You know your child is struggling in school, and you want to help her in every way you can. If only you knew what would work...
It is important for parents to know when they can help their children and when they can't. More important is the parental understanding of why they are unable to help their children in certain areas of education.
Like it or not, in most cases, students feel that their parents were put on this earth for two reasons: to give them endless supplies of money, and to annoy them. With this in mind, here are some points to think about when it comes to supporting your children's learning.
- Reading Time: We are all busy, but it is unrealistic to expect our children to read if they never see us reading. Reading is without a doubt the foundation of all learning. How often have you designated a family reading time? Make sure that some portion of your kids' reading consists of a book they have chosen for themselves.
- Study Space: Is your home conducive to learning? Is the lighting in your child's room sufficient for studying? Is his desk cluttered? Fixing these things will make studying less of a chore in your child's mind.
- Break Time: Even a sponge needs to be wrung out every so often, and the human brain is no different. It is a mistake to have your child study more than 20 minutes without a break. A positive structure is 20 minutes of studying, a five-minute break, and then another 20 minutes, and so on. And students of all ages should not be studying the same subject for hours on end.
- Note-Taking: When it comes to taking notes, less is more! They only need to copy key words and phrases. When they study, they can then expand these notes.
- Reviewing: The key to reviewing is to do so in short spurts. Then, kids can study new material, and go back and review again. Let your child have some input as to the most effective time of day for her to study.
- Summer Study: Learning over the summer is a definite advantage and can consist of reading and possibly looking over some vocabulary lists. Reviewing math formulas from the previous school year, however briefly, is also beneficial.
- Outside Support: As the parent, you are emotionally involved, and this will often lead to frustration when your child does poorly in some aspect of school. Keep in touch with guidance counselors and teachers during the year and ask how you can all work together for the benefit of your child.
- Tutor Time: Studies have shown that an hour with a tutor is equal to four hours in the classroom. When choosing a tutor, ask about qualifications and references. The rapport created between your child and the instructor is almost as important as the content covered. Some parents choose short-term tutoring to address a particular stumbling block, while others engage long-term tutors to help with confidence and organization. Many parents opt for summer tutoring since students have more flexible schedules.
- Homework: Homework is a very important part of learning because students review what they were taught in class. Stay in touch with teachers via email or phone to understand more about the assignments given as well as timetables for longer projects. Post a colorful calendar with due dates. As a reminder, place a note on your child's pillow a few days before certain assignments are due. (Tell them the Homework Fairy dropped it off!) Make sure all homework is labeled with the child's name and date.
When you have the help of support staff in the school as well as help offered outside of school, your child should be able to gain the necessary tools to improve in all areas of education. If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes a community to educate one.
MARC HOBERMAN is the director of the Grade Success, offering SAT and ACT prep, tutoring for all courses and ages in person or via Internet Webinars, and Speed Reading and Study Skills courses. Marc also coaches parents on motivating their children to do well in school. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.Gradesuccessinc.com.