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Friday, April 30, 2010

helping your kids education 5 tips by cubicle chick

Cubicle Chick wrote an article "5 tips to help you stay active in your child's education" where she states the responsibility of being involved in your kids education should not fully lay upon the schools or teachers, to which I totally agree.  We often forget though how hard it is for our children, being bombarded by all the things they have to remember, rules to follow,  homework to complete, worries they have, struggles they go through and so forth.

Cubicle Chick's Tips include:

Communicating with your child's teacher
Getting Involved as a Parent with the Schools
Being a friend of the principal - Principal Pals
Understanding the curriculum your kids are being taught
Having fun with your child through learning

Each of these tips are totally excellent.  However, what should a parent do if one or more of these tips fail, such as in our case with Gamer.  Here in BC our school system has gone so down hill, along with the learning curve for our kids.

Gamer was taught how to print in grade three.  His printing is messy.  His teacher marks him down because of this, yet they did not spend enough time with him teaching him how to print better.  When I went to school we did printing each day to practice penmanship from grade four on.  But his teacher tells me they need to print so they can copy their work onto a computer which she then marks.  Yet she gets angry because his printing work is messy.

Solution for parent:  We sit down and I downloaded printing sheets for Gamer to practice on from here.  Now he can practice his penmanship and hopefully improve his grades for having neater work.

Communication can also be difficult especially if you hear one thing and then discover another.  For example: Gamer's teacher always says he's doing well, but on his report cards states his lack of focus in class.  Gamer and his fellow students have difficulty focusing because they are constantly allowed to talk instead of doing their work, unlike when I went to school and we had to sit quietly at our desks in a row.  Now the kids sit together and yet the teachers expect them not to talk.  It makes no sense to me.

The power of email:  When you have a hard time getting in to see the teacher and cannot communicate constructively with them.  Ask them for their email so you both can keep up to date on how your child is doing.  Keeping open forms of communication whether through email or letter writing can go a long way to see how your child's progress is improving.

Homework Battles and missed Assignments:

This is one many of us deal with daily.  In all honesty I cannot say I blame kids for whining about it.  They go to school all day and seriously who wants to do more than three hours of homework per night after doing that?

Several School here in BC use a computer sign in process with student id's to make it easier for parents to see what project or lessons their children have to hand in, missed homework and late assignments.  If your school doesn't have one, you can suggest the idea.

Other way to help with homework are to organize and help your kids do the same.  Use of spreadsheets through or calendars online.  For Gamer he uses his organizer in his cell phone which syncs to our home computer.  He inputs his assignments and they go directly to my email to help us stay on top of what he has due.

Having fun is important where education is concerned.  So have fun with your kids.  Take breaks and go for a walk or play a little hockey outside in between studying, this helps to clear the brain.  If your kids are working on a novel, like Lion Witch and Wardrobe... it's been years for you but read the book in your spare time so when they are working on chapters you can aid them and have talks about it together.  It's definitely more fun if as parents we are involved and know what our kids are learning.

No matter what you do - staying on top of your child's education is important.  Create study dates, rewards for completing tasks, have stickers on hand (if your kids are thirteen or younger) all kids love stickers, and constantly tell your child how well they are doing.  It's one thing to hear it from their teachers, another from their parents.

Talk to your kids.  Often kids can be distracted easily as they grow, their bodies change, feelings emerge for the opposite sex, bullying takes place, teasing and so forth.  And kids are always listening, they take on adult responsibility long before they should, our problems of finances and marital troubles and so forth.  Keeping an open line of communication and finding out how they are feeling can go a long way to their success in school.



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