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The Way to An A

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Parents’ Role in Student Success

It’s been said parenthood is the toughest job you’ll ever love. From the time children are born, moms’ and dads’ lives can be simultaneously joy-filled and anxiety-ridden.

Balancing nutrition with busy lives, playtime with reading time and time commitments split between family and friends can all add to the day-to-day chaos many parents experience.

Most parents work hard to provide the best childhood they can for their children, and that’s a good thing.

When it comes to a child’s academic endeavors, the very best predictors of student achievement are parental involvement. A child who is successful and engaged at school is likely to have a parent (or two) at home who is engaged with that child’s school work on a day-to-day basis.

When it comes to a child who has fallen behind in the classroom, consistency at home is extra important.

The key to student improvement is unusual effort. This means parents and students must be willing to put in the time and energy it takes to reach success. If parents and students work together consistently and correctly, the result isn’t just high grades but an improvement in the child’s self-esteem and self-confidence.

How can parents help?

Encourage Success

One role as a parent is simply in knowing the two key ingredients of being successful: the right attitude and motivation.

You can help your child develop a positive attitude toward academics by setting specific goals and encouraging confidence in their abilities.

To help your student become more motivated, change the way they approach schoolwork. Instead of viewing it as something they have to do, show them schoolwork is something to be conquered. Allow children to set their own standards, and when they accomplish a goal praise and reward them. Show them successfully completed academic work is an accomplishment worthy of celebration.

Set Goals

To do this, write down your child’s goals with them so they can keep track of their short-term, midrange and long-term goals. Short-term goals may include finishing and turning in every assignment on time or having a grade goal that they try to achieve every week. Midrange goals help achieve a long-term goal, such as getting accepted into a good college so they can become a doctor or a journalist. 

Inspire your child to set goals outside the classroom as well. Extracurricular goals might include trying out for a sports team, the band or the school play. Creating a well-rounded student helps foster a positive attitude and improves motivation about school.

Oversee Homework

Homework is for the student, but making sure it gets done is the parents’ responsibility.

Make sure your child understands the importance of turning assignments in on time. Turning in assignments late or not at all negatively affects their overall grade. When assignments are turned in on time, it creates a consistent goal they can achieve. It also serves as test practice that will positively affect the student’s test scores.

Check in with your child to stay ahead of homework, and review any homework grades they have received. Go over missed problems together, and average their assignments for each subject so they can see if they met their grade goal for the week. If they did not meet their goal, come up with a plan together to improve their average and reach their goal.

When your child is doing homework, encourage them to do as much of their work by themselves before helping. The main role of the parent is to enforce a consistent study schedule so grades and independence can improve.

A parent’s role in day-to-day homework is crucial to long-term student success. The real lesson here is simple: the Way to an A begins – and ends – at home

Jan Barrick with Nowata Students
Jan at Rotary International Club 29

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