The education children receive today will help them throughout their lives. School is the fundamental component of the learning process, but education doesn’t stop when kids arrive back home at the end of the day.
“Education and family go hand in hand,” says Ellen Marks, curriculum director of Bricks 4 Kidz, an award-winning summer camp and after-school program. “Parents who take an active role by supporting classroom learning will not only see their kids’ education blossom, but their relationship with them, too.”
The start of the new year is the ideal time to evaluate what you’re doing right and where you could improve in regards to supporting your child’s education.
Marks offers these smart ideas guaranteed to help:
Connections to real life: One of the best ways to help kids understand classroom lessons is to connect the material to everyday experiences. Practice fractions while cooking. Chat about biology as birds fly by the window. Learning moments are all around, you just have to point them out.
Daily conversations: With a fun, no-pressure approach, go over what your children learned in school. If they don’t want to talk right after school, wait until later. During or after dinner may allow enough transition time so you’ll find they’ll open up more.
Positive attitude: Kids will mirror your attitude toward your work as well as how you view their school, homework and teachers. Stay positive, respectful and model resilience during difficult times; you’ll find they’ll do the same.
Enriching activities: Select fun after-school activities that emphasize cognitive development while building self-esteem. For example, Bricks 4 Kidz uses relatable tools like LEGO Bricks to teach science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. Learn more at www.bricks4kidz.com and sign up for an After School class.
The parent-teacher relationship: Sending check-in emails, attending conferences and volunteering are ways to build strong relationships with teachers. Be proactive about asking where your child excels and what areas they may need additional help.
Homework help: Good study habits are essential to excelling at school. Create a comfortable homework space with adequate supplies and few distractions. What’s more, be an active partner in your child’s homework and assist when needed with gentle guidance and encouragement.
Reading buddies: Reading together can instill a lifelong love of literature. Try reading the same books your child is assigned in school so you can foster a good discussion about characters and storylines. When you both finish the book, rent the film version and plan a movie night.
Active learning opportunities: Reading, writing and solving math problems are passive learning activities. At home, encourage active learning where your child builds models, creates art projects and can ask questions. It’s amazing to watch their minds work and see what they create.
Health and wellness: A child must first be well before they can effectively learn. Make sure kids stay fueled with a variety of healthy foods. Divide each portion into the appropriate Food Guide Pyramid. Next, ensure they get a good night’s sleep. Full, well-rested kids are always ready and eager to learn.