Investing in your child’s education doesn’t always mean starting a college tuition fund or opening a CD in the name of your 10- year-old in hopes it will multiply before they get their college acceptance letter. There are ways other than financial help that may be more beneficial for your child’s education and they will not break your bank account. The following five suggestions may very well give a higher return on your child’s educational investment, especially if they are established early in his education career: First: Homework. There are varying opinions among teachers regarding how much and what type of homework to provide. However, most teachers do agree that when a parent is involved in some way in the completion of a student’s homework, that student has a greater chance of success. Whether or not a child has someone help with their homework each night is a huge indication of whether they will understand the material. The fact is simple: even the best teachers must teach an entire group of students at a time while a parent can work one-on-one with the child. This is a very important factor. Teachers will jump through hoops just to arrange a few minutes a day to teach a smaller group of students. Student learning increases dramatically when teachers have a smaller number of students, therefore, the more one on one time that you have with your child at home, the more your child will learn. Every minute you can take to read or practice or review with them one-on-one will do wonders for their education. Second: Respecting and Supporting your child’s teacher. When I was growing up parents and teachers were on the same page. Somehow this has changed where the student and the parents are often opposing the teacher. This has horrible repercussions for the child’s ability to learn. Working together always works better than working individually. If a parent slips a word of disrespect or disapproval at the dinner table the night before, a student is far more likely to discredit much of what the teacher says the following day. By openly showing that you don’t support the teacher’s decisions you are teaching your child that it is fine for them to do the same thing in the classroom. If a student does not respect his or her teacher learning becomes far more difficult. Third: Use technology wisely. Technology plays an increasingly important role in education today. However, it can also be a huge distraction. Set priorities and rules for technology in your home. This may seem like common sense but common sense is not always so commonly realized, and technology is having a negative effect on the education of many students. For example, spending hours and hours on a gaming system before starting homework late at night makes homework much less effective. Children are less engaged in homework and the completion of it becomes a battle with parents as opposed to a learning routine that is established early in the evening. On the positive side, teach your child how to use technology to enrich and improve their learning by using online resources and materials. Fourth: Get involved in the classroom. This tip is mostly directed towards parents of elementary-aged children. Many teachers appreciate parent volunteers. Time spent in your child’s classroom is invaluable! It will help you better understand the events and situations that occur in your child’s classroom and life. It will help you understand different procedures and systems in the environment where they spend most of their day so that you can better help them with any problems that arise socially or academically. It also helps show your child that you value their learning and take time when you can to support them and their teacher. Fifth: Communicate with the teacher. This is an under-utilized tool in education. Parents and teachers are both working for the same goal to help the same child learn. Communication is essential! Teachers could use your advice about how to help your child when they are struggling with something going on at home. Similarly, parents could use teachers to help when students are struggling academically. When parents and teachers work as a team the child can feel the network of support around him or her and both adults’ workloads are lightened. When you communicate a teacher knows you are involved and appreciate and respect the work they do for your child. They will include you with more information when they know you are interested in. Communication is essential for parents and teachers to work as a team to help the child succeed. If you can establish these five basic principles in your child’s experience early, then their chances of higher education will increase significantly before they even start thinking of college. No matter how large a child’s college fund maybe, if they do not have a foundation of respect and value for education, it will be much harder for them to succeed. Emily Perkes is a Mother to three young children, First Grade Teacher, and enjoys helping her husband run their outdoor store from their home.
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