Saturday, August 24, 2013

PARENTS: Tips for a Successful School Year!

The other day as I was listening to the Tom Joyner Show, Jeff Johnson came on and shared, "Be a Role Model: 4 Back to School Steps for Parents".

Somewhere along the way, we have given parents a free pass. Somewhere along the way, many, not all, of our parents have fallen off the triangle. Some have dropped out of being involved in their child's education. Many teachers go out of their way to engage our parents. Unfortunately, very few take advantage of what is offered.

Jeff made a note that it's not that some parents don't want to help, they just don't know HOW. I found this thought interesting. So, I took the word PARENTS , combined my thoughts and Jeff's, and came up with these tips.

Participate: You do not have to volunteer in the school every day in order to be a participant in your child's education. Attend an assembly, a class presentation, volunteer to read, or chaperone a field trip. Participate virtually. Read the notes your child brings home, help with homework and/or projects, write on their blog, call or email the teacher. Do something that lets your child know that you are an active participant in their education.

Advocate:  You know your child better than anyone else. Advocate for them. Get to know their teacher from Day One. Attend Open House and find out what, and how, they will be learning, Make sure you are aware of important dates. If something is wrong, talk to the teacher first. If it's not fixed, take the next step. Be there to make sure your child gets the education they deserve.

Read: Read to your child. Read with your child. Have your child read to you.Find books they enjoy. If you can't afford to purchase books, go to the public library, or make sure your child takes advantage of the school library.Allow them to read what is interesting to them, picture books,comic books, newspapers, graphic novels. If you have Internet access, read books online.Ask them questions about what they are reading.

Encourage them. Make them understand that you believe in them. I know that I had to stop myself from continuously focusing on where my children were struggling. It's easy to get lost in that. Let them understand that you are behind them 100%. Encourage them to do what's right, resist peer pressure, work hard, and not give up.

Notify the teacher if circumstances change. Many times we don't want people to "know our business." But your child is our business, and when there are major changes in their life, it's best if we know. Maybe we can't help with your problem, but we can make necessary changes in the classroom. The parents in my class always notified me when there was a death in the family, divorce, etc... because their children were affected by these events.

Turn off the television and video games. Talk to your child. Ask them about school, and don't let them get away with saying, "nothing." Talk about your time in school. Talk about your job. Have a meal together, if it's possible. I found out a lot of what was going on in my children's life just by sitting together at the table, and talking.

Sacrifice. Sometimes you have to give up something to get what you want. In this case, we want our children to get the best education they can.  It could be something as simple as a sacrifice of time, but that sacrifice could make a huge difference in a child's life.

I created a poster of these tips to hand out to my parents at Open House, hopefully, it will help.