With school back in full force, is your child struggling or thriving in their studies? Is it a chore to get your child out the door each morning? Or to prod them to do their homework? Do the years until college graduation seem like it will be an uphill climb?
It can be a challenge to keep students interested and advancing in their studies, even with high ability learners. So how can parents aid teachers and school staff in encouraging their children to enjoy their studies? Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Know what’s scheduled when.
Knowing what is on your child’s class schedule and curricula for the quarter is a good first step. Where to find this out? School websites are a source of information on upcoming events and classes. You can also email school admin to learn more.
When you are aware of what your child is learning throughout the week, you can find ways to highlight their studies at home. And provide help as needed, as well as additional material that could be the key to sparking an interest in your child. Teachers do not know your child as well as you do. Use your insight into your child to find ways to connect what they are learning to what they also enjoy.
- Verbalize your interest in their studies.
It is not enough to know what they are studying. You also need to vocalize your interest. Don’t make it into an interview. They might feel on the spot and clam up. Particularly if you take to critiquing their studies or what they have learned. Getting your kid to open up to you enough so that it becomes more of a dialogue, instead of a one-way grilling, can be difficult.
Look for times when you are both engaged in an activity together. Playing games together, sharing a meal, going somewhere in the car are all prime times for discussion and encouragement.
- Make learning a family goal.
To encourage a lifelong love of learning, show your child that you are still learning, too. Find ways to showcase how each member of the family is learning and advancing in their own fields. Establish a tradition of sharing progress and new facts learned daily at the dinner table.
Respect what your child has learned by not automatically commenting or critiquing how a teacher portrayed the lesson. Make this sharing time one where your child can receive praise and can feel your interest. Not just interest in how well your child is doing, but also in the subject being taught.
- Set your child up for success with study skills.
Adults are prone to overwhelm. But kids, too, can feel under pressure when tests loom. Giving your child a strong set of study skills enables him to face that end-of-unit test with a boost in confidence and motivation.
What do study skills look like? The California Teacher Association suggests the following points:
- Have goals that are based on homework assignments.
- Help your child hone in on how what they are learning can help them in their daily life.
- Teach your child to think about what is being presented from different angles.
- Have your children ask you questions about the topic. The ability to ask questions can pinpoint to your child holes in his knowledge.
- Let your child summarize what is being taught. Or say it in their own words.
- Celebrate study victories.
Whenever a milestone is achieved, make it into a big deal. Celebrate year-ends, good grades, and effort put forth. Do this for each member of your family, and even do this for yourself. Did you or your partner get certified in an area that will help your career advance? Celebrate! Did little sister go through her first reader without stumbling once? Celebrate!
Show that learning and mastering new knowledge is worthy of celebration. Here are some ideas that are great to pull out when your kid hits an academic milestone.
- Eat out at your child’s favorite restaurant.
- Go on a family outing all together.
- Establish a new dessert tradition of baking a favorite treat to celebrate a study goal.
- Put a certain dollar amount in a “bank” that goes toward a large purchase for a coveted item.
- Give your child a special privilege or responsibility.
These are some ways that you can encourage in your child a love of learning that will continue throughout his lifetime.