Be A Proactive Parent: Children with proactive parents are more likely to excel academically. So what does it mean to be a proactive parent? Well, you are either a proactive or reactive parent. Taking a proactive approach to your child’s education means that you are not waiting until the report card conference to find out how your child is doing. You are actively involved throughout the school year, and you are actively inquiring about your child’s performance in the classroom.
Have you ever experienced a situation when there was a problem at your child’s school and you asked “Why am I just hearing about this?” or “Why didn’t I know this was going on?” If so, then you were reactive in that moment. I’m sure once the issue was brought to your attention, you reacted immediately to resolve the problem. However, by the time you heard about the situation it may have escalated into a major issue.
You don’t want to wait until the report card conference to check up on your child’s performance because the report card conferences are often 3 to 4 months into the school year. So if your child is having some type of problem in school, you definitely don’t want to wait 3 to 4 months to hear about it. It’s best to nip it in the bud as soon as the problem begins.
So how do you become a proactive parent, especially if you have a busy work schedule? Well, simply sending an e-mail to your child’s teacher is a great way to stay in the loop. If the teacher does not send home weekly or bi-weekly reports, I suggest sending an e-mail to your child’s teacher every other week to inquire about your child’s academic performance. You also want to inquire about any behavioral or social concerns.
Create A Goal Plan With Your Child: Let’s say that you are about to take a road trip, but you don’t have a destination in mind. Without a destination who knows where you’ll end up. The same concept applies to academic success. If your child doesn’t have a goal to work towards, who knows what grades your child will receive? This is why I suggest sitting down with your child at the beginning of the school year to discuss goals. Speak with your child about the subjects he/she is taking and ask your child what grades he/she would like to receive in each subject.
So let’s get back to the road trip. Now you have a destination in mind. If you’ve never been there before, how will you know how to reach your destination? Maybe you can use a GPS. So what does the GPS do? It gives you step by step instructions on how to reach your destination. If you want to see your child reach his/her goals you will need to sit down with your child and discuss step by step instructions on how to reach those goals; such as determining how many hours your child needs to study for each subject per week. Anyone can set goals, but not everyone will reach their goals. The ones who reach their goals are the ones who implement the GPS concept and outline the steps needed to reach their destination (goals).
Identify Your Child’s Learning Style: So what is your child learning style? Not all children learn the same way, so knowing your child’s learning style will enable you to help your child excel academically by implementing strategies to support your child’s learning style. There are a variety of learning styles that can be condensed into 3 basic categories: 1) Visual 2) Auditory 3) Kinesthetic. I encourage you to discuss the 3 learning styles with your child to determine what learning style suits your child best.
Visual learners comprehend and retain information by seeing it. Visual learners remember information by capturing words and pictures in their minds. If your child is a visual learner, you can support your child by getting flash cards, purchasing educational DVD’s, getting highlighters for your child to color code his/her notes, etc.
Auditory learners comprehend and retain information by hearing it. If your child is an auditory learner, you can support him/her by purchasing an audio recorder. Your child can read class notes into the audio recorder and play it back as a study technique. If your child is not too old (or thinks he/she is too cool for this) you can even create songs to help your child remember the information.
Kinesthetic learners are “hands on”. If your child is a kinesthetic learner he/she comprehends and retains information when engaged in physical activity such as science lab. At home you can support your kinesthetic learner by creating teachable moments through every day activities. For example, you can teach your child about measurements while cooking. Supporting your kinesthetic learner will require some creativity.
For more great tips to help your child have a successful school year, visit: www.BFG-youth.com/school
By: Tamara Shirer