When you look back at your own educational experience, what stands out? What or who made a lasting impression on you? Does a specific test or stellar grades come to mind? Or are your outstanding memories the lessons themselves? – The ones you learned from parents, mentors, and perhaps a teacher who invested in you in some way? When you reflect on your own educational history, how do you want to share your story with the children you parent, teach or mentor?
The new school year has just begun, and how you approach it now will determine just how successful it will be for you and your children or students. The reality is this: the most important and lasting lessons aren’t the ones that rely on test scores and grades to define their quality. Rather, personal skills and abilities, such as taking initiative, critical thinking, collaboration, respect, imagination, honesty, and willingness to learn – are what truly encompass the reality of success. If you want your child to learn this school year – and develop admirable character that benefits themselves and the future that they will create – then demonstrate to them that grades are only part of the equation. Incorporate daily routines that reinforce these values consistently, regardless of whatever homework may (or may not be) assigned.
1. Set aside a daily “connect” time. Designate a time each day where you and your children eliminate all other distractions and really talk about your day. Ask about their experiences, relationships, fears, aspirations, weaknesses, etc. Just giving your child attention and quality time will open doors to communicating in the future.
2. Celebrate the triumphs. Don’t let effort go unnoticed. If your child overcame an obstacle –even a small one – show them that you care, and that you are proud of their accomplishments.
3. Acknowledge the mistakes in a constructive way. No one is perfect, and without disappointments, we would never appreciate the victories. If your child is struggling with a certain teacher, assignment or subject, listen to their fears and proactively seek out help. Again, communication goes a long way. Talk to your child’s teachers and guidance counselors. Consider hiring a tutor to give your child individual help and a boost to their self-confidence.
4. Encourage your child to read EVERY DAY. No excuses. Reading will develop your child’s vocabulary, comprehension, imagination, and improve their writing skills. It will also give them exposure to situations and experiences that force them to evaluate others and determine appropriate reactions. Reading will help your child to grow emotionally, and will teach them about life.
5. Discuss expectations for the school year. Directly express your points of concern to your child, and listen to theirs. Set specific goals and embrace your child’s individual abilities and interests. If you want to be informed, then stay involved. If your family tends to be busy, consider keeping a weekly schedule or calendar displayed in a common area so everyone can be included in the week’s activities and set realistic expectations.
Ultimately, this school year can be the turning point in your child’s education – and in your relationship with them. Ask yourself: “What should we value this school year?” Life is short, and your time to make a lasting impression is now. You will teach your child how to approach life by how you set expectations, communicate, and model desired behavior. This year, instill qualities that cannot be measured by grades alone. Help your child experience TRUE success by teaching them how to grow from the inside out. Then, they can walk confidently into their future with values that can never be taken away, and lessons that will never be forgotten.
If you’d like some more information on how to start your family on the path to success, contact Triumph Tutoring, Inc., where each of our certified, experienced tutors emphasize confidence building – and work with both parents and students to maximize learning and character development.