Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Be INVOLVED with your kids' education!

A lot of parents often ask me the age-old question: "What can I do to help my child improve in school?" The answer is a simple one. Take an active interest in their education. There are many ways you can do so. Here are some ideas:

1. If there is a PTA in your child's school, find out how you can be a part of it. It doesn't have to be a full-time job as many parents perceive being in the PTA to be. Often times, there is a parent who leads the group and is the one who is most active in running in. Being a part of the PTA and volunteering the hours you can afford to is the first step to knowing what's going on in your child's school. The PTA is also a great way to help turn things around in school. For example, if a certain subject is not taught up to par, the PTA, as a whole group, can be influential in encouraging the school board and administration to turn things around. In addition, the PTA is usually the first one to know of any activities or new trends going on in your child's school. Being a part of it will ensure that you are kept in the loop as well. It's also a great way to meet other parents who are similarily interested in their children's education. Having that mutual support is important.

2. Get to know your child's teachers well, if not VERY well. Teachers love parents who want to be an active participant in their child's education. Find a chance to meet your child's teacher(s) the first week of school and make sure you exchange contact information. Let the teacher know that you want to be involved and if there's anything you can do to help, he/she should feel free to contact you at any time. Of course, be careful of not skipping over to the annoying side of being a concerned parent. Be respectful to the teacher while communicating the fact that you are and want to be aware of what's going on. If you can afford the extra time, volunteer to be an aide in your child's classroom. This will give the teacher more time to spend one-on-ones with each child.

3. Get to know the parents of the kids your child hangs out with. Form play groups, extracurricular groups, or homework groups together. When your child has a good group of friends who all have the same goals towards studying, it helps generate a higher interest in learning for your child.

4. It's good to have your child be independent in taking charge of their own homework. However, it can be a huge mistake on the parents' part to not know what homework they have or when their tests/quizzes.projects are or are due by. Set a time each day after school to sit down with your child and go through what they have done in school. I find this most effective for kids kindergarten through sophomore in high school. It's bets to do so after lunch, a snack and a short break. Have your child do their own homework but it's always good to look (at least briefly) through their assignments after they have all been completed. This way, you will know what your child is learning and what he/she is having a harder time coping with in school. This goes for the same even if your child has a private tutor. Leaving everything to the tutor is not the most ideal, although having someone is supervise your child's work is sometimes better than nothing! :)

If you have any other ideas or comments, feel free to share with us!

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