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Going back to school a family affair

Back-to-School time is here with classes beginning next week. All families know that in reality Back-to-School time is most definitely a family affair. It’s not just about the kids. It takes everyone in the family to get the new school year off to a good start. Families must adjust to a new schedule, buy school supplies, meet teachers, set up after-school activities, plan carpools, lunches and on and on.

Sometimes, the family tasks associated with the new school year seem overwhelming, but it’s still an exciting time as the children begin the next phase of their lives.

We wish all our kids a successful year filled with the joy and excitement of learning. School doesn’t have to be drudgery, nor should it be something children dread. One way to get rid of any drudgery is for school to truly become a family affair. Parents can enhance the education experience by talking to their kids and being involved in what’s occurring in their classrooms.

It takes more than, “Do you have any homework?” and “Well, get it done.” It takes having an interest in what the homework is, talking to your children about it, supplementing the learning, and figuring out what subjects most interest your little munchkins and which might be giving them trouble.

Parents can find interesting articles or pictures about what they are studying, they can show them how to use fractions when cooking, talk to them about difficult concepts, get more information from the library or the internet, and keep up with when projects are due. And, maybe the most important is being interested in what happens each day. Let them know you want to hear about their book report or the next thing they learned in math.

The ideas are endless, the internet is filled with ideas for teaching your kids, and the library is a wonderful asset. We did some internet research, intending to make suggestions for where to look for ideas, but there are so many sites we decided we couldn’t choose. But there is no shortage of support, and your child’s teacher will also have ideas.

We haven’t mentioned reading yet, but we all know encouraging children to read is critical to their success. Having more knowledge about what is going on in the classroom may help parents select reading materials that connect with the kids’ studies or books that are about something that has peaked the child’s interest.

Our teachers are doing a great job, but parents can help them by continuing their children’s education at home. Supplementing what’s going on at school will not only help your child be successful, but it reinforces that doing well in school is important. We all want our children to be excited about learning and look forward to the next new thing they will discover; this is one way to make learning joyful and to create your own life-long learner.

School is – and should be – a family affair. We don’t just turn our children’s education over to the school system; we should be a partner at home by building on what is going on at school. It is the parents’ job to create a positive attitude toward school and learning.

There is no better investment in your child’s future than a good education. Make it a family affair.

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