Updated: Jun 6, 2019
You want your child to succeed in school, but you don't know how and the thought of figuring it out is daunting. I was an Elementary Art Teacher for five years. I taught around 750 students grades K-8 in a Title 1 school. I loved and hated teaching- I will save that for another day, but today I would like to share with you ways that you can be more involved in your child's education.
Our education system is in crisis, and you can help turn this ship around by getting more involved.
Tip #1 Get to Know Your Child's Teacher(s), Coaches, Principals, Etc.
During the school year, your child spends more time with their teacher and coaches than they do with you during their waking hours. (Check out the 2017 U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics that breaks down the total time and activities a parent spends a day with their child.) It's important to know who these people are and how you can work together for the success of your child. Talk with your child's teacher directly within the first few weeks of school, a great time to do this is at Meet the Teacher Night. Once you have had this initial meeting figure out a way to best communicate with any concerns you may have. Remember that your child's teacher likely has 25+ other students who also have parents that need time. Finding a quick and effective way to communicate with one another is key!
Tip #2 Stay Involved in School Activities/ Homework
A great way to help your child out is to stay involved. Ask him/her what they are learning and pay attention to what is brought home each day. You might not be able to do this every day but check in at least twice a week. Sit with them for a little bit while they work on homework and encourage them to explain to you what it is they are completing. The way children are tested and graded is changing. It is becoming increasingly common for students to justify their answer. Engaging in a conversation and asking your child to think about what it is they are doing/ learning in school will help build this necessary skill. If your child says I don't know or nothing come up with a reward system that will help encourage them to be more active with the learning through out the day. This reward system doesn't have to be candy or electronic time. You could do something out-of-the-box like mommy and son/ daughter date night!
Tip #3 Be Proactive & Teach Your Child Positive Coping Skills
Social and emotional skills are NOT a major part of the core school curriculum, and growing up is difficult. Learning how to navigate the social dynamics in school is an integral part of your child's development which is why they need help from every adult in their life. Teachers often incorporate social and emotional learning into the classroom rules, but with the high demands teachers a put under these days it is difficult to find a time to dedicate to social and emotional learning specifically. Not to mention that when the time does come it is so infrequently addressed that many students are unable to practice important social and emotional skills on a daily basis.
Social and emotional learning also needs to be put in context of social media. Social media is the number one way your child is interacting these days. It is imperative that you stress to them the importance of online safety and online manners. In the last two years of my teaching career I witnessed first hand the extremely destructive bullying that takes place on social media. It's far crueler than when we were kids. Check out this extensive resource published in October 2017 on statistics & effects of cyberbullying and tips for parents.
Here are some other great resources you can use to help you integrate social and emotional learning into your daily routines.
Why Even Adults Need Social and Emotional Learning
A Parents Guide to Social and Emotional Learning Social and Emotional Learning for Teens Incorporating these 3 tips into your life is just the beginning steps for getting more involved in your child's education. With your help and the help of other parents like you, we can start to influence the negative school culture and shift it toward a more positive one. I hope you found this helpful. Drop a comment below and let me know what you think about these suggestions or if you have your own let's hear them!
Do you love taking those first day of school pictures? You see everyone else posting cute photos with their kids holding signs but don't know how to make your own?
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