Supporting your Child's Education
You can help your children at home by supporting their education and development.
Like many of us, you may have forgotten what you learnt at school or perhaps you are not confident or familiar with new teaching methods. If this is you, there are Adult learning courses available.
Toddlers and young children require new and different experiences and the chance to try out new skills.
Time and Effort
Two of the most important things you can give your child(ren) are time and positive attention; by playing with them, noticing what they're doing and praising the efforts they make.
Talk as much as you can. Chat together, ask questions and sing rhymes will help your child's language development, as well as helping them learn about the world around them.
Children learn through doing. They need to be physically active and have a go. In the same way they will learn how to get on with other people by mixing with other children.
Children learn at different rates and will not be able to do things before they're ready. Don't push them, you both could end up feeling frustrated and your child may lose confidence.
Studies have shown that boys spend less time playing with their parent and doing things like singing and looking at books together. You may need to make more of an effort to involve boys in these activities to make sure they don't lose out.
Get involved in your child’s education at every stage.
How you can do this
Get the curriculum for the term and find out what your child will be learning
Meet with your child’s tutor, you shouldn’t have to wait for parent’s evening
Find out how your child has performed in tests and assessments
Are their results better than last year or their last test? If not, what is the school doing to help support them get better results
Ask the teacher what you can do to help them at home
Get involved with homework. This could be talking about it, learning from them, or even researching the topic together
When your child starts school it can be an exciting time but can also be an anxious time for the whole family. Here are some tips which you may find helpful if you have a child who is starting school for the first time.
Visiting the school before the big start day
Going to school for the first time is a big event for children. Visit the school before your child starts. Most schools will provide opportunities for parents and children to visit. Even though your child may not remember where everything is, at least the journey and teachers will be more familiar on their first day.
Sometimes children's behaviour can becomes babyish when they start school. They can swing from being dependent one minute to independent the next. Be patient with them, give them a cuddle and show a genuine interest in their worries.
Establish a routine
Mornings can be especially stressful for both of you. Establish a morning routine and make sure your child has breakfast. Give yourself and your child enough time to get ready in the morning especially if they are beginning to dress themselves.
Show a genuine interest in everything your child does, both in school and at home, encourage them to talk to you about how they are feeling, but beware of turning interest into pressure.
You don't need to go over the top with praise and it is often better to show interest and encouragement. This will help them to feel confident and secure. Don't be afraid to constantly tell them you love them.
Time to relax
When children start school the day can be very long and tiring for them - allow them time to relax when they get home. Children have a continuing need for love, support and encouragement from those who love them most.
Spend time together
Try to spend even a small amount of time doing something together each day, even if this is just watching their favourite TV programme with them and talking to them about it.
Starting school is an anxious time for all children. Having fun and playing with your child helps to alleviate some of the anxiety, and play helps children to manage new situations and develop social skills.
Talk to the teacher
Make a point of talking to your child's teacher if you are worried about anything at all. It's best to voice concerns early on even if you think that it's just a small thing. Regularly attend parents' evenings and school meetings - it shows your child and the school that you are interested in how everything is going.
Look after yourself
Parents today have a difficult and complex job to do but parents don't need to be perfect. Make sure you look after yourself and have people to talk to when you need to. Try to spend some time thinking about your own life and priorities.
Exam time is a stressful for the whole family, expect outbursts and try to remain calm.
Some useful tips:
Make sure you know what is expected of your child, when their exams will be and when coursework needs to be handed in.
Find out what revision techniques are recommended by the school, and check out online revision sites
If you have any concerns or questions, contact the school rather than relying on your child to do it; most teachers have email addresses which can be useful if they are hard to contact
Try and work with your child and support them rather than ‘policing’ them
Let your child know that you are there if they need you, but don’t expect them to share all their worries, many just won’t
Encourage your child to have regular breaks, to do something they enjoy, even if it’s just half an hour off for their favourite soap, or listening to music.
Make sure they eat healthy snacks regularly, and drink enough so they don’t get dehydrated
Children have different ways of revising, some may prefer to be alone, others work best surrounded by noise and family
Respect their body clocks, many teenagers are more alert during the night and this may be the best time for them to revise even though it makes parents anxious
Reassure them that if they do not get their expected grades, there will be other opportunities ahead, and they should just do their best
Try and plan something nice for when it’s all over: reward them for trying their best, however they feel it went
If you feel exam stress is making an existing emotional or behavioural problem worse, please contact the agencies on the left.
Whatever your child's age why not pick up a book and inspire your child to explore books, look at pictures and start reading or make up their own story.
You can even join in with the annual National share a Story month events which take place in clubs, theatres, museums, schools and libraries where you can listen to the stories being spun with magic between the breath of the teller and the ear of the listener.
Storytime can be lots of fun and can be done every day, make it a cuddle time, sitting close and having fun reading a book together, looking at pictures, making up stories which will also help develop imaginative play. Children also learn through copying others so it’s important for your child to see you reading too.
Children love bedtime stories and are never too old for you to read to them or let them read to you.
Libraries also offer storytelling times for you and your child.
Write a Story
Why not encourage your child to write a story it does not have to be lengthy or be 100 words or more it can be short and flash. Flash is a really short story. It contains everything you would write in an ordinary short story, but it's much more condensed.
You could also join in the National Flash Fiction Day held in each year and help develop those budding young writers and open up a whole new world.
Every summer sees the National launch of the Summer Reading Challenge
There is also have an all year round Reading Challenge website which helps you keep track of your reading, find new books to read, take part in competitions and play games.
Books and reading can also help older children to understand and gain knowledge in different subjects and help explore their interests.
Libraries can offer homework help as well as book clubs/groups. The Britannica online library is just one resource available for all ages and offers an introductory level for young students or an intermediate level for students aged 10 to 14, including and advance level for older students and adults.
Children and teenagers
Visit your local library or use their online services. Membership and Books are free.
Elective Home Education is how the Department for Education describes parents’ decision to provide education for their children at home instead of sending them to school. This is different to home tuition provided by a local authority or education provided by a local authority other than at school.
The Fatherhood Institute: how fathers' impact on their children's learning and achievement.
The Family Learning team: run courses in Schools and Family Centres across Buckinghamshire.
Bucks Libraries online reference resources: available even if you don't have a library card, joining is free.
Britannica Library: the Award-Winning Resource for Children and Adults.