Parents want their children to do well in school, but they may not realize how much their home life influences their child academically. Though much can be done to improve our schools, children can’t learn as well as they should unless their parents prepare them at home.
Teachers are, of course, an important part of the process. Their personality and their own personal learning skills can enable them to create a climate in the classroom where students want to learn. This is best done in smaller classrooms.
The major issue in whether students learn or not has to do with the kinds of skills and attitudes that students bring to the classroom from home. If students come to school with the right skills and attitudes and support from home, they are more likely to do well.
Some parents have even accepted the difficult challenge of teaching their children at home. Either way, whether parents determine to request help from public or private schools or to do the job at home, PARENTS HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO EDUCATE CHILDREN. Schools only help them to meet this responsibility.
Concentrate on what is happening at home to support what is happening at school. Form a partnership with teachers and the principal to benefit all children. Work at having an active Parent/Teacher/Student Association (PTSA) in your school. Work with the School Board. The School Board system was created in the belief that parents in each local area own the schools. Work together to help create a climate that will meet the needs of children.
After you respond to the questions, look at the discussion of the answers and determine if there is anything you can do to improve the learning climate in your home to help your children become better learners.
Mark the following statements True or False
1. Members of our family help and support one another.
2. We say anything we want as long as the language is appropriate.
3. We tell each other about our personal problems.
4. Financial matters are openly discussed in our family.
5. We are usually careful about what we say to each other.
6. We have many spontaneous discussions in our family.
7. We are not really encouraged to speak up for ourselves.
8. We rarely have intellectual discussions.
1. Activities in our family are fairly carefully planned.
2. Each person’s responsibilities are clearly defined.
3. “Work before play” is the rule in our family.
4. Dishes are usually done immediately after eating.
5. Being on time is important in our family.
6. We put a lot of energy into what we do at home.
7. We are generally neat and orderly.
8. Getting ahead in life is important in our family.
9. Each person is strongly encouraged to be independent.
Nurturance and Affection:
1. Family members are rarely ordered around.
2. Family members often criticize each other.
3. Someone usually gets upset if anyone complains in our family.
4. Family members sometimes hit each other.
5. If there is a disagreement in our family, we try hard to smooth things over and keep the peace at all costs.
6. Family members often try to “out-do” each other.
7. Family members are often compared with others as to how well they are doing at work or school.
8. Family members hardly ever lose their tempers.
9. There is little group spirit in our family.
10. We get along well with each other.
11. There is plenty of time and attention for everyone in our family.
Stable Family Organization:
1. Our family has a few clear fules to follow.
2. Children understand that all behavior has natural consequences.
3. Children and Parents come and go as they please.
4. We have a pattern of doing things at home.
5. We emphasize following the rules.
6. Parents change their minds often on rules and activities.
7. Everyone has an equal contribution to make in family discussions.
8. Children can do whatever we want.
9. Rules are flexible to the point of being inconsistent.
Achievement by Example:
1. Parents frequently read to the children and themselves read where children can see them.
2. Parents often tell about successes they have had in school.
3. When family members accomplish something they are recognized and praised.
4. Parents often help children with their school assignments.
5. Parents say that they are dumb or that they failed in school.
6. Parents communicate that they expect their children to do well in school without pressuring them too much.
7. Parents describe school as a fun place where children can learn and grow.
8. Parents tell their children that teachers are genuinely concerned about them and want to help them.
ANSWERS AND DISCUSSION:
Score 1 point for each of the following answers: 1-T, 2-T, 3-T, 4-T, 5-F, 6-T, 7-F, 8-F.
Each family has its own style of communicating. This includes the range of subjects talked about in the family and how much family members talk to each other. When family members communicate often, children learn to absorb larger and more complex amounts of information. This helps children learn more easily at school. If your conversations are brief or overly simple, your children may have problems paying attention to teachers for more than a few minutes. There are other benefits: talking on a variety of subjects increases a student’s interest in a number of areas, and talking with older more educated family members encourages a larger vocabulary. The more verbal communication there is in the home, the easier it is for children to succeed in the verbal world of school. It is also important that parents spend time listening to children. This will help children learn how to express their thoughts and feelings. This is not only important in school but also in building and maintaining human relationships.
Score 1 point for each true statement.
Families have different styles of accomplishing things but there are four characteristics of productivity that relate closely to achievement in school. These characteristics are:
1. Independent work – children benefit when they have some of their own tasks to perform by a certain time. They learn to do things on their own without close adult supervision and to be responsible. Far too often parents get tired of reminding a child to perform a task and then do it for them. Doing regular tasks helps children greatly with homework and other independent projects.
2. Cooperative work – school requires that children work together on many projects and teams and that they do their share. Cooperation is best taught in the home. It is very difficult for children to learn to work well with others in school if they have not learned to do so at home and have been encouraged in that behavior.
3. Task completion – families need to teach children to stick with a task until it is completed and to overcome frustration. The lack of this skill is probably the greatest cause of failure in school.
4. Pride in achieving – self-esteem is partly determined by feelings of regular accomplishment. Parents need to make sure that their children experience success on a regular basis. False praise does not do any good, but children benefit when they know parents approve of their abilities. If parents are too harsh and critical or too demanding, children may become afraid of failing and have a tendency to refrain from attempting to accomplish anything.
Nurturance and Affection:
Score 1 point for the following: 1-T, 2-F, 3-T, 4-F, 5-F, 6-F, 7-F, 8-T, 9-F, 10-T, 11-T.
The emotional stability of children depends on their belief that people will like them and approve of them. When families are loving and openly nurturing, children will transfer that experience to other situations with school and friends. Research indicates that the strongest and most healthy families are characterized by regular expressions of mutual appreciation among family members. When children are frightened of disapproval and overwhelmed with thoughts of punishment, it is difficult for them to concentrate, perform, and succeed. Avoid using competition to motivate children at home. If they are involved in sports at a young age make sure that the sports program and the coach emphasize participation and doing their best rather than winning. If your children are competitive on their own, stress the importance of enjoying participation in sports and other activities without becoming overly concerned about winning or losing. Teach them that setting and accomplishing their own personal goals is the best form of “winning.” Put pressure on your school and community programs to control destructive competition. Make sure that NO coach in an educational setting feels that his or her job is insecure if they do not have a good enough win-loss record. Instead focus attention on the positive impact they have on the personal growth and development of team members.
Stable Family Organization:
Score 1 point for the following: 1-T, 2-T, 3-F, 4-T, 5-T, 6-F, 7-T, 8-F, 9-F.
There is clear evidence that successful children come from families where rules and routines are a part of family life. Parents in these families are able to set up positive routines for such events as meals, getting up in the morning, going to bed, family trips, and so on. All family members tell each other where they are going and when they will be back. Parents know where their children are and children know the whereabouts of their parents.
Achievement by Example:
Score 1 point for each of the following: 1-T, 2-T, 3-T, 4-T, 5-F, 6-T, 7-T, 8-T.
Children form attitudes about achieving and learning based on the example parents set. Parents who dwell on negative school experiences tend to transmit negative attitudes to their children, who are then led to expect the same types of experiences. If parents do not show that they feel learning and school are important by their behavior and their conversations, then children are not likely to feel that education is very important.
Forty-five points are possible on this quiz. The more points you score, the better the family is doing at helping children succeed in school. For this test to really be helpful, go back and mark the questions for which you receive no points. Then, as a family, set concrete goals to improve in those areas.