Of course you’ll know how important your influence, support and love for your child will all play really important parts in how your child grows, learns and interacts with others and the world around them. But we all start out on this important job as amateurs and learn as we go along. One aspect of your role which is sometimes not so clear is how you support your child with their learning and especially when they are at school. Is it best left to the school to get on with or are there things you could be doing or should be doing? Different schools and different parents will have different ways of looking at this but it is certainly true that, whatever your views, parents play a key and fundamental role in the education of your children. But where to start?
There can be no doubt that most parents want to play a role in their child’s education. But there are lots of barriers that can get in the way of you doing as much as you might like. These barriers are very varied but will include things like:
|Low levels of literacy and numeracy and, of increasing importance, digital literacy|
|Personal aspiration and self-esteem|
|Your own experience of school and whether that was positive or negative|
One other key factor is the degree to which your child’s school welcomes your involvement and this varies considerably from school to school. Even if your involvement is encouraged – what advice and guidance is there on how to help – all very difficult to understand especially as your child gets older and it becomes more difficult to understand what and how they are learning.
Research shows that children who are better supported at home tend to perform better at school and this is not surprising really. But the quality of that support is important too and this is where technology can really help. Schools are increasingly able to work with you to help with your child’s learning and they can do this is a number of ways:
|Providing you with up-to-date information on what is expected of your child and where they might be struggling. Not once per term at a Parent’s Evening but every week and more often even if necessary|
|Your school giving you access to the school “Learning Environment” if they use one and this is where you can look at the curriculum, for instance, as well your child’s progress in terms of grades and meeting expected standards.|
|Giving you better information on the approach being taken by teachers so you can support that in conversations with your children.|
|Where necessary, schools can help you access ICT support on adult literacy and numeracy skills.|
|Something that all parents worry about – Internet safety and schools can help by providing you with information and advice about that.|
|Giving you free access to a whole wealth of learning materials to support your child’s learning at home.|
|Offering you “Clinic” sessions to handle technical problems including home connection to broadband and printer issues, for instance.|
|Work that you can participate in that will help you and the school to better understand the value of different approaches to parental engagement.|
So – as a parent you are vital not only to your child’s success but to how well the school can work with you, your child and others. The extra time for learning as well as having an involved and empowered parent is a real key to success for all children.