As mothers, we want the best education for our children. However, schools are not always equipped to provide everything a child needs to reach his full potential. Participating in your child’s education allows you to fill in the gaps where formal education falls short.
At the elementary school level, it is important to be as involved as possible with the school and the people responsible for your child’s learning. At the beginning of the school year, introduce yourself to your child’s teacher and offer your support. Talk with your child’s teacher about your child’s strengths and any challenges that you have noticed in the past. This information can help the teacher address those needs and provide you with tips on how to help your child at home as well.
Also, be sure to help your child early on with organization and good study habits. Show young students how to pack their backpacks so that materials are easy to find and be sure to label everything with the child’s name so that he/she is able to keep track of his/her materials while at school. Finally, help your child to create a routine for after school time that includes homework, dinner, leisure, hygiene, and rest. Remember that it takes about 6 weeks for a behavior to become a habit, so be consistent and watch as your instruction becomes something that your child eventually takes on as his own.
For high school students, it is not only important to make sure that they are academically prepared for the next step, but that they also have your guidance in deciding what the next step will be and how to get there. Start talking with you high school student about what he/she would like to do for a living and what it will take to reach that goal. For students who want to go to college after high school, pay attention to their strong subject areas, as well as their weaker subject areas to make sure that they line up with the child’s interests. For example, a student who struggles in science might not be the right fit for medical school, but if that student has an interest in the medical field, find out what other options are available that require a manageable amount of science courses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website is a great place to start looking at different career fields and their requirements.
For college bound students, provide opportunities for them to practice their test taking skills to avoid test anxiety and stress over standardized testing. Websites such as www.actstudent.org and www.sat.collegeboard.org are good sources for practice tests and information about the ACT and SAT exams. The Princeton Review is also a good source for classroom and/or online test prep and they offer various options for students all over the country. Some high schools even offer a PSAT prep course, but sometimes space is limited, so watch for information on this program and register early.
By working together with your child’s school officials, helping your child develop good study habits, and providing options to help prepare them for the next steps after college, you can help your child get the most out of his/her education.