As a parent, you are your child’s first and most important teacher. When parents and families are involved in their children’s schools, the children do better and have better feelings about going to school. In fact, many studies show that what the family does is more important to a child’s school success than how much money the family makes or how much education the parents have. There are many ways that parents can support their children’s learning at home and throughout the school year. Here are some ideas to get you started!
DEVELOP A PARTNERSHIP WITH YOUR CHILD’S TEACHERS AND SCHOOL STAFF
- Meet your child’s teachers. As soon as the school year starts, try to find a way to meet your child’s teachers. Let the teachers know you want to help your child learn. Make it clear that you want the teachers to contact you if any problems develop with your child. If you feel uncomfortable speaking English, don’t let a language barrier stop you. What you have to say is more important than the language you say it in! Ask the school to find someone who can interpret for you. There may be a teacher or parent liaison who can help or you can bring a bilingual friend or relative with you.
- Get to know who’s who at the school. There are many people at your child’s school who are there to help your child learn, grow socially and emotionally and navigate the school environment.
- Attend parent-teacher meetings and keep in touch with your child’s teachers. You can bring a friend to interpret for you or ask the school to provide an interpreter. You can also ask to meet with your child’s teachers any time during the year. If you have a concern and can’t meet face-to-face, send the teacher a short note or set up a time to talk on the phone.
SUPPORT YOUR CHILD ACADEMICALLY
- Find out how your child is doing. Ask the teachers how well your child is doing in class compared to other students. If your child is not keeping up, especially when it comes to reading, ask what you or the school can do to help. It’s important to act early before your child gets too far behind. Also be sure to review your child’s report each time it comes out.
- Apply for special services if you think your child may need it. If your child is having problems with learning, then an early discussion with the school.
- Make sure that your child gets homework done. Let your child know that you think education is important and that homework needs to be done each day. You can help your child with homework by setting aside a special place to study, establishing a regular time for homework, and removing distractions such as the television and social phone calls during homework time. If you are reluctant to help your child with homework because you feel that you don’t know the subject well enough or because you don’t speak or read English, you can help by showing that you are interested, helping your child get organized, providing the necessary materials, asking your child about daily assignments, monitoring work to make sure that it is completed, and praising all of your child’s efforts. Remember that doing your child’s homework for him won’t help him in the long run.
- Find homework help for your child if needed. If it is difficult for you to help your child with homework or school projects, see if you can find someone else who can help. Contact the school, tutoring groups, after school programmes and libraries or see if an older student, neighbour or friend can help.
- Help your child prepare for tests. Tests play an important role in determining a student’s progress and they are a good way of preparing students for the formal, external exams that take place in Year 11. There are a number of ways you can support your child’s learning habits on a daily basis that will help her be more prepared when it’s time to be tested, e.g. drawing up a revision timetable, trying out a number of different revision methods.