There is a lot of pressure on parents to raise successful kids. There is a lot of discussion of the importance of parental involvement in their child’s education as being key to academic success. This is true, and may seem daunting given the myriad of options for enrichment, parental involvement committees, support services, test prep for four year olds, high stakes admissions processes… This is a lot for a parent to face.
So, if the goal is to raise academically successful children, then determining where to put your efforts and energies is important. In terms of teaching a child, giving them the lessons you believe will be critical to their overall educational and future successes, is as simple as modeling the points you want to make.
Modeling is, without a doubt, one of the most effective teaching strategies. It is a form of direct instruction, and simply put, showing by doing. When you read with a young child and point to the words on the page, that is modeling. When you teach your child how to fix a flat tire, that is modeling. When you show them how to solve a conflict, that is modeling. Taking a continuing education course is a great form of modeling.
Showing a child how to do things, takes time. That time equates to parental involvement of the best kind. It forms bonds, creates funny moments, evokes memories – all of which are also crucial to effective learning. Bonds create relevancy, funny moments are memorable, memories are strong, and these things stay with a child, making the time spent extremely worthwhile – and educational.
Parents can model important skills and ways of thinking, or critical thinking skills. When you discuss the value of a tv show with a child, critical thinking skills are being modeled. So, go ahead and watch cartoons with your kids, then talk about them. Ask them questions, allow them to speculate and they will begin to develop their own skills of analytic thinking.
Parental involvement is key, and it starts at home. Parents are busy, and should not be made to feel like they are tinkering with the academic fate of their child for not joining five committees while shuttling a child between five activities. Talking, showing and doing things with children amount to a heavy dose of parental involvement and functions in a cognitively supportive role in ways we only realize when we think about what we have learned from our own parents and role models.
Enjoy your time with your kids.
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