How can parents get involved in school improvement? Check out these five replacements they can make that will boost student achievement.
1. Replace, “Did you have fun at school today?” with “What did you learn at school today?” – Your attitude about school is very important. Let your children know that learning comes first with you. If children have fun at school, that’s fine, but school is about learning. So always ask about learning first, fun later, if at all.
2. Replace, “Do you have any homework?” with “What is your study plan today?” – Children older than 9 or 10 should be doing some homework or studying every day after school. Written homework comes first, then studying for coming tests, working on papers due in a few days, or reading texts or other books. If your children develop good study habits now, those habits will carry them all the way through college.
3. Replace, “When are you going to bed?” with “Bedtime is 9:30, remember? Go to bed now.” – Sleepy students cannot learn. Give your children a leg up in school by sending them to school well rested. You won’t believe how much difference it makes in grades and attitude.
4. Replace, “It’s been over an hour! I wish you would turn that game off,” with “Turn that game off now.” – Children who are playing video games, texting, posting on Facebook, or watching reruns are not children who are learning or even thinking. Set a time limit on electronic devices (one or two hours on school days is generous) and then turn them off. If children try to sneak more time, take their privileges away for a week. Once they are off the games, they have time to help with household chores, play outside, or read a book, all much healthier and more educational than more tube time.
Practice this very important parental saying: “So all the other kids text get to text all night. If all the other kids jumped off the top of the school, would you?” It is so very useful.
5. Replace, “You’re bored? Where do you want to go?” with “You’re bored? Go find something to do.” Boredom is a very educational and a very important part of childhood. Boredom challenges children to be creative, to think, to solve problems. Once you have sent your bored child off, check on him or her in about 15 minutes to make sure the solution is something you approve of (drawing or standing on his head, not building fires, for instance). Bored children may even resort to reading books – think how wonderful that would be!
If your child goes to school every day well rested and well prepared for class, knowing that Mom or Dad will be asking for a report on learning in school that day, he or she will learn more and like school better.