How to Help Your Child Succeed 

Parents naturally want their childern to succed in school; however, sometimes they don't know where to start, when to find the time, or how to go about making positive connections with their children regarding school.

At the most basic level, parents can encourage the education of their children by showing that they truly value education themselves. Discuss new things you are learning at work or at home to show children that learning is a lifelong, dynamic process. Check the class website's "Week At A Glance" to see what is happening in class and what the homework assignments are, so you can open a discussion more easily. Give children a chance to show what they know by asking simple questions about the subject. Restating major ideas from class in their words helps students clarify their thinking.

When a child has completed a writing assignment for submission, ask your child to read the written piece aloud to you.  Students see their errors more clearly when they are reading aloud trying to communicate their ideas; therefore, they are more apt to edit their work.  If the child is reading too quickly and not focusing, ask the child to slow down so you can better understand; this way, the child does not feel criticized and become defensive.  If a child cannot seem to start an assignment, trying having the child talk out some of his or her ideas with you.  Take dictation, writing down exactly what your child says.  Ideas have now been recorded, and the child has a place to begin.

When tests and essays come home, focus beyond simply the grade to the information and skills they learned by doing the work. Encourage your children to describe mistakes that they made, and then talk about solutions. Make mistakes okay by talking about your own errors. When children can learn from their mistakes, rather than feeling discouraged by them, they are on the path to success.

Parents may also find it helpful to remind themselves that children are great imitators. Keep a variety of reading materials around the house: magazines, newspapers, novels, etc.  Point out and discuss articles related to subjects they are studying in school.  If children live with adults who read and talk about what they read, and if they are encouraged to join discussions in which each person's ideas are listened to with respect, children usually grow up with the skills they have observed.

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created by L. Lopez, 8/22/03
Some ideas adapted from:
Urban Programs Research Network (U of Illinois)
Cornell Coopertive Extension