Are parents doing enough to support learning in the home?

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Learning always throws up several unexpected challenges, especially when you are in your formative years at school struggling to understand more about yourself and the world around you. But when the right support is provided by family and friends children can achieve well at school and take an active interest in their own education.

The easiest way parents can do this is by showing that they care about their child’s school life. In many cases, the more supported they feel at home, the easier it becomes for them to learn at school. Here we look at why it is important that parents support their child’s education at home and some of the practical steps that can be taken.

School and parents

Children live and learn in two worlds during their youth – at home and at school. Ensuring there is a positive connection between these two spaces can make all the difference when it comes to how children learn about themselves and others. Positive communication between teachers, parents and young people can go a long way towards helping children learn and develop to the best of their ability.

Schools also operate in different ways, depending on how they are run. Some continue to push children both inside and outside of school time. However, there have been schools, such as this independent pre-prep school in London, that have stopped issuing homework and very quickly seen a massive improvement in the wellbeing of the children in attendance. This also helped to take pressure off parents at home and free home more time to focus on providing the support their children needed.

How can parents support learning from home?

There are lots of things you can do to support the family-school partnership. To help them prepare and make the most of their learning opportunities you can:

  • Create a daily family routine that includes healthy eating and consistent sleeping habits.
  • Set aside a dedicated space and time for homework to be completed.
  • Keep up to date with homework, projects and assignments so your child does not fall behind.
  • Speak with your child every day about their activities at school – both in and outside of the classroom.
  • Regularly read to your child and read yourself to promote literacy.
  • Monitor and limit (where necessary) TV watching, computer time, gaming and social media use.
  • Express high expectations and standards without overburdening or placing too much pressure onto your children.
  • Attend parent-teacher days and events that take place at the school.
  • Play a central role in decisions that will affect your child’s education.

The more engaged you are as a parent, the better chance your child stands at succeeding. When families, schools and communities work together in partnership, it creates a cohesive network for children to better prepare for their time at school and expand on their learning abilities.

Out of school support

Try to make the most of local community resources such as the library, theatre, museum etc. and encourage participation in sports, art and after-school clubs.

By introducing a variety of interests outside of school, children have a chance to learn more about the world and discover interests and skills they can develop. Doing things together often means learning things together at the same time, whether it’s visiting new and interesting places, or talking about things you have seen on TV.

Also be wary of overloading your child as soon as they come home from school. Just like working as an adult, it is a long and mentally testing day, so try not to fire too many questions at them right away. They may be hungry or tired and not in the mood to talk – but as long as they know you are there to talk later if needed then that is enough.

Children struggling at school

For parents with children with Special Educational Needs (SEN), there is an added importance to be more involved with the school to have a better understanding of the level of support your child is receiving.

Speak with the class teacher, or if the school has one, the Special Educational Needs Coordinator. The discussion could throw up some unfamiliar phrases and terms that could be useful to learn. In many cases, children with SEN will have an IEP (Individual Education Plan) which will undergo a quarterly review. This plan will detail the kind of support your child needs and what the school is doing to ensure these are being met.

Just as importantly, the school should ask for you to be involved with developing the plan with the class teacher and SENCO. If additional help is needed for your child, speak with the school to find out what support can be provided at home. It could be something simple, such as finding time as encouraging them to draw more to develop their motor skills

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