There seems to have always been an issue between Children learning at School and then at Home with homework; finding the balance between a regular, routine, learning environment and allowing children to just be, let’s face it, children.
I have read many articles and blog posts regarding this topic and as both a trained teacher and a parent I could happily argue the pros and cons to each side.
The above debate is such an important one but I think both sides can be true; young people do live in two worlds, both Home and School, but they also learn in them too. We, as Parents, don’t instantly stop teaching them lessons about life and its surroundings the moment they start school.
The way the two connect and communicate can make a massive difference to how they learn to manage and process in both places.
When my eldest had difficulties at school, with both engaging in work and social aspects, his Mum and I realised that we needed to do something to help him out. We decided that Home Education was the best way forward; the decision to home educate, however, is a personal choice but it has opened my eyes to certain aspects of education as a Parent and as a Teacher.
The biggest realisation being the importance of engaging in your child’s learning.
As a parent, one of the biggest jobs is to support your children’s education and make sure it’s the best it can be. It is, I believe, important, more than ever, to help them achieve their potential; your involvement in your child’s learning will make an impact.
So how can we engage and support them?
One of the biggest ways you can engage and support them is to read with them; read out loud with your child and listen to them reading any book they have brought home. Most children love bedtime stories but it also doesn’t have to just be books; allow their personal interests to come through too: Comics, Magazines or even just signs and objects. Make reading an everyday activity not a ‘boring school chore’ and the engagement to read ‘Schooled’ books will come too.
Praise and Positive reinforcement
We are, as a species, incredibly vain! We all seek praise for something we have done and children are the same; I am sure we all praise our children when they have brought home their latest award or when they tell you they have won the Star Chart. There are other ways though: if they have done especially well with formulated writing, for example, then present it somewhere that everyone can see. Post work or awards on the wall or refrigerator, or send it to family members and friends; when focusing praise on particular aspects it can be more effective than general praise.
Talk about what they are learning
It is important to maintain your focus on their schoolwork, keep an eye on what the class topics for the term are. If they’re learning it at school it gives you an understanding of what they’re doing and from that you can plan days out, do a self-planned family project; all of which builds upon your child’s school understanding and will make them engage more at school.
Teachers are humans too
Teachers are not scary and they want the same for your child as you do; to help every child, individually, to enjoy and learn. Having a good relationship with your child’s teacher can create an important link between home and school. Learn about some of the different ways to help out with lessons or homework or, if necessary, to simply share your views and concerns.
Another option for becoming more involved in your child’s education is to join the school’s P.T.A (Parent Teacher Association) This will give you a better understanding of how the school works and gives you the chance to get to know other parents and teachers. Your involvement and participation in events and activities will show your child that you care about their school life.
A Calm Environment
We know the stress of coming home from work after a long day and the moment that we get in we’re hit with 101 questions or activities to do. If you are like me there are moments when you would prefer to actually sit down and enjoy a cuppa first; children are exactly the same. When a child comes home from school, they may be tired so try not to fire too many questions the moment they get in. Be available to listen, engage and support them but at a pace that isn’t intense and strict.
Ultimately we know that Parents, Families and Carers are some of the most important influences on a child’s education. When you are positively engaged in your child’s education, your attitudes, values and behaviours can positively influence your child’s education outcomes.
Do you have any suggestions on engaging and supporting your child’s education? Would love to hear them!