Help Your Child Have a Successful School Year

 The new school year is just around the corner. Whether it's your child's first year in school or you're already a few years into it, there are many different things you can do at home to help your student be more successful this year.

Being an elementary teacher, I know how important it is for parents or caregivers to be involved in their child's education. Furthermore, I know how rare involvement can be in this day and age with busy work schedules and different family structures. The key to master lessons and concepts begins in the classroom, but with a little extra effort at home, your child is sure to be ahead of the class!

Homework. Students certainly view homework as a type of "punishment", and teacher who gives a lot of homework can often be seen as "mean" in the eyes of a child. The fact is, homework is just a reinforcer for what is going on in the classroom. You can't master the piano if you don't practice, and the same can be said for multiplication facts, for example. It's extremely important that your child does their homework every night, and hand it in on time, in order to get the most out of what they are learning. Set an hour aside each night to help your child do their assignments. Not only will it keep the lessons fresh in their minds, but it will also give you a chance to bond with your student, as well as knowing what is going on in the classroom.

Request extra work. If your student's teacher fails to send homework home each night, don't be afraid to ask for extra assignments. I will admit, as a teacher, it is a very rare thing when a parent actually requests more homework, but those students were often more successful in the long run. It instills a great work ethic in your child from an early age.

Use the internet. Find out what your child will be learning in different subjects and feel free to look around the web for worksheets and activities you can do at home. Believe it or not, most activities and lessons teachers use are found on the internet these days. You don't need a degree to try some at home. Just be sure that yourself and the teacher are on the same page. Most states have specific guidelines for completing Math problems and answering Reading questions that you may not be aware of. Find out from your student, or the teacher themselves, how problems are to be solved in their class, and go from there.

Don't be afraid to contact the teacher. As a teacher, I am thrilled when parents want to become more involved in their child's learning. I am more than happy to share with the parents what I have observed about their child and their learning styles. You and the teacher should be working on the same page, which ultimately should lead to success for the child.

READ, Read, read! Reading is absolutely crucial to student success. Even before your child enters school, it is not a bad idea to read one book to them a night and ask questions about what you have read. Go over your child's Spelling words nightly with them. Share in reading books with them on a nightly basis...even if they only read the words they know. Reading comprehension effects nearly every other subject, including Math. Always ask questions about what the child is reading, and have them visualize what they are reading in their head. Have them draw a picture if it helps. Libraries are a great way to borrow books about topics your child is interested in. Plus taking a half hour to go to the library with your child is a great way to spend time with them.

For the Struggling Student...

Try these quick and easy exercises and ideas to help your struggling student:

  • Flash cards (words, letters, math facts)
  • Mini chalk board to write words, math problems etc. without wasting paper. Plus it's more fun for the student!
  • Invest in a tutor. Many recent college grads tutor as a way to make some extra money, and are usually willing to negotiate their pay rate.
  • Ask the teacher about any special Reading or Math programs, if not already in one.
  • Utilize educational games on websites such as http://www.funbrain.com and http://www.gamequarium.com              

 

There are countless ways to help your student at home...these are just a few, easy tips. Don't be afraid to talk to your student's teacher, use the internet for other great ideas.

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