Most parents will tell you emphatically they want their child to excel in school and be successful in life. This is certainly what I want for my son. An important thing for all of us to remember is that education starts at home and should not be confined to Monday through Friday, September through June.
Laws such as No Child Left Behind and Standardized Testing requirements, have caused curriculum to become overly structured and even rigid to an extent. As a result testing has become the biggest measure of student progress. This form of education focuses almost exclusively on academics and may not be enough to cultivate a young mind. Additionally, it is not a complete indication of students overall ability to perform.
That being said, I encourage parents to focus on your child’s education outside the classroom, especially if your child struggles in school. Make sure your child understands they can achieve whatever they put their minds to so that they are not discouraged by academic struggles. Likewise if your child does well in school, encourage them to look beyond their current academic success. In all cases it is imperative for students to understand they have to make it through school before they are able to move to the next level.
Things parents can do outside of the classroom to help educate your child:
• Encourage your child to share what they like and do not like about school. Use this information to try and make things more manageable for them.
• Review homework regularly to determine what areas your child struggles with. Consider hiring a tutor or provide extra help with these subjects.
. Encourage your child to read everything they can related to things they like to do. Take them to the library to check out books, used book sales or to local bookstores.
. Get your child involved in a variety of activities to help them determine what their talents, skills and interests are. Sparking a young person’s interest can make a huge difference in their attitude toward learning.
• Expose your child to professionals that work in their areas of interest.
• Encourage your child to watch educational material; movies based on true stories and informative documentaries.
• Play educational games at home, family games or video games for them to play alone. There are a ton of educational games online and many are free.