by: Verlyn Tarlton
The headlines say it all. Our education system is in crisis. With talk of additional budget cuts, overcrowded classrooms and inadequate resources, it is leaving most families at a loss for a viable solution.
What if I told you that you could have the final say in the kind of education your child receives? Suppose there was a way for you to successfully have a hand in what, and how, your child learns without keeling over in exhaustion? Whether your child is in public, charter, or private school, you can not only change the future of your child’s education, but you can also become your child’s most powerful advocate in the process.
It does not matter if you have a GED or advanced degree, with effort, commitment, and a little time, you can do as several parents are doing and make an impact on your child’s future. If this sounds like something you might want to do here are a few possible ways to get started.
As quiet as it’s kept, children really want to please their parents and there’s a certain satisfaction they get from a nod of approval or pat on the back.
As parents, it’s our job to set the bar high and give them something to aspire towards. Articulating your expectations, in simple and concrete ways they can understand, is a great way to bring out the best in them.
Also, confirm them by letting them know that they already have everything they need to succeed and to use their gifts and abilities to the fullest.
Once you do this, you’ll see how eager they are to meet and exceed your expectations!
Building a partnership with your child’s teacher is vital in helping ensure your child’s academic success. Communication, mutual respect, and being proactive are ways to accomplish this.
Reaching out to your child’s teacher by way of good old fashioned note writing or modern day e-mail can go a long way in helping to build rapport through communication.
Along with communication, mutual respect is the bridge that builds the partnership because you’re both working towards the same goal-your child’s education.
Finally, being proactive and checking on your child’s progress on a regular basis also sets the stage for a strong partnership.
By building a strong partnership, your child’s teacher becomes an ally.
Communicating with your child is a great way to hear what’s going on in his or her mind and heart; and having an open-door policy is critical. Often enough, we as parents feel we have all the answers and can solve all problems.
However, there are times when listening is more important than speaking. By listening I don’t mean conjuring up a rebuttal. I mean being fully engaged in the listening process and understanding what your child is trying to convey, while giving them freedom to communicate.
Sometimes children just need support, understanding and empathy. Your child has a voice and the more you listen, the more he or she will talk. You might be surprised at what they have to say.
Encouraging your child with rewards and compliments can give a needed boost! After all, who doesn’t appreciate a reward or compliment? Doing this shows that you’re paying attention to the good things your child does and motivates them to do better.
So whenever you get a chance, compliment or highlight an improvement. If they raised a grade, give them a reward. If your child works hard, let them play hard.
Pointing out the good, will energize your child and give them an incentive to keep improving.
You don’t have to go it alone. Reaching out and using available resources is a sign of strength and wisdom. Lots of help is available, you only need to find it. Sometimes the help you need is hidden in plain sight.
You can start by checking in your community to see what’s there. Some churches or places of worship offer tutoring. If your child needs help with a specific subject, reach out to friends who have children who can help.
Public libraries are a great resource and often have posted information and free programs to help aid in education. Also, there are other resources such as community centers that are paid for with your tax dollars. Be sure to make use of them by getting all the help you need.
In addition, there are numerous online freebies to help with homework. Most teachers are knowledgeable about online help sites. Just ask them. And remember, google can be your best friend.
There’s no such thing as too much reading! And it’s true, today’s readers are our future leaders.
You can help by creating a supplemental reading list for your child. This extra reading can be done over the summer or on the weekends. It is another way to have say over your child’s education. Explore the many options for reading in terms of books, magazines, newspaper articles, and library reference materials.
In fact, allowing your child to choose books that spark their interest will add to the joy of reading instead of making it an additional chore. Here’s a post I wrote that can help with this very thing: http://verlyntarlton.com/choosing-good-books-child
Check homework and have a discussion on what he or she is learning. Does this sound familiar? Whenever you ask your child how school is going you get the famous answer, “Fine”. Or how about this one,” What did you do today?” They answer, “Nothing”.
As the parent, it’s a good idea to do more than ask general questions. Check the work done in school and see what’s being assigned for homework. You also want to check to see if your child understands what’s being taught by asking them to teach you. If they can do this, then most likely they are grasping the subject.
The bottom line is to leave no stone unturned. By staying on top of things, there should be no surprises. The more you stay involved, the more you’ll have say over your child’s education. Your child is your greatest asset and your future. The time you take today will ensure their success and your posterity tomorrow.
Mama on the road. I’m Verlyn Tarlton, Mama on the road and author of the Swift Walker children’s series. Our tribe is traveling the US and living the RV life!
Let’s connect on Twitter and Instagram. You can also find me on Facebook and read more on my blog.