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Useful tips to help your children succeed at Spotswood College

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Tips and advice for Whanau to help our children succeed in their education.

Every parent/guardian wants his or her child to do well in school. The problem is not usually that parents aren’t capable of helping their child do well in school. After all, not many parents have a background or training in educational techniques or child psychology. It’s just that the parent doesn’t know the best way to help. Here are some tips for how you can improve the likelihood of your child’s school success. Remember, these techniques take both time and patience to show results – don’t expect miracles overnight.

1. Teach them that learning is their ‘job.’

Parents often ask what they can do to get their child interested in a specific subject or task. The first lesson for parents is the most important lesson a child can learn about school. Some class lessons they may not find interesting! Of course, children learn better when they find the subject matter exciting, but what children really need to learn here, is that they must also learn things that they don’t find particularly attention-grabbing. That’s the job children have.

2. Aim high.

You don’t have to be a super mom or dad, but you have to realize that parent’s expectations have a huge influence when it comes to children’s performance. If you don’t expect your child to do well, your low expectations will likely be met!

3. Distinguish studying from learning.

Very often a parent asks a child if they have done his or her studying – and the child has. Not good enough! The parent needs to prove that the child has learned the lesson. Quiz your child to be sure (this gets more difficult as he/she gets older and begins to take more advanced subjects). Quiz them again on the same material just a few days later, and then again a week later. What good is learning something that is forgotten a week later? Remember that potential employers will care less about the credits your child has and will care more about the skills, knowledge and understanding he or she has acquired.

4. Prioritize study time.

All children need down time, and playing both alone and with other children is good for both their intellectual and social skills. However, as a matter of priority, children should, within reason, be encouraged to work first and play second. Eventually a well-developed work ethic will result in a big pay-off. Children also should have regular study hours during which to complete their schoolwork. As the child gets older, this designated study time should get longer. Spotswood College recommends ½ hour per night for juniors and 1 to 2 hours for seniors.

5. Provide a proper homework environment.

Be sure your child has all the tools needed to do his or her best, both at school and at home – a desk, a chair, good lighting, necessary school supplies (paper, pencils, pens, calculators, computers, rulers, compasses, protractors, paper clips, note pads, etc.) and, most important, a quiet place to work.

6. Let them figure things out on their own.

Have your children think about problems at length before asking you for help. Remember that every time you tell your children the answer to a set study question, you have deprived them of the opportunity to figure out the answer on their own. At the same time, it is appropriate to help your child when they have made a legitimate, but unsuccessful, effort to learn something without assistance.

7. Teach correct reading comprehension skills.

So many children read something without remembering what they’ve read or understanding what it means. To aid learning, children should know that when reading, they should not go to the next paragraph in their reading until they have fully understood what they have already read; if they do, they usually won’t understand the next paragraph, either. You should also teach children to take notes on what they read (or, better yet, to outline what they have read). Taking notes and writing outlines reinforces what the student has learned from reading and will allow the student to be better prepared for written examinations.

8. Have them go above and beyond.

Generally, the more children practice, the more thoroughly they learn and the more they retain. Children get more practice (and more learning) if they complete all the problems and exercises in their textbooks – not just the ones the teacher assigns. Parents who want to help their children succeed should encourage their kids to do much more than the minimum.

9. Make learning a year round endeavour.

School is out in the summer, but that should not mean that your children should take three months off from learning. Summer is a good time for reviewing, for learning things that may not have been taught in school (perhaps some of those chapters that were skipped in history class), for going to the library and browsing (always a good idea) and for trying to develop new intellectual skills, such as how to play games of strategy like chess, checkers or backgammon, or how to follow recipes carefully.

10. Set a good example.

Let your child see that learning doesn’t end when we leave school. Model good learning behaviour in the way you deal with your job and household responsibilities and let your children know that you are still learning. Parents who are still in school, perhaps pursuing a graduate degree or finally finishing up that bachelor’s, can be particularly influential. If you cut class, what do you think your children will do when given the opportunity? If you have bad study habits, you can’t expect your children to do better. Be sure that you show your child – through your own action – that good educational habits yield great academic rewards.

Remember, don’t forget to reward your children for the successes they have. Sometimes just the quiet affirmation of a job well done is enough, to make a child stand tall with pride. It doesn’t matter if the success seems a little trivial it is a big deal!

Success breeds Success…

some more tips for Helping Your Child Transition from Intermediate school to Spotswood College.

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The importance of parent involvement in a child’s life during the teen years is undeniable. While adolescents want independence and time with friends, they continue to depend on the care and guidance of their parents. The transition from middle to high school can be a stressful time with many uncertainties. Unfortunately, many parents are less involved in their child’s education during these years because their child is more independent and has multiple teachers to keep in touch with.

Taking time to get involved in your child’s education can greatly influence his success in school and in life. When parents work together with their child to help her navigate the changes from middle to high school, the result is a confident teen ready to try new experiences, develop new friendships and set high expectations for success.

  1. Attend planning meetings for choosing high school courses with your child.
  2. Ask your child about his/her goals for high school and after high school. Listen.
  3. Help your child set high and realistic goals.
  4. Tell your child about your hopes for his/her future.
  5. Ask the school for information and a school handbook prior to the beginning of the year. This should be provided in your home language. Read this information and talk about it with your child.
  6. Continually check out the school Web site.
  7. Ask about opportunities for students to shadow a high school student.
  8. Attend orientations and open house events.
  9. Visit the school building with your child before the school year begins to help her become familiar with the new building.
  10. Talk with your child about what clubs, teams or other activities he can join at school.
  11. Encourage your child to develop relationships with other students with similar interests.
  12. Talk with other parents and students about their experiences in this school.
  13. Ask open-ended questions like, “How’s it going?” or “What have you been learning?”
  14. Make comments like, “You seem upset. What happened?” Then listen.
  15. Expect your child’s transition to be successful. Remember the adjustment will take time. Your positive outlook can help your child; let him know you are confident in his ability to do well.

Most of all instil in your child that learning is ‘fun’ and will ultimately give them the ability to make informed choices in their lives.

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