Helping to Get The Best Out of Your Child's Education

Re-printed from Michelle's Weebly blog

Feeling like your child isn't as motivated as he or she could be? Worried about his or her grades, organization, behavior or overall performance in school? Well, hopefully this blog entry will be helpful to you! The first and most important step in getting the most out of your child's education is communication...communicate with your child--listen to what he or she has to say and sympathize with his or her situation. Make an effort to communicate with teachers and administrators at your child's school. You may even want to look into communicating with other parents in the school community for support or advice. Next, you may want to find out what type of learner your child is. This can not only help greatly with facilitating better communication between you and your child and teachers, but can also assist you to know how best to approach teachers for help and for how best to step in and provide assistance yourself when your child has a difficult homework question. There is something called the Multiple Intelligence Theory, which is a definition that many educators utilize to determine how they should teach their students as individuals and meet their specific learning needs. Basically, this theory describes many different types of learning strengths that people can have. If we can learn to communicate and teach each other in ways that are conducive to each of our best learning styles, it can make school, communication, work, and many other aspects of life much easier! Want to learn more about Multiple Intelligence Theory or to find out what type of learner you or your child are? Take this free interactive quiz online: http://www.literacyworks.org/mi/assessment/findyourstrengths.html Once you determine what type of learner you or someone else is, it will help you to know how to interact with that person in much more meaningful, productive, and beneficial ways. For example, if your child turns out to be a highly kinesthetic and visual learner, that means he or she needs to be DOING something and SEEING something to learn it best...not just being told how to do something. In this case, the child would need to see it being done and then would need to try it with positive coaching to truly have it be understood and retained. Another important thing to remember is that children and especially adolescents often mirror the way that we approach them when we are concerned. For example, if you approach your child in an angry fashion about a grade, your child will likely feel threatened and become defensive, shutting down and not wanting to hear anything you have to say. He or she may then respond with anger as well, which won't help you to find out anything or to remedy the situation. If, on the other hand, you approach your child with the same grade, first finding something positive to say (about anything having to do with school) as a way to introduce the topic, then CALMLY addressing the grade and asking (with genuine concern and sympathy) your child what happened in that class or with that test, you will likely see a very different response from that child. He or she will probably not feel nearly as threatened by this approach and will likely "spill the beans" about what was happening with the situation to cause the grade issue. At that point, just listen. Hear your child out and ask questions to see if and how you can help. Interestingly, adults often mirror our approach, too. So, approaching teachers and administrators in a positive, proactive, "teamwork" type of way often helps them to want to help you and your child much more. One other tidbit of advice is to try to see yourself through your child's eyes as much as possible. Is your method of parenting "Do as I say and not as I do" (meaning does your child see you as disorganized or not fulfilling your own responsibilities and obligations...or do you cut your child off when he or she is speaking, then expect him or her to listen to everything you say)? Does your child see you as unapproachable or judgemental or always in a hurry? Or, do you help your child to feel safe and loved without judgement to express him or herself and to trust you enough to approach you regularly for advice and support without too many time restrictions? Modeling and regularly explaining the kind of behavior you want to see in your child will be very helpful. If you'd like more information, there are many wonderful books and websites that can help students, parents, and teachers in situations like this. You can also comment below with specific questions or tips...or you can feel free to contact us at Harmony Way at any time for support or advice!

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