As you look for ways to help your child succeed, you are taking a vital step in recognizing that it is not the sole responsibility of teachers and school staff to ensure your child learns properly. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (NKJV). Parents have the primary role in their child’s life to help them form their values and priorities, enter society as a contributing individual with vocation prospects, and, most importantly, continuously seek out the will of God for their lives. Whatever your background or education is, you have what it takes to lead your child on the road to success. Here are five ways that will get you started.
1. Dream together
Without a goal, your child will have no aim, and the goal cannot be to simply do a good job at school. You have to help your child plan for what happens after school. The best way to do this is to dream with them. Get them excited about their potential and their future.
Discuss various careers with them, and help them map out a plan to get there. Don’t be afraid to start this early on, just keep in mind that it is normal to change one’s mind throughout school. Simply change the map as necessary. What you will be giving your child is a reason and purpose for what they do every day, as well as a sense of importance in the learning they do. Encourage your child to think about the future and to understand the hard work necessary in getting there.
As Christians, we have an eternal perspective about our role in the kingdom, so pray with your child to seek God’s will for his/her life. Remember that our role is to further His kingdom for His glory. Make sure that your definition of success also lines up with that of God’s, and manage your expectations for your child accordingly.
2. Read to your child https://ferstreaders.org/resources/fifty-top-literacy-statistics
It cannot be stated enough that parents must read to their children. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “Children who are read to at least three times a week by a family member are almost twice as likely to score in the top 25% in reading compared to children who are read to less than three times a week.” (Link:https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2002/2002125.pdf) For this reason, PVCS utilizes reading programs such as Pizza Hut’s Bookit (https://www.bookitprogram.com/) which provides fun incentives for kids to read. You can start this program with children who are just learning to read, and by reading to them you can give them a jumpstart to their future!
As your child continues to develop their reading ability, be sure to continue to read to them at higher and higher reading levels. The more vocabulary you can expose them to, the better they can develop their literary prowess. Pursue a wide variety of literary styles and genres, and be sure to include books that you both enjoy. There is nothing better than sharing the love of a book with your child!
3. Model learning habits at home
Scholarly culture in the home encourages children on the path to lifelong learning. Studies show that children who come from homes with libraries of size 80 or more books, where learning is a part of the home atmosphere, perform at higher levels on standardized tests than their comparable peers with smaller home libraries (LINK: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0049089X18300607).
Share with your child what you do to learn. If you aren’t learning something, you should think about starting now. Read that book you’ve been putting off, learn a new language, or start a Bible study with a group of friends. Not only will you begin to reap the benefits yourself, you will be modeling what it means to be a lifelong learner to your child. Pursue what is interesting to you so your passion will be evident as you share it with them. You will find that your dedication to learning and improving yourself is contagious!
4. Partner with your child’s school
--Talk to your child’s teacher about where your child is lacking and fill in the gaps at home.
--Look for informal moments especially where you can reinforce their learning, and try to use similar terms and techniques to what they are learning in class.
--Find creative ways to inspire and assist them. If they struggle in science, take them to a science museum or design a science experiment at home. If you feel you are lacking in being able to instruct them, you can get a tutor. But remember that there is no harm in your child seeing you struggle with a concept. It is a demonstration that struggling to understand something is not a symptom of stupidity but the mark of a dogged learner. By showing that you aren’t afraid or ashamed to make mistakes, you could help them gain the courage they need to attack difficult concepts.
--You can also build upon where your child is excelling. Ask your teacher where they are succeeding, and be sure to compliment your child on their hard work in this area.
--Try to emphasize hard work over talent, because this will encourage them to keep working to build upon their skills. Talk to your child’s school about what programs they might have to continue to encourage their strengths. Look for ways to continue to build in those areas. If they show promise in reading, introduce them to literature that will challenge them. If they have high math scores, purchase math books and encourage them to self study. If they feel strong in a subject already, you can push them with potentially no resistance, and there is no limit to what they can do! Provide incentives where necessary.
5. Become their academic advocate
While it is very important to be involved at your child’s school, even beyond that you must become an academic advocate for your child. Even the best teachers cannot keep up with all the individually varying needs of all the children in their class. Only you know the specific needs, strengths and weaknesses of your child.
The time that you have invested in their early development, the love and devotion you have for them means you are the most qualified to be their academic champion and motivator.
--Make sure you know exactly what is being taught to your child.
--Be determined to understand the classroom environment and whether it is ideal for your child’s learning style.
--Consistently communicate their needs to your child’s teacher.
Teachers and administrators at PVCS encourage parents to be actively involved in their children’s education. By working together, teachers and parents can nurture children to reach their maximum potential while developing a moral center that will guide them into adulthood.
Contact us today if you are interested in enrolling your child in a school with teachers that will respect your role as a parent while partnering with you to guide your child towards success.