With middle school looming in my fifth grader’s near future I’ve been researching education settings like it’s my job. Middle schools on Maui are known as ‘black holes’ because students leave eighth grade with the same knowledge they had entering sixth. I’ve spent months worrying about how to ensure my son’s education evolution in a poor academic environment. In the end, I’ve concluded that the home has just as big as an effect on education as the school.
Basically, you can enroll your child in the highest ranked school and they can fail, or you can admit them to the lowest school and they can thrive. Ultimately, academic achievement is a result of many factors including the effort and efficiency of the student, the learning provided by the teacher, and the home environment. Yes, you can contribute to your child’s school success from within the walls of your own home.
How To Encourage School Success at Home
1. Encourage Education:
You can instill a love for learning and a respect for education by the environment you foster in your home. Talk about the value in learning, find out what topics your child is genuinely interested in and provide opportunities for her to explore these topics, and help your child set educational goals. While the topic of interest may not be school-related the learning processes are the same and what she learns at home will translate to the classroom.
2. Get Interested:
Ask your child about what topics he is covering in social studies, what processes she is learning in algebra, what book he checked out at the library, or what she is exploring on google. When you show interest in learning it makes learning more interesting.
3. Show Up
Support your child in his academic process by attending events when you are given the opportunity. Come to the school plays, debates, science fairs, and assemblies whenever parents are invited.
4. Offer School Support
Make schooling a priority by setting aside time for you child to complete their school work while encouraging good school habits. In our home, school comes first. Sports are a close second. But if his education isn’t as expected-if they have incomplete work, if he is misbehaving, if his punctuality isn’t on par, he misses out on sports until his school success is back in place.
5. Provide The Tools
Make reading a regular part of home life by giving your child access to all the appropriate and interesting reading materials you can. Once you’ve discovered his reading level and interests you can make reading easily accessible by providing books, magazines, and even digital resources that will keep him reading away from the classroom. I’m a bit of a neat freak and I’m always decluttering and re-organizing. The one thing I don’t touch are my sons’ books. They are allowed to have as many books as they like and if they leave them strewn around the house that’s just fine. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught bored little boys picking up a random book and reading just because the book was the closest form of entertainment.
6. Limit Screen
Computers, tablets, and TV’s have their place in your academic’s life, but make sure they aren’t consuming too much time. A good rule is to limit screen time to less than one hour on weekdays and two hours on the weekends.
7. Be A Good Example
Set an academic example by allowing your child to see you put your education in action. Let your child catch you reading books and newspapers, writing letters and lists, measuring, calculating, and problem solving. These regular tasks can become moments to show your child how education is important. Involve your child in your work when possible. If you are doubling the chocolate chip cookie recipe talk through the multiplication process. Or when you are measuring the distances between your tomato plants let your child work the ruler.
Praise is the most convenient, most affordable, and most effective form of reward. Let your child know you are proud of their academic efforts and improvements. A few words can go a long way and leave a lasting impression. Help your child feel good about their school success and they’ll be motivated to continue.
Your student is putting effort in to her education. Help her out by following these simple steps to fostering an academic environment in your home. Your child and her grades will be grateful.
Parents play a vital role in their child’s academic success! Here is a few more ways we can help them have a successful school year: