Parental Involvement in Learning
It is important for children to know that their parents are interested in their learning.
In this article I share with you a few action points and ideas parents can start implementing to support their children’s learning.
Asking questions, such as “How did the science test go today? ” or “Can I help you study?” are great ways to show that what they do during school hours matters to you. Even if they refuse your help, the fact that you asked speaks volumes to your child.
Sometimes the way you word the questions will get different responses and amounts of information. If you ask, “How was your day?” the response will probably be “Fine.”. But if you ask, “What did you learn in history today?” it may get you a little more information.
Create the Space
Providing a space for your kids to do their homework is another important role you have. The space should be quiet, clutter-free, away from distractions like the TV, functional and comfortable. Some children prefer to have music playing and others need it completely quiet. Cell phones are extremely distracting and should usually be placed in another room to avoid interruptions in study time because of text messages, social media communication, etc.
Help with Organization
Many students struggle with the organization of materials. Parents can help by working with their child to set up a system that will be functional. A key point with creating this system and process is helping your child get the supplies necessary to keep organized. For some time, your child may need you to check to see that their materials are staying organized. As they prove that they are responsible, you as the parents, should gradually lessen the frequency of these checks.
Don’t Overtake Projects
Some classes and teachers may do more project-based learning. These are student projects, not parent projects; however it is a good opportunity to be involved. Asking questions about the project and helping to gather supplies are easy ways to help. You can also volunteer to transport or host your child and their group when they need extra work time outside of school. It’s important to encourage them throughout the process, and give input for improvements without taking over the project. Doing the project for them robs them of the learning process and is essentially cheating.
Talk About Cheating
Parents can help prevent cheating by treating it as a serious offense. Consequeneces at home to back up those consequences at school are helpful to reinforce the severity of cheating. While it may seem like a small offense at the time, it only leads to more and more dishonesty. This tends to become a pattern that does not improve character or learning. Making excuses or covering up for them to avoid the consequences teaches dishonesty, irresponsibility and avoidance… all characteristics that are not worthy of respect by others in their lives.
Support School Policies and Teachers
It’s important for your child to see that you support the school’s policies and discipline by the teachers and staff. If you have a disagreement with a teacher, talk with the teacher about it, not your child. You can help reinforce an attitude of respect for the teachers by modeling that yourself. When the atmosphere is one of respect, learning is fostered instead of hindered.
Emphasize Learning, Not Perfect Grades
Every child has a need to feel loved, no matter what their performance is. If you feel your child has put in the time and effort and still comes out of the test with a C, that should be accepted. Talk about what was easy/hard about the test or assignment and begin to brainstorm ways to make changes for the next time. It’s important to emphasize that perfect grades are not the goal; learning is.
In conclusion, while all of these things could be in place for the perfect study space, this does not mean that homework will be a pleasant, successful experience for your child. If they need help from the teacher to understand a lesson, help them advocate for themselves to seek the help. Offer to arrange a time with the teacher to meet after or before school, during breaks, etc. If your child is older, encourage them to set up these times, but be sure to follow up to see that this is being done.
This article was written by Reading Therapy Center Instructor Christy Groen.
If a learning disability is hindering better performance, seek help. The Reading Therapy Center is a resource to help overcome these hurdles and change the way your child processes information to increase his or her ability to learn, retain information, express ideas and earn grades that reflect their true ability. Call us at 320-214-7011 for an evaluation to see if your child needs specific therapy as an intervention.