When parents plant seeds of the importance of education early in their kids' lives, they protect them from potential criminal behavior, decreased health and mortality, and increase the likelihood of their civic participation, according to Lance Lochner, associate professor of economics and director at the CIBC Center for Human Capital and Productivity at the University of Ontario. While many modern families are busy with full-time jobs, extracurricular activities and other responsibilities, it's essential that parents instill positive, educational values in their children for lifelong success.
Many teachers assign students homework to deepen their understanding of classroom assignments. Peg Dawson, Ed.D., NCSP, with the National Association of School Psychologists, reports that while there are mixed reviews about the link between homework and academic achievement -- some researchers have found that homework mainly benefits high school students, moderately benefits middle school students and has minimal benefit for younger kids -- there are other benefits to assigning homework to students, such as teaching them to manage time and tasks, get organized and problem solve. When teachers assign homework assignments, parents should enforce completion of these assignments to help their children develop a work ethic and practical life skills.
The most significant contributing factor to a child's academic achievement is parental involvement, says Anita Gurian, Ph.D., with the NYU Child Study Center, and research compiled in 2006 by P. Elizabeth Pate, associate professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio and Gayle Andrews, professor at the University of Georgia, and published on the Association for Middle Level Education's website. Parental involvement includes reading to younger children at home, volunteering in the classroom, joining parent-teacher associations and attending parent-teacher conferences. Gurian notes that "By actively participating in their child's education at home and in school, parents send some critical messages to their child; they're demonstrating their interest in his/her activities and reinforcing the idea that school is important." Gurian also says that kids with parents who are involved in their academics do better academically, go farther in school and attend better schools.
Parents should promote appropriate classroom behavior in order to encourage academic achievement in their children. In a 2011 study published in the journal "American Behavioral Scientist," researchers studied 14,537 kindergarten children in 2,109 classrooms, and found that children with behavioral problems, such as aggression and inattention, were likely to have low academic achievement. If parents recognize any behavioral issues in their children, it's best to seek help immediately. Talk with your school counselor and ask about behavior modification techniques, such as using rewards and consequences, that can redirect negative behaviors. If behavioral problems persist or seem severe, contact a mental health professional immediately.
Former clinical psychologist and author Dr. Spencer Kagan, and Miguel Kagan, with Kagan Publishing and Professional Development, a company designed to improve student engagement and academic achievement, say children have eight areas of intelligence, and thrive intellectually in homes that are conducive to these various types of learning. For example, a few areas of intelligence listed by Kagan and Kagan include verbal/linguistic, visual/spatial and bodily/kinesthetic intelligences. Children who have plenty of books in the home will likely enhance their verbal and linguistic skills. Similarly, Kagan and Kagan state that home environments with arts and crafts supplies help children strengthen their visual and spatial skills, and having sports equipment and drawing supplies helps children develop gross and fine motor skills, respectfully. Parents should also ensure that during learning time, all distractions, such as TV and social media, are shut off to create a quiet, learning environment.
- Voxeu.org: The Impacts of Education on Crime, Health and Mortality, and Civic Participation
- National Association of School Psychologists: Resources: Homework: A Guide for Parents
- Association for Middle Level Education: NMSA Research Summary: Parental Involvement (2006)
- NYU Child Study Center: Involved Parents: The Hidden Resource in Their Children's Education
- American Behavioral Scientist: Links Between Young Children's Behavior and Achievement
- Kagan Online: Raising Smarter Children - Creating an Enriched Learning Environment
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