Teachers are always looking for new and creative ways to get more involvement from the parents of their current students. Often times we think of involvement as simply participation or support around field trips, class parties, or looking through their notebook or folder and checking their homework for completion. If you are like me and have at least one child in elementary school, then you already know that tests are occurring much earlier in education than they did when you and I were little ones. Just like potty training and table manners, study skills are also learned through trial and error and with the assistance of someone at home! What has changed much over the years is the type of involvement a parent can have in this department. I recall my parents encouraging me to write my spelling words over and over again and then they would quiz me on them prior to the spelling test at the end of the week. I remember reading stories to my mom on the way to school and then having her ask me questions about the story to check my comprehension on the day of a reading test. Thankfully for me, my parents wanted me to be intrinsically motivated to study and succeed on exams all the way through school and they set the stage for good study skills early.
We all know that children have short attention spans and are easily distracted, so it’s no surprise that having the TV on is not recommended, but what about the computer? In this digital age when there are increasing barriers between children and parent we must be more creative in our attempts to relate to our children (regardless of age) and support their educational success. Many parents find that their time is limited in the evenings, in which case the tried and true methods of quiz time on the way to school is an obvious choice. For those with internet access in the home, I suggest exploring some of the many websites that are out there now for reinforcing content your child is currently trying to master. Instead of just playing online games, search out the educational ones and join in on the fun. Look for tips to ensure your child’s success at links like this one from the U.S. Department of Education http://1.usa.gov/h6Epif
If you are a teacher, having useful links on your personal website through the school district is a must these days. If you are a parent and haven’t viewed these yet, check them out. And if you don’t see recommendations from your child’s teacher-contact them and ask for suggestions! Ask not, have not, and we only have one chance to be involved in our children’s education and the early years are critical for study skills. Remember that attitude is everything and homework and studying are not punishments-they are ways of bettering ourselves! Let technology facilitate and create a more engaged learner in the process.
Please share any great sites that you use as a parent or teacher to help families study together and increase student achievement!