Help me out here: What should parents do to ensure their child’s success in school?

Help me out, folks.

I am speaking at Parents Palooza this weekend about how to ensure your child succeeds in school.  I am assuming most of the parents interested in this topic will have toddlers.

What is your advice? What do think parents need to do — or not do — to help their children do well in school?

I have my own list, but would love to hear from other folks.

Thanks, Maureen

96 comments Add your comment

Concernedmom30329

November 9th, 2012
9:03 am

Read to your children, read with your children, have them read to you.
Speak to your children often — not just when you are angry. Focus on vocabulary development from a young age — the sky is blue, the grass is green, lets count how many cookies,etc
Turn off the TV, computer etc.
memorize the math facts, even if that isn’t the current fad.
Arrange you and your spouse’s lives in such a way that someone is home for the evenings once your child is in school.
Don’t just ask about grades or are you passing, but rather what did you do today or what did you learn today.
Model good behavior at home and out. Respect others so your child will behave as you do. If you are rude, you can expect nothing different from your child…
Worry about raising a good citizen as much as you do a good person.
Make service a part of your family’s routine…
I could go on and on, but will stop with this one
Read.

Looking for the truth

November 9th, 2012
9:10 am

1. Do not believe everything your child tells you. They will do anything to make themselves look innocent. Teachers aren’t always right either, but having a conversation instead of a confrontation will allow for an amicable resolution. Not all teachers are in it for the money. Most actually do love teaching and working with kids.

2. On a related point, remember, the teacher may see a different side of your child than you do. Children who are darlings in church are still capable of misbehaving in class.

3. Set aside a quiet time and place for homework. Many teachers have rethought the whole homework question. If it’s assigned, it may be important.

4. Follow-up regularly with your child’s teachers, and use any technology (Parent Portals, etc.) to check on your child’s grades. While you only have one student in a particular class, that teacher may have beteween 25-40 students to worry about.

5. Attend parent conferences. If you’ve been invited, it’s because there is something important you need to hear. Ask for conferences if you see something that needs addressing. Teachers really do welcome you!

Digger

November 9th, 2012
9:11 am

Stop blaming race and take personal responsibility.

Freedom Education

November 9th, 2012
9:11 am

Parents need to choose the school for their children. Competition will insure the best schools survive and the bad schools close their doors. Parental choice with competition is the key.

Tired

November 9th, 2012
9:12 am

Encourage their interests. If they love to create, then get them art supplies. If they love to be outdoors, take them to the park and the river and talk about plants and birds and fishes. If they love the zoo, learn about animals together.

Looking for the truth

November 9th, 2012
9:12 am

One more point – if you’ve heard the same thing year after year from different teachers, think about what you could do differently. A child’s classroom behavior is directly impacted by your intervention or indifference.

Centrist

November 9th, 2012
9:13 am

The parents you will be speaking to at Parents Palooza are already doing it, and not the ones that need help in learning how to help their children.

Few children are self motivated. Some love to learn, but most need constant encouragement – and some in middle and high school need harsher incentives.

Teaching pre-schoolers (who are ready) how to count, recognize letters, sing the alphabet, love of books is a great start. Hard to do in single parent or two working parent households.

Parent interaction with their children’s school work is extremely important, along with knowing their teachers and possibly getting personally involved with the local PTA. Keeping up with their homework and schedule of tests/ projects until/if they get self motivated is also important. Some students need at least some of this extra parental effort right into college.

My guess is that most parents don’t/won’t do most of these things because it wasn’t done for them, and interferes with their crowded personal and work lives. Those parents will not be at the Palooza.

William Casey

November 9th, 2012
9:14 am

1. It all begins with parents understanding that their children are not clones of themselves. This enables parents to help children find THEIR best way of succeeding.

2. Parents must be willing to understand that their child is unique in very few ways. This enables parents to use the vast collective wisdom of their childrens’ teachers to their childrens’ advantage.

3. Pay attention to what’s going on in your childrens’ lives each and every day. It’s amazing how many parents neglect this fundamental. Ask lots of questions about everything.

4. Allow children to make mistakes… up to a point.

I could go on forever but will quit there for now.

Homeschool Mom

November 9th, 2012
9:21 am

Homeschool them!

M.E.

November 9th, 2012
9:35 am

Both the school administration and parents need to be on the same page that this is a team effort between them and the children to help them succeed. Take kids to conferences and keep them informed when teachers and parents are talking to each other. Pass on compliments to teachers, parents, and kids. Keep the goal in sight, which is a responsible, well-educated child who knows how to work on goals and understands that they are a valuable part of the whole.

indigo

November 9th, 2012
9:35 am

Encourage your children to do as well as possible without browbeating them. Follow their progress closely. Be realistic. If they aren’t college material, steer them into a good trade school or the Military.

If your child is not a star student or star athlete but just plain jane, accept it. Remember, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Nahs dad

November 9th, 2012
9:37 am

Maureen , I recommend that the parents of the toddlers read a book called, “The Price of Privledge.”

The book addresses the current culture of helicopter parenting, and the corresponding damage done to kids as they become teenagers, college students and twenty something’s.

The book is written in a way that arrived upon theses are supported in academic studies with supportable statistical analysis.

A great read – I only wish I had read the book sooner.

Brit

November 9th, 2012
9:39 am

Read to them every day.
Listen to them.
Accept their strengths and weaknesses

Private Citizen

November 9th, 2012
9:44 am

Take them to the old part of Fernbank. :-) The new part is just a for-lease corporate party-pad. The old part has minerals and rocks, and planetarium (projected constellations) and observatory (big outdoor telescope). The place has a lot of structured knowledge although “astrophysics” may not be a popular theme in Atlanta. The glare of the city lights makes the observatory pretty useless, but they still make it work. This https://mcdonaldobservatory.org/visitors/programs/star-parties versus this http://fsc.fernbank.edu/observatory.htm

#1 thing to develop kids: no television. (adjust and limit)(viewer discretion advised) TV is passive, turns the mind to mush, very different from reading and doing, making things. I have noticed that in the U.S., people who watch a lot of tv tend to be very judgemental towards other people.

sloboffthestreet

November 9th, 2012
9:45 am

Everything your child needs to know, be certain you teach them yourself. No one in the public school system will. They do like to take credit for teaching children who already know the answers though. But never assume you have delivered a student to the Highly Qualified that is ready to learn. The learning stops the day you stop teaching them. The teachers, schools, administrators and Boards of Education are simply there for decoration. Nothing more. Enter public education with very low expectations and you will never be disappointed. Tell them that Maureen.

Poor teachers, as if Common Core and performance vs salary wasn’t bad enough now they have Charter Schools to compete with. And they collectively don’t have a clue why all this is happening? It’s so so unfair. Boo Hoo, baby. Boo Hoo!!

Private Citizen

November 9th, 2012
9:48 am

In Los Angeles they have Griffith Park, in Atlanta the planetarium is at Fernbank. The two places are really sister facilities, same concept, public telescope and planetarium. Here’s the Griffith Park scene from the James Dean movie Rebel Without a Cause. http://www.myspace.com/video/elisabeth/rebel-without-a-cause-planetarium-scene/30901047

Old timer

November 9th, 2012
9:49 am

Sit down for dinner most nights. Do not over schedule them.

Pride and Joy

November 9th, 2012
10:04 am

Read to them often with enthusiasm. They need to understand that when you can read you can unlock the joys of a good story.
Read youself. Let them see you enjoying reading.
Go to work promptly. Let them witness you making working and being on time to work be a priority in life. They will translate that to the importance of being on time to school.
Play with them. Get down on the floor and play with whatever they want to play with. Showing them that you care about them will boost their self-esteem and confidence in themselves.

The Dixie Diarist

November 9th, 2012
10:06 am

The one thing parents can teach their kids is manners.

Teachers are there for the undeniable academic pleasures of advanced placement trigonometry, and we teach manners, too, when we can work it in, and we do work it the heck in, but manners are the ultimate domain of parents, and even grandparents.

So when a kid has bad manners, I deal with the kid’s bad manners right then and there, but silently blame the parents for wasting my time, the time of the other kids in class, and their own kid’s time.

http://www.adixiediary.com

Teacher

November 9th, 2012
10:06 am

Reading needs to be part of the family lifestyle. As a teacher, it is obvious which kids come from families where reading is valued.

Private Citizen

November 9th, 2012
10:07 am

errata: the actor hiding under the seats in the Rebel Without a Cause movie scene died in the hills close to the Griffith Park facility. It seems that is real life, this location / area was their refuge. Which brings to mind to concept of “TAZ” “temporary autonomous zone.” Probably every kid has a safe place to call their own, it could be anywhere. In the early “Our Gang” series, the boys had their little shack, the “He-Man Woman Hater’s Club.” There was not too much woman hatin’ going on but the boys could puff up their chests and say things away from mother. Aside from the misogynist language, it’s good example that kids need to be able to do some “plotting and planning.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBIC8JTQMMQ

FBT

November 9th, 2012
10:11 am

Every child should spend an hour a day outside.

catlady

November 9th, 2012
10:14 am

Let your child fail (unless he will die from the failure).

Be interested/a part of in HIS/HER life, appropriately by age. At all times until college, KNOW HIS/HER friends.

Peer-proof your child. Teach them to not grant authority to their friends.

Remember, parenthood is FOREVER. Keep the big picture in mind.

Private Citizen

November 9th, 2012
10:15 am

In the Steinbeck short story book “Pastures of Heaven” the local teacher eccentric has the neighborhood kids in his yard performing Shakespeare plays. One of the kids has bare feet and raggedy clothes. At the schoolhouse the adults get together and give the kid a pair of shoes and some clothes. The dad is so embarrassed that he packs up (with his son) and goes to the big city to be an accountant.

Mom of successfull public shhool graduate

November 9th, 2012
10:26 am

Get a library card – and use it. Don’t worry about what books your child chooses, as long as they are reading.
When your child does not do as well in school as you think they should – ask the teacher what you (and the child) need to do – don’t imply the teacher was wrong.
No TV/Cable during the week, limited TV on weekends.
Ignore pressures for electronic games – even “educational” games – they suck up time, attention, and offer little value. Most video games turn kids into rude monsters who tune everything, and everyone, out.
Encourage outside play.
When grocery shopping with toddlers, discuss what you see (colors, numbers, items, what they taste like). Ask older children to compare prices and keep a running tally of the bill (use estimating techniques).
Developmental toys for toddlers don’t need to be expensive – for example plastic food containers are fun to sort, stack, and fill and empty with sand and water.
Take the kids on hikes, even if they complain. Take time to watch bugs, frogs, tadpoles.
When traveling, stop at every state line welcome center – there are exhibits of local features, brochures and free maps. When traveling by car, let the kids navigate using the map. (Ask the navigator “are we there yet” – and how many more miles/hours to go)
Take vacations to state and national parks, battlefield sites, wildlife areas, historic sites, museums – the cost is much less than visits to theme parks, most have excellent educational displays. Atlanta is unusually rich with everything from the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area to the Capitol Building to the Carter Center to battlefield sites. There is a reason Disney spends so much money on advertising.

Atlanta Mom

November 9th, 2012
10:28 am

Have high expectations for your children, so they can live up to them (because they will live down to your low expectations).
Never bad mouth the child’s teacher, no matter what you think. It’s sort of like parenting, you must present a united front.
And the evening meal together. So important in so many ways. They learn to converse, agreeably disagree and hopefully how to present a cogent argument.

A reader

November 9th, 2012
10:29 am

Be involved in your child’s homework but do not do the homework. In elementary school review with them what homework is required everyday and help them schedule the time to do the homework. Review their homework everyday. Allow older children to manage their own homework load, but ask what subject they have everyday. Offer to help your child study for tests. In general, be involved with your child’s school work.

All children have academic strengths and weaknesses. Encourage their strengths. Work with your child and their teacher to overcome their weaknesses.

All children have non-academic strengths and interests. Encourage those interests.

Allow your child to face the consequences of not doing homework or not studying for a test. Allow older children to be their own advocate with the teachers.

Start talking about college early. Once your child is in high school, start to actively discuss which college they would like to go to and what types of degrees they are interested in. If college is not the best fit for your child, then discuss other options including technical/trade school and the military. Your child should enter their senior year with a good idea of what they plan to do once they graduate.

Kate

November 9th, 2012
10:30 am

If this audience is primarily young parents, read, read and read. Explore books in a variety of topics to suit the children’s interests. When my son was in kindergarten, I think he checked out every book the library had on snakes, reptiles, and dinosaurs. Not my thing, but he was reading! As he got older, he was intrigued by fact books and other non-fiction. Now in college, he’s still a fan of non-fiction, history, and biographies.

Woody

November 9th, 2012
10:36 am

1. Make sure there is some kind of information flow to you. That means, always listening and taking in what is heard, but not reacting right away to what is said. Protect your sources. Don’t freak out.

2. School is stressful for your child. Let him/her relax and blow off a little steam when they come home.

3. Limit TV. I’m on the fence about video games – they teach peristence, and recovery from failure. But they can become addicting, and should not get in the way of doing schoolwork that has been assigned.

4. For younger children, be near when they do take-home schoolwork, so that the experience is not isolating and (therefore) punishing for them. Wean them later on.

5. Later on, cellphone definitely on the shelf during study time. Computer screen always visible to you.

6. Encourage your child to start a study group(s) during high school years. This is a success factor in college.

7. Trust, but verify.

8. Don’t browbeat your children or drive them. Let the expectation that they will be working for A’s, linger heavily, but unspoken, in the air. Praise and celebrate when they get them. Commiserate emotionally with lower grades (”I know you really wish that was a better grade”) but don’t encourage excuses. If child makes a D or F, you as a parent have definitely not been present enough in your child’s life, and you need to find out what is really going on.

Private Citizen

November 9th, 2012
10:41 am

Good point about “Get a library card and use it.”

Claudia Stucke

November 9th, 2012
10:53 am

Amen to Woody and to Looking for the Truth, as well as to Private Citizen’s suggestion to take kids to Fernbank Science Center. My kids both graduated from college with honors, which they did through their own efforts; but they grew up on a house with lots of books, computer access, and frequent trips to Fernbank Science Center from the time they were in strollers.

I would add a couple of things, though: It takes a village. You’re not raising your children in a vacuum. Invite their friends over, especially those kids who don’t have access to the Internet (yes, there are still plenty of kids whose parents either can’t afford or have chosen not to have computer and/or Internet access)–and take time to monitor activities as well as to put parent controls on kids’ access to sites. (When he or she is assigned a group project, invite the other members of the group over, and supervise as necessary–but don’t micro-manage! Let and encourage them to do their own work. Also, something as seemingly mundane as a trip to the DeKalb Farmers Market can have an impact, especially if you make it a regular part of your week. Our children need to know that the world is a diverse, interesting place; that English is not the only language spoken; and that not everyone looks just like them. In fact, most of the world does not.

JT

November 9th, 2012
10:53 am

1. Start teaching your kids as early as possible and work on the basics (letters, numbers, colors, shapes, recognizing their name when it’s written down, etc.) BEFORE they get to pre-K or kindergarten. If your kids master the basics, they’ll be WAY ahead of the game.

2. Limit what the kids watch on TV. If the kids want to watch TV, make sure it has some educational value and is age-appropriate.

3. Establish priorities with your kids regarding school work (ie. school comes before fun/play, period) and don’t over-schedule them with extra-curriculars.

Private Citizen

November 9th, 2012
10:55 am

Once upon a time the Decatur public library had a room with framed paintings / prints hanging on the wall with a little checkout card sleeve glued on back or the prints. A person could check out paintings and take them home and hang them on the wall. It was a simpler time before the advent of video and digital/ “technology.” This was even before if you wanted to store a computer program, you carried around a shoebox of punch cards that was put through a card reader machine that was about the size of a Volkswagen. Air was blown through the punch outs on the cards which were read by a sensor grid. Yes, from back when you could check out full size framed painting prints at the library… same era… http://www.computermuseum.li/Testpage/IBM1402-PunchCardReader.jpg

concerned

November 9th, 2012
10:57 am

1. Read, read, and read some more. The more vocabulary, understanding, and love of reading a child has the better they will do in all subjects.
2. Provide a quiet place to study and sleep.
3. Just because a teacher does not assign homework doesn’t mean a child should do nothing academic related at home. Talk about science, math, and other interesting subjects with your child. Find their interests and enroll them in camps or classes based on their interests. Buy books and DVDs related to their academic interests.
4. Make sure they get plenty of sleep and good nutrious meals. Sleepy and hungry children do not do well in school.
5. Have your child’s eyes and hearing checked regularly. Your child will not do well if they can’t see or hear well.
6. Teach your child to be respectful of EVERYONE, no matter what. Just because you disagree with the views of others does not mean you have to be disrespectful towards them.
7. Stay on top of all assignments. Teachers ALWAYS give a student plenty of time to complete projects and book reports. Before you yell at the teacher find out from your child when the assignment was given. Teachers should not have to accept late work, but they will.
8. Never use the excuse, “I just don’t have time to work/read/play with my child.” You have just as much time in your day as everyone else. Your child is IMPORTANT and needs YOU.
9. Turn off the T.V.! Turn off the computer! Turn off your cell phone! Spend the time you would normally watching T.V./playing on the computer/or texting with your child. Playing cards and board games teaches children numerous skills.
10. Talk to your child everyday and do not give into their every demand. No is not a bad work. Stick to your word.

mother of 2

November 9th, 2012
11:00 am

Some great comments here! I don’t have toddlers – I have one in high school and one in college and both are good students. I read to my kids long after they were independent readers. Fostering a love of learning is key. I also let them fail. When they were frustrated with teachers or peers, I always asked them to think about how they contributed to the problem and thing about ways to correct or prevent the problem in the future. My older child went to private school and my younger child is in public school. Find the best fit for your child and encourage him/her to do his/her best.

catlady

November 9th, 2012
11:03 am

NEVER, EVER LET YOUR CHILD OR THE TEACHER HEAR YOU SAY, “I CAN’T_________ BECAUSE I WORK” We ALL work, honey.

Your kids are more important than who you are dating, or just about anything else on Earth. Step up! Take responsibility!

Gifted Chem Teacher

November 9th, 2012
11:07 am

Read to your children, encourage their curiousity and give them real, appropriate answers to their questions. If you don’t know the answer – find out together. Let them use their imaginations and let them be children.

Ron F.

November 9th, 2012
11:16 am

Read to them, have plenty of picture books and let them choose often. Turn down the volume on TV and radio in the car. They need to learn to play and work in less noisy environments. Play soft and/or classical music at bedtime to help them relax. Let them see you read printed material or Kindle. Reinforce colors, shapes, and simple math. I went around the house and taped a letter from the alphabet that was the starting letter for the thing it was taped to (C for Chair, T for television, etc.) to help them learn letters and sounds.

I drew funny looking cats on white paper (2 circles with triangles for ears and lines for whiskers and tails) and we would color and count them and post them on the wall with the number. We had pictures printed on my computer posted on the wall and each boy would pick one and we would “find” the letter for the starting sound from a bucket of letters. Anything that gets kids interested in learning early basic reading and math that’s interactive is great. Some computer/electronic game stuff is okay, but limit it because it gets addictive. I didn’t have money for the fancy electronic stuff when mine were little being the only parent for two boys, so we made things together. Mine don’t remember the computer games, but they remember the cat pictures I drew for counting and the Christmas ornaments we cut out of cardboard and covered in glitter and all manner of stuff. They remember them because we did them together and talked about the math and reading skills they needed to learn. When learning is part of family closeness and security, it is more positively associated and the kids are more successful.
Eat balanced meals, and go OUTSIDE and PLAY with your kids as often as you can. They need YOU along with the educational “stuff” you might do. Play with them, talk with them, and do silly things like imagining what clouds look like or making up stories. That gives them security and stability, which go a long way in helping a kid learn.

blue moon

November 9th, 2012
11:33 am

If you didn’t have good parents, try to find some older parents you respect and ask them to mentor you.

Private Citizen

November 9th, 2012
11:45 am

Not sure if this can fit the Parent Palooza talk, but I think kid toys that require engagement assembly are very healthy. Even something as simple in concept as a table top puzzle (as opposed to a computer game) required holding pieces, observing patterns, grouping colors, and dealing with the little bent edges and such when fitting together pieces. Water color kits and paper, learning the basics of painting: pencil, then pen and ink, then filling in with color. I seem to recall getting official “Tinker Toy” award, mailed from the company, when I was five years old. These were simple and low cost assembly toys with wooden center cogs and colorful wooden dowel sticks. Looks like it made of plastic now and has extra little pieces. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tinkertoy-102-Piece-Jumbo-Set/5030825 This stuff used to be made of wood, was very simple and hearty. Similarly, Erector Set used to be very hearty and basic, as shown here: http://www.vintagetoysillustrated.com/vintagetoy/forsale/october/2009/GILBERT_ERECTOR_SET_SEVEN_ONE_HALF_ENGINEER_SET_BOX_GIRDERS.JPG

Looking around today, many of these assembly / building toys have been changed to limited themes: “Robot Kit” etc. They used to be open ended. There has really been a change in the concept of these assembly toys. Probably the original inspiration people are dead and gone and the soulless corporate borg has taken over. Guy told me yesterday how kid’s toys are expensive now, lots of stuff at Toy-R-Us for $100. and up. Seems a lot of things in the USA have changed as far as supplying toys for kids. They’ve gotten expensive with limited conceptual freedom. Obviously a good market out there for someone who wants to go into the toy business. I’ve before thought of making wooden toys, like Santa Clause, just because it doesn’t seem like there are many available. So much now is air puff plastic assembled off shore and sold in US with heavy marketing and high price (so to speak).

Private Citizen

November 9th, 2012
11:52 am

Original concept Tinker Toys were wood and there were two parts, the cogs and the sticks and that was it.http://img1.etsystatic.com/000/0/6336624/il_fullxfull.264176565.jpg Someone probably figured that the wood sticks were dangerous. Maybe not.

Found this on the biography page pdf of a female lawyer, Karen Layng, “Not much interested in dolls, Layng liked playing with trucks. And the cranes she built out of Tinker Toys could be found on all the furniture throughout the house.”

bootney farnsworth

November 9th, 2012
11:54 am

1) read to your kids
2) read to your kids
3) read to your kids – but read appropriate subject matter, not People or US Weekly. Newberry has a huge collection of excellent childrens books which appeal to kids regardless of race, income, ect.
4) turn off the TV
5) turn off the TV
6) turn off the TV-even Big Bird gets old after awhile
7) talk to your kids
8) talk to your kids
9) talk to your kids – and actually listen

10) take the racial chip off your shoulder. basic math is basic math from asia to africa.
11) take the racial chip off your shoulder. good grammar is not passing, it is the pathway to a better life. if Obama can string together proper sentence structure when appropriate, so can you.
12) know who your kids friends really are. encourage them to associate with people of good character and serious about their studies.
13) know who your kids teachers are. this means regular meetings and listening to them.
14) be involved in your childrens school. it silently reinforces you care about and value education.
15) don’t act deliberately ignorant in front of your kids.
16) turn off the TV yourself and read a book.
17) visit the local museum.
18) accept your child is not the center of the universe, and that they may actually have misbehaved or not done their homework.
19) place education over athletics. sports is not the way out of poverty except for the very, very, very few, and for most of them they sink back into poverty once their playing days are over.
20) encourage the arts. countless studies have shown the direct and positive effect an arts education has on STEM learning.
21) visit the library
22) visit an art gallery
23) do NOT let your current boy/girl friend move in. unless they are willing to part with a ring, they do not care for your kids as much as you do and will drain time and resources
24) if single, stop having babies!

Private Citizen

November 9th, 2012
11:55 am

report: original Tinker Toys image. http://www.http://img1.etsystatic.com/000/0/6336624/il_fullxfull.264176565.jpg

original ad and pricing: http://www.3ds.com/blog/draftsight/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/tinker-toy-construction-toys.gif

I do not think kids can get these today. The new ones are plastic and have additional small pieces seemingly unrelated to main concept.

bootney farnsworth

November 9th, 2012
11:55 am

oh, and tell them you are proud of them when they do good.

Hillbilly D

November 9th, 2012
11:55 am

Teach them manners, respect for others, that the world doesn’t revolve around them and that they have to suffer the consequences, when they fail to do these things. My Daddy summed it up to us this way, “Even if you can’t do the work, you can still sit there, behave and keep your mouth shut”.

Private Citizen

November 9th, 2012
11:55 am

typo. should say “repost”

Jacob

November 9th, 2012
12:00 pm

Read to your child.
Discipline your child according to their actions.
Simply talk to your child, allowing them to come into contact with different vocabulary.
Help your child with any homework they may have.
Show your child you care about them.
Model reading, by reading on your own and having literature around the house (magazines, newspapers, books, etc).

mountain man

November 9th, 2012
12:12 pm

Get your children to school EVERY DAY and ON TIME.

If you have been called to your child’s school on a discipline issue – GO, and keep an open mind. Your little angel at home may be a real devil at school.

Tell your kids about why education is important – that high school graduates are much more likely to get and keep a job and make more than dropouts, and college graduates are even better.

Be a parent.

Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft

November 9th, 2012
12:17 pm

As a high school teacher I have learned a lot from my students. My advice for parents:

1. Do NOT do your kids homework for them.

2. Let them fail. I know it is hard to watch that, but if you constantly bail them out, they will never change their behaviors.

3. Do not tell (or at least don’t constantly remind) them that they have a learning disability, ADHD or any other ‘disorder’. They will define themselves by this and work it to the very end. Instead, help them develop strategies that will enable them to focus and give them confidence. On the same note, do not tell your child he/she is brilliant either.

4. Please, please, please, trust their teachers. If you have a reason not to, don’t tell your child. Report it to the administration and deal with it among adults. Kids LOVE drama. Don’t feed that desire in ways that will negatively impact their learning.

5. Keep your eye on which kids they are hanging around. There are absolutely losers out there who will bring others down.

6. Monitor what they are doing on the computer. I can’t count how many parents would tell me that their child was “in his/her room for six hours writing a paper”. I guarantee that five of those hours were spent surfing the net, chatting on facebook, and playing games.

7. The best student I ever taught was not brilliant; she was curious and loved to learn. When she graduated, I asked her what drove her to work so hard and to love learning so much. She told me that every single evening, she and her mom would sit down and talk for an hour. I doubt many parents think they can find the time to do that, but I am certainly going to try.

8. Place the focus on learning rather than grades. Placing too much pressure on kids often forces the to shut down.

9. Kids need sleep…at least 8 hours.

10. Monitor what foods they eat and how they react to them.

11. Get them involved in extra-curriculars, and make them stick with them. Sports, arts, whatever. And if they ‘don’t like it’, don’t give in. Challenges are good!

I guess this applies to older kids, but establishing good habits early will help!

Private Citizen

November 9th, 2012
12:18 pm

I’ve got neighbor kids who shoot guns and ride gas powered “four wheelers” and that’s about it. No assembly toys and the parents are completely paranoid about any kind of knowledge or art from the outside world. I asked the one kid, about age 10, what he had been doing and he said he goes online and plays games against other people (peer group). So they have their own little world going via internet and are “live online” in community when they play their game. Looks like there is a lot of talk, community and information sharing going on in the chat box. i think this is his window to the outside world. i gave him some kid books a while back, sort of things I had read at his age but I do think he engaged with it. The parents do not read, The household has no books. It’s weird, uphill battle for contemporary knowledge.

Maybe he’ll grow up and be like “FPS Russian” who is really some guy in Georgia. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLFYvG6MsZU

Giving an education talk in Georgia? Whew. Good luck with that.