments, but you can still be positively engaged in the life of your child’s school even when you work. Here’s how:
1. Find out what your child’s school is trying to achieve and show your support for it’s aims. What is your school focusing on over the following three years? What are it’s specific values? Answer these two questions and you’ll be streets ahead of most parents I know.
2. Support a broad, balanced curriculum that offers a variety of experiences rather than a program that narrowly focuses on the 3 Rs.
3. Direct conversations through the correct channels such as your child’s teacher, the principal or the school’s governing body. Thoughtless gossip and car park committees merely tarnish a school’s reputation.
4.Get the school diary and place open days, interview days and other important days in your own diary so you can plan ahead.
5. Meet with your child’s teacher at the start of the year and ask for practical ways you can help at home. Every teacher has their own style and way of doing things. Make sure your child’s home work routine fits that of your child’s teacher
6.Encourage your child to take pride in their school, and don’t ‘bag’ it yourself. Your positive advocacy of your child’s school will send a powerful message about school and learning.
7.Model learning and reading. Your kids need to see you learning new things and reading so they become normalised. In particular, boys are more likely to latch on to reading when their dads read to them and also read at home themselves.
There are lots of ways you can support your child’s learning. However you can’t go too far wrong if start with these basics; take a real interest in what kids do at school and be an active, risk-taking learner yourself.
For heaps more information to help kids start school, successfully start their secondary school life and settle back into school check out the videos and written tips on the new Parentingideas Club.
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