Written by Guest Blogger: Lisa Montierth
A love of learning can make all the difference in your child’s life, and not just in school. Developing a passion to learn helps kids grow into curious, successful adults.
Being engaged at school is certainly a big step toward being an enthusiastic learner, but parents can build on these lessons exponentially by bringing learning into the home. Enthusiasm is contagious – when you get excited about something, your kids will pick up on it – so try some of these ways to get the whole family excited about learning:
Keep them reading. Reading acts as the foundation to every other kind of learning. Many parents read to their young kids, which is a great head start to understanding language and appreciating learning. As kids grow older, keep encouraging them to pick up a book. Start a family reading time where you each enjoy a book, or take turns reading from the same book. Kids pick up their cues from you. Keep books, magazines, newspapers, and other reading materials around the house, and you’ll teach an appreciation of reading by example.
Get on board with their interests. Use your child’s natural enthusiasm about things they love to promote learning. If your daughter loves the ocean, encourage her interest with books about marine life. By getting involved and showing interest in the things your child loves, you will show her that learning isn’t just about sitting in school and practicing her spelling; learning is a fun and exciting part of life!
The “what” can be more important than the “how”. It’s natural to pay attention to your child’s grades, and it’s important to let your child know that grades matter. But focusing too heavily on grades can overshadow the accomplishments of learning. Instead of asking about how your child did on a test or worksheet, ask them what they learned that day. By putting the day’s lessons into his own words, your child is more likely to retain what he learned.
Give them some space. As adults, we know how some of our best learning experiences come out of mistakes. And while it can be a scary thought, it’s important to remember that this lesson applies to our kids, too. When we swoop in to solve every tricky math equation or spelling worksheet for our children, they never get the chance to figure it out for themselves. Children gain a sense of competence when they overcome a challenge, which makes them more likely to want to do that activity again.
Written by Guest Blogger: Lisa Montierth
Parent-teacher conferences will always have the potential to be emotional minefields. But you have the power to make the experience productive and enjoyable. Use some of these techniques to have your best parent-teacher conferences yet (you can use these techniques for other parent conferences throughout the year, too!).
Take control of the discussion. Write out a plan for how you will organize the conference. What issues do you need to discuss? What goals do you have for your student? Plan which pieces of work you want to share and what you’ll say about them. Anticipate any questions that parents might have, and if they try to ask you to make comparisons to the rest of the class, just remind parents that every child develops differently.
Stay positive. Always operate under the assumption that the parent sitting across the table from you is the greatest ally in your efforts to help your student grow and learn. Conferences are such a great opportunity to join forces with parents. Remember to frame everything in a hopeful light, and keep your comments constructive.
Behavior can be a catalyst for connections. If you’ve been noticing a change in a student’s behavior, it’s likely that their parents have too. Let parents know that you are on their team, and offer them any insight that you can. Even if parents may already know what is causing the change in their child, discussing it with you may help them sort through the situation – and could help you find a solution.
Think solutions. Simply telling a parent that their child has been distracted in class is a good start, but it doesn’t get you any closer to resolving the issue. Tell parents what you’ve been trying to do to help your student, give them some ideas about what they can do at home, and ask them if they have any suggestions you can try.
Show you care. Connecting emotionally is a simple thing that can make a big difference. Parent-teacher conferences can be a nerve-wracking experience for a parent. Seeing that you care will put parents at ease and set the stage for a productive conversation.