Advice & Help

Educating Begins At Home

Parents and Guardians, another school term has begun, in fact, one month is already completed* can you believe that?* and so for many children they have already taken their first step on the educational pathway. It is now the parents/guardians duty to help chart the children’s progress, to participate whole-heartedly in their development and to attend PTA meetings and other social activities put on by the school.

How can I help my child?

As parents, we must often strive to provide consistent, positive examples for our children. Our involvement and support can influence our children’s attitudes and personal interest and ultimately their academic achievements. We are our children’s first and most important teacher. When we help our children to read and write and to think critically, we begin to open the door to their world of learning. For your child, learning to read can begin with listening to you reading stories and newspaper articles. Education commences at the mother’s knee, and every word spoken within the hearing of little children tends towards the formation of character. (Hosea Ballou)

It is very important to talk about ideas in a book or magazine or on the television/radio and to ask questions that encourage your child to think and let your child talk to you about his or her responses to what has been read, heard or seen. Listening and speaking are a child’s introduction to language and literacy.

What tips can I use?

  • Tell family stories about yourself, your child’s grandparents and other relatives.
  • Encourage your child to talk to you about his or her day, sports or any other activities.
  • Ask many questions so that your child knows you are interested in what he or she is thinking or saying.
  • Do not interrupt! Let your child find the words he or she wants to use.

Make reading and writing fun.

  • Read all kinds of materials- stories, poems, informational books, magazines, newspaper articles and comics.
  • Read aloud with drama and excitement! Use different voices for different characters in a story. (You can use your child’s name instead of a character’s name.)
  • Re-read your child’s favourite stories as many times as your child wants to hear them, and choose books and authors that your child enjoys.

Read Every Day.

Set aside a special time each day when you can give full attention to reading with your child.

Children respond well to routine, and reading is something that you and your child can look forward to everyday. This will no doubt help your child to focus and learn well at school and to develop a strong bond between you and your child.

As your child learns to read, it is very important to listen to him or her read aloud but do remember your reactions are very important. Above all, listen without interrupting. Be enthusiastic and praise your child as often as you can. Be patient, allow your child to figure out tricky words. Show your child how he or she can learn from mistakes. Education is the leading of human souls to what is best, and making what is best out of them. (John Ruskin)

Make sure your child selects books that are not too difficult. Don’t worry if your child chooses books that are a little easier that the ones he or she uses at school. On the other hand, if your child chooses a book that is slightly above his or her grade level, praise your child for choosing it and be prepared to help where necessary. Your child will see that it is good to challenge oneself.

After reading, discuss the story so that you are sure the child has a good understanding of the text. Our Progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource. (John F Kennedy)

It is important for you to encourage your child and to show that you have confidence in him or her. Avoid comparing your child’s performance with that of other children. Remember that learning to read and write does not take place all at once. In addition, learning to read and write is not always easy, and children need to know that everyone learns at different rates. Children learn to read and write over time with lots of practice and continual support from parents and teachers. Education is the passport to our future. (Malcolm X)

About the author

Kharl Daley