As parents, we are ALL in a unique position to offer our students the very best education possible. Parents are primarily responsible for their child's educational needs and to ensure that their children are learning what they need to learn. I sincerely believe that parents need to be involved in education. When schools close down, where do the children go? Home to parents. When they're sick who is their primary caretaker? Parents. When children are absent from school, who is held responsible for attendance? Parents. Not to mention the most important fact that your children were a gift from God to raise in the knowledge of Him. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 & 11:19, Proverbs 1:8-9 & 22:6, Ephesians 6:1-4)
Whether you are a trained teacher or not, parents are a child's greatest educational asset. How do you become your child's greatest educational asset?
I believe the first step is admitting this is the most important job God gave you.
The second is admitting that sometimes we need help.
I cannot tell you where I'd be without Paul Tripp's guidance in his book, Shepherding a Child's Heart or the wisdom of the woman who discipled me for close to a decade! Or the countless teachers whose experience, research, and education have inspired me. As an educational consultant, my goal is to journey alongside parents - giving them the same tools that have proven successful for me in a classroom - whether that was at home with youngsters, with tutoring students, or in a classroom of junior high and high school students. But it's also to give encouragement, support, tips, tools, and awesome freebies.
Since everyone is currently homeschooling, I thought I'd take the time to offer some tools and some encouragement! This time at home could offer the potential for enormous growth! So take advantage.
How do you take advantage?
Tap into what your student enjoys and capitalize on it. For example, my children LOVE learning about animals. Thankfully the Cincinnati Zoo features an animal a day during this Coronavirus quarantine on their Facebook page and we've been featuring a follow-up lesson on my Facebook page. I know that businesses, museums, and organizations are offering an unprecedented number of free resources during this quarantine. I'm almost positive that a simple Google search will find something out there for every interest in the book and if you're struggling to find something, contact me, we can brainstorm together.
Why is this important? The more a student knows the more they want to know. The more they want to know, the more questions they ask, the more likely they are to read about it, search for more information, write about it, share it, talk about it, and appreciate your efforts to help them enjoy learning.
This concept of motivation is true for reading as well as writing. Give them something they want to read and something they want to write, and they will work hard at accomplishing it. That requires tapping into what they're interested in. As a parent, you have a front-row seat to this opportunity.
Make Goals, Smash Them, Reward Them
The research points to the fact that rewards such as candy and toys show very little motivational results in comparison to rewards that encourage the behavior you're trying to attain. So when you think about making goals with your reader think about rewards that help them obtain a desire to read further. Some ideas:
(Relating to what we just talked about) An experience that relates to something they read (i.e. a trip to the zoo if you read a book about all the animals this zoo houses, an experience I had with a former student: read about trap shooting and then go trap shooting together, read about a certain time period and visit a museum with antiques pertaining to that time, read a book about a certain art technique and take an art class together - anything to build upon that knowledge will, in turn, create memorable experiences that solidify what they read)
A book shopping spree where they get to pick books to add to their bookshelf that includes a treat of your choice (my girls would pick bubble tea or ice cream). They absolutely love shopping for books and enjoying that little treat.
We recently read Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder where she described a meal that her mother fed the harvesters that helped Pa with his crop. Instantly my children wanted to experience that meal. I made them a deal: the moment we finished that book, we would celebrate by making that meal together. They couldn't wait!
Ultimately books provide opportunities to be together, which is what a child most desires. I read some really sad statistics reported by Scholastic's survey titled, National Survey of Kids and Parents, where parents admitted that although they heard through family and friends that they needed to read to their children only thirty percent actually did so. That means that the large majority of parents did not read to their children. Therefore, if you do read with your children daily, I applaud you! You are also the minority. This makes complete sense when I consider the small data collecting I did in my own classroom over the course of five years with the thirty-plus seventh graders I saw each year. Over half of them came to me reading at or below the fourth-grade reading level and of those that struggled, the majority of them had no memory of their parents reading to them nor could they recall a favorite childhood book.
Don't be that parent.
Be that parent who continues to read to your child as often as their little hearts desire it. Because here is the other stat that you'll find interesting: of the students that Scholastic researchers interviewed, those kiddos whose parents stopped reading to them, sixty percent of them wish it never stopped. Also, boys were more likely to admit this than girls. I hope you find that shocking and motivating. Your kids want your time. Don't hesitate to give it because these years are fleeting. Soon you'll blink and they'll be moving out. Don't waste these years. One of the ways to accomplish that is through the simple task of reading books together and following it up with a related, amazing experience!
If you're interested in more tips and tools in order to avoid the summer slide, sign up for a FREE workshop where you will receive fun tips, tools & strategies that will enable your student to gain reading skills in:
With the extended summer upon us, don't wait! Plan ahead so you prevent summer reading loss and your reader goes into the 2020-2021 school year ahead!
When: Friday, May 8 @ 2:00 pm
How to sign up: Email Rebecca Lowery (firstname.lastname@example.org) expressing your interest in this workshop!
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