It’s that time when the yellow school bus pulls up and students fill classrooms in eager anticipation for a fantastic school year. Teachers work long and hard to make education meaningful and enriching. But how can you as a parent help? I have three simple ways that are guaranteed to make this year one of the BEST ever for both you AND your child.
First: GET INVOLVED!
Do as much as you can to be involved at school. Teachers LOVE it when parents participate and are involved in school. Ask how you can help - whether it be volunteering in the classroom (one hour, one day, weekly….teachers are flexible!), attend ASL classes, chaperone a Field Trip, OR volunteer at the school in another way. PTAs need parent participation! Show up to decorate for that Theater Performance, help with the Chocolate Sales, ask to be a parent contact and be the link between the teacher and other parents. We NEED the help!
Second: SET GOALS!
Communicate with your child and be clear as to what you expect from them both at school as well as at home. Set goals for them both at school as well as at home. A child needs to know what you need to see from them. At home, if you ask that they begin their homework right when they get home, set up a table or desk that is free from distractions (video games/ TV), has the Homework Box (more on that later), and then monitor them while they do their work. If they are struggling, try to explain it the best you can, but PLEASE do not do their work for them! Teachers use homework for review and practice of skills covered in class. If your child can not do the work, simply write a note to the teacher explaining that your child tried and needs more support at school. Once their homework is completed, let them do a preferred activity (games, play outside, etc.) as a reward. Be consistent! If a child knows that they will ONLY get to play outside after their work is done, they will be more motivated to get their work done! For younger children, setting up a sticker chart might be more of a visual way to encourage reluctant homework do-ers. Set a goal that when the child gets a certain number of stickers, they will be able to do a special activity (or get a special reward) from you. For example, with my daughter, when she does her work and earns 10 stickers, she gets a trip to her favorite park and a picnic.
Third: THINK AHEAD!
As a busy mom, the LAST thing I want to do when I get home is search the house for a glue stick or scissors for homework assignments. My sanity-saving solution for this has been to create a Homework Box. We took a photo storage box (bought at a local Art Supply store or you could even use a shoe box), filled the box with ONLY the things we use on a daily basis to complete homework. Ours has pencils, eraser, glue and glue sticks, crayons, highlighter, stapler, tape, and flashcards for review and practice. Yours may have calculators, rulers, or other needed materials! Our rule is that this box is ONLY used for homework and is not to be used for anything else (with the hope that things won’t get lost). When we start homework, we grab the box and go to work, and I sigh a breath of relief knowing that work will be done without interruption.
I hope these three ideas will help YOU and your child have a FANTASTIC school year!