Parent guidance for helping children succeed in school-elementary to college
The link (above) has a good list of ideas for developing effective study habits.
For young children: First and foremost, if you want your child to do well in school, a value on education must be demonstrated in the home. First, do you have it? Sometimes, as adults, we may find, with some honest self-examination, that we actually have mixed feelings about education. What were your experiences in school? If you discover lingering disappointments or resentments, you'll be more effective in supporting your child at school (and do yourself a favor) if you work through those old wounds.
Once you have the foundation of a clear and un-psychologically muddied value on education, it will probably come pretty naturally to support your child's situation. However, some specific examples are:
~ Read to your kids, regularly.
~Sit with your child while she does her homework or studies. You can just sit quietly (yes, this takes patience!) and watch or do a sedentary activity of your own. The point is, you are available and you are showing that the schoolwork is important by taking the time to be there.
~Notice what your child is doing, know what his class is working on but don't do the work for him. Be a supportive, encouraging , trusting presence while he struggles through it himself.
~Make sure your child goes to school well-nourished and well-rested.
~Keep the school attendance and homework as the child's first responsibility and do not let other events interfere.
~Involve yourself with the school to the degree that you are able. At least, attend evening events held for parents and be sure to communicate with your child's teacher. Make sure that your child's teacher knows that this kid has a concerned, observing parent.
~Assist your child, if needed, to develop friendships with children whose families will also be conveying a value on doing your best at school.
~There are so many small moments that portray your message, just be sure what it (that message) is. If you have ideas in addition to these to share with other parents, please contribute in the comment box.
Teenagers: By high school, the teachers expect the students to manage their time, to be able to plan and to keep track of deadlines. Hopefully, you have, by now, taught your child these things. So, now your job is to continue to show an interest in his/her schoolwork and friends. By age 16, in most places, if you are aiming for a college education for your youth, you will be starting to investigate schools and prepare applications. Most kids will need help with this process. (If you were not able to attend college yourself, you can learn together how to do this, as you go, or, find a friend who did go to college, to assist). Once you have narrowed the college choices to three, it would be wonderful to take your child to visit these campuses if at all possible. If not, visit a local college campus that you can get to easily just to give the child a sense of what a higher education institution is like.
If, for some reason, you are ambivalent about the value of education, here are a few things that are learned in school in addition to "book learning": planning, deferred goal gratification, striving to reach a goal, how to participate in friendly competition, speaking in public with some degree of comfort, how to research the answer to a question, how much there is in the world to learn, to think critically, to function independently, how to work with people when you get along well and when you don't, how to listen, and how to express yourself in writing are some of them.
"Your education is something no one can ever take away from you!" quote from my grandmother, Lady Jane Holman Sutherland