Proud parents across the country are watching their children head back to the classroom for another exciting school year. The knowledge they gain in class will help set them on a path to success. However, learning shouldn’t stop when the school bell rings at the end of the day.
“Education should be a driving factor of family life,” says Michelle Cote, founder of Bricks 4 Kidz, an award-winning summer camp and after-school program. “Parents hold the key to a child’s success by supporting classroom learning and extending educational efforts to the home and beyond.”
Cote offers simple ideas for parents to help support school lessons and instill a lifelong love of learning in their children.
Know the teacher: Teachers spend as much time in a week with your kids as you do. Build a relationship with them by sending check-in emails, attending conferences and volunteering. Be proactive about asking where your child excels and what areas they may need additional help.
Facilitate homework: Encourage good study habits by creating a comfortable homework space with adequate supplies and few distractions. Be an active partner in your child’s homework and assist when needed. Brainstorm project ideas, answer questions and quiz kids before tests.
Practice school lessons: With a fun, no-pressure approach, go over what your children learn in school. Have a conversation each day about what they learned, liked and loathed. Then go over important lessons to help your child better understand the material.
Connect lessons to 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 while gardening. Head to the beach to talk about marine habitats and why the tide changes.
Choose enriching activities: Select after-school activities that emphasize cognitive development while building self-esteem in a fun environment.
Positive attitude: Kids will mirror your attitude toward school, homework and teachers. Stay positive and model resilience during difficult times. Show kids how you’re working to improve your own education, whether that be a career certification or a cooking class.
Read together: Reading together is a great way to bond and show joy for the written word. Read 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.
Encourage active learning: 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 and give his opinion.
Fuel brain power: There are two ways to support learning that have nothing to do with lessons. The first is to make sure kids are always fueled with a variety of healthy foods. The next is to ensure they are getting a good night’s sleep. Full, well-rested kids are always ready to learn.
A teacher will shape and support your child’s knowledge. It’s up to you to grow their thirst for learning and help them better understand important topics. These simple tips make it easy for education to become a strong thread in the fabric of life.