As parents, we all tell ourselves that we are invested in our children’s education. It is the single most important thing in their lives and is paramount to them becoming a successful member of society. But how involved are you actually?
Asking them if they’ve done their homework and dropping them at the school gates in the morning is simply not good enough these days. It is so easier to become invested and take an active role in their educational career and there are a few ways to do this.
Join the PTA
Nearly every school has a Parents and Teachers Association. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever come across one that doesn’t. The PTA helps to open up a channel of conversation between the two groups and can help to iron out any issues with the school, or home life before the issue escalates into anything more serious. I’m actually a co-chair of the PTA at Lilly’s primary school and it’s been no end of help both for me, to voice my concerns to the school in a public setting and for Lilly, who gets to see her dad in and around school and getting involved.
Help With Their Homework
Kids get a crazy amount of homework these days, even in primary school, there is often so much for them to do. I have some strong personal opinions about homework and its place in the world (which is nowhere), but it’s a fact that it still gets handed out and needs to be done. Sit with them and go through all the questions or tasks and make sure they understand what needs to be done. If they get stuck then encourage them to reach out to you for assistance in finding the solution. However, I need to stress that you should never give them the answer, they need to find it for themselves but you can guide them to it. For example, if it is a maths problem, go through the method with them again and break it down so that they understand it properly. If it is a research question that the don’t know off the top of their head, give them the tools (books, the internet) to find the answer for themselves.
Encourage Extra-Curricular Activities
Education in school is the basis for everything your child will do in life, but extra-curricular activities will help to make them a well-rounded and interesting person. Hobbies and interests will educate them in the areas that schools can’t teach. I like the quote that says ‘have three hobbies. One to make you money, one to keep you in shape and one to be creative’, I think it’s perfect and is a real basis for deciding what your interests are going to be. Of course, there is going to be a lot of trial and error to find out what it is your child likes to do so give them the option for everything and then you can fine tune it further down the line. It’s important, as well, to not force them into something they’re clearly not enjoying. Kids will want to give up hobbies all the time, and you should gently encourage them to stick at it for a little longer, if it gets to the point where it is clearly not for them, let them leave it behind.