Ever since I watched and listened to President Obama’s State of the Union address, I just keep thinking about how important parents, caring adults and communities are in a child’s education. You don’t have to fall within the same political domain as the President to agree with that.
I have worked in the afterschool program arena for the past several years and have seen first hand youth change their attitudes about school and bring up their grades because a parent or adult took the time to assist them. Not all youth are fortunate enough to have parents that can help with their homework, so it’s up to all of us to jump in and get to work. All of us know a child or teenager, whether it’s in the neighborhood or at church, that could use someone to help them succeed.
In President Obama’s State of the Union address he stated:
That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done. We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair. We need to teach them that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.
You may be asking yourself how can I help? There are many places to volunteer, including Youth Services. Volunteers assist the Christmas Box House children with homework on a weekly basis. The Afterschool Programs are always looking for volunteers to help during homework club. You have no idea what a difference 1:1 interaction can do for a child’s education.
For some parents getting their kids to do homework is a nightmare. Youth Services counseling and parenting classes are a great way to learn techniques for you and your child. The parenting class will also help you learn how to communicate better and set boundaries with your child. Remember it takes time and a lot of practice and patience.
Tips to Help your Kids with Homework
The US Department of Education has also provided some great tips for helping youth with their homework:
- Make sure your child has a quiet, well-lit place to do homework.
- Make sure the materials your child needs, such as paper, pencils and a dictionary, are available.
- Help your child with time management.
- Be positive about homework.
- When your child does homework, you do homework.
- When your child asks for help, provide guidance, not answers.
- When the teacher asks that you play a role in homework, do it.
- If homework is meant to be done by your child alone, stay away.
- Stay informed.
- Help your child figure out what is hard homework and what is easy homework.
- Watch your child for signs of failure and frustration.
- Reward progress in homework.
How do you already help children succeed? What are you going to do to help children be more successful with their education. Afterall, the old adage and Whitney Houston were spot on…”the children are our future.”