Your Most Important Job
How to Ace Your School-Aged Parenting Gig.
About 70% of my time at work is spent talking with parents answering questions about their children’s academics. If there is one thing I know for sure it is that getting a child through PreK through College these days requires a modern set of parenting skills and resources.
Here is a quick list of those skills and some my favorite resources.
Know What to Pay Attention To
Too often I encounter parents who have children who are challenged in some aspect of their education. Some students may be struggling to maintain a high level of stamina in reading, and other students do not fully understand the foundations of writing or math. Very often parents see signs of these struggles happening early on, but they do not know to attend to them, or how to address them.
Children who are born in American hospitals receive a record which parents are to keep to monitor a child’s immunization, pediatrician visits and growth records.
I’ve developed a record, similar to that medical record, which parents can use to monitor their child’s total education process. Click here to view it.
When you notice your child having an issue, be sure to use it as an opportunity to advocate for your child.
- Have a conversation with your child. Make an observation and then ask a clarifying question. “Hey, I notice your grades are going down in math. What’s going on?”
- Help your student to advocate for himself or herself. Encourage your student to speak directly about areas of confusion or challenge with his or her teacher. Students can begin to do this as early as PreK!
- Do NOT assume that your child’s teachers understand him or her in the same way you do. Deanna Hyslop and I have done research on an inventory called the Social-Emotional-Physical-Academic Inventory (SEPAQ) and we’ve found that teachers do NOT know the same information as parents do about each student’s social, emotional and physical functioning. Since these areas of development affect a student’s academic performance, it is imperative that parents share information. Click here to access the SEPAQ online.
Once a parent notices an issue or area of challenge, it is important to take action right away. The field of education is ever evolving and so many challenges can be addressed with support.
- Speak to your child’s teacher. Communicate about areas of concern.
- Read and research information about issues you may encounter.
- Children need time to address issues. If you are spending one hour per week on a skill, that may not be enough time for your child to fully master it. Be realistic about how much time is needed for your child to receive instruction, be guided through it and then practice the skill.
- Create a home environment conducive to study and school work. Have school supplies, a quiet space to work and give your child time to do homework and study. Here are some guidelines on those times:
- 4–5th grade 1 hour per day
- 6–8th grade 1.5–2 hours per day
- 9–12th grade: 3–4 hours per day
With increased awareness around what is necessary for students to thrive during their total education process, parents can be empowered to provide the best possible support. Enjoy the journey!