Now that the hustle
and bustle of the first weeks is past, its time to get
serious about schoolwork. Parents have some work to do as wellthey
need to join forces with teachers to help their children do their
best. The problem is that many parents dont know how to
Barbara-Lynn Taylor, M.Ed., is the author and narrator of
two videos that can help. School
Success Takes Teamwork and Taming
the Homework Monstervideos that come with Facilitators
Guidesshow ways to break
down barriers between teachers and parents, help with homework,
and lay the groundwork for academic success.
For the first video, I chose the title School
Success Takes Teamwork because that really summarizes how
it should be approached, recalls Taylor. When parents
and teachers work together as a team, they are doing whats
best for the child. The video and Facilitators Guides
offer ways parents can work to support the team, no matter what
their background or education.
First step: defining success
Taylor suggests that before viewing the video, parents think
about a very important question: What is success? How do their
children define success? The answers can be surprising.
Different people have different definitions of success.
Some parents might think its straight As, while others
think simply passing is success. A student might think success
is being a good athlete or being liked by other students.
Its important, notes Taylor, for parents, teachers, and
students to define their expectations and be on the same wavelength
so they can work toward a common goal.
Supporting students throughout their school career
School Success Takes Teamwork offers ways parents
can support their students outside of school. The suggestions
are age-appropriate, aimed at parents with children in preschool,
elementary school, middle school and high school. This makes
the program helpful even to parents with children at different
levels of learning.
In elementary school, for example, parents should reinforce
math skills by demonstrating real-life uses for math. When
shopping, parents can let their children add up the total and
count the money. This is also a great time to take field
trips: It can be far away or it can be somewhere near the
houseas long as its for the purpose of learning.
Afterwards children should share what they learned by writing
it down or telling it to someone.
High school is when parents need to become more serious about
their listening skills. Its so easy to start preaching,
and they are just not going to listen. Many teens are capable
of solving problems on their own, says Taylor, but they need
their parents to be a sounding board while they work out a solution.
And that is an important step toward independencea goal
shared by every member of school-success team.
Click here for more information about the
Successful Parenting video series.
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Preparing for the Parent-Teacher Conference
Getting ready for a parent-teacher conference is not just
putting on your coat and getting the car keys, jokes Barbara-Lynn
Taylor. Parents will feel less intimidated, even empowered,
if they complete these steps before meeting with the teacher.
- Take a moment and think about your child.
- Talk with your childrens other parent, family members,
and key people in their lives.
- Talk with your child. Are there any concerns about school?
Does he think his teachers like him? (Because perceptions matter,
the answer to this question can be very informative.)
- Find samples of the childs schoolwork. Do you see anything
that worries you?