With spring break upon us and summer just around the corner, parents and boarding school students may be thinking about how to make the home environment condusive to learning and open communication in the time to come. For most children, education generally starts in the home. While parents may opt to send their children to boarding school for a period of time, the real teachers remain those closest to the students. Teachers can do a great deal to help children reach their fullest academic potential, but without the help of those who support the children at home, their learning experiences will only go so far. More and more, you hear of educators reaching out to parents and caretakers of students with the hopes of getting them to be more involved in the process of educating students when they return home from boarding school for a vacation, a season, or to continue their education outside of boarding school.
What some parents and guardians are unaware of is that getting involved in their child’s education and learning experiences requires a lot more than just helping them with their school projects while home on break or leave. As stated previously, parents are the first and most significant role models in helping to develop the child’s ability to learn in school. It is the parents that help children develop the character they need to self motivate and be confident in themselves and their abilities to live and learn away from home.
Reading is Fundamental
One of the most significant ways that you can enhance your child’s learning experiences is to have them continue to read and delve into knowledge while away from campus. Depending upon the age of the child, reading should go well beyond just reading fiction novels. It should encompass comprehension skills that might include asking them questions about the book and discussing the information that have read. Reading should also vary in categories including fiction and nonfiction stories.
Explore Learning through Everyday Experiences
Every day is a new opportunity for children to learn something new. Teachers encourage parents to enhance their child’s learning experiences by applying what they learn in school to everyday life. For instance, when cooking having your child help you or take over when age appropriate. Show them how to incorporate real life with math or reading skills. Your child’s teacher may have other ideas of how you can take everyday experiences and turn them into a lesson while away from boarding school.
Any institution becomes a community – whether it’s a high school or a boarding school or a publishing company or a small town where everybody knows certain things about people.
Ask Your Children about Their Studies
Parents don’t have to wait until they receive a bad report card or notice from a teacher to find out how their child is doing in boarding school. It is imperative that parents are involved in what their children are learning in school. Ask your child about what they are learned every time you speak with them. Ask open ended questions that give you insight as to what they are having trouble comprehending, and even what their favorite subjects and activities are. When they see that their parents are interested in what they’re learning, this will open up a new door for you to help further their understanding and praise them for their hard work and effort while away from home. This will also help the learning and open lines of communication continue when they return home.
Stay in Constant Contact with Your Child’s Teachers
Another important tip for enhancing your child’s learning experience is to remain in contact with the teachers. Parents often wait for teachers to reach out to them before they show concern. If you work hours that prevent you from taking a visit to the school and campus or you live too far away, you can always send an email to the teacher to find out updates about your children. The teacher is able to give you information on how your child is learning, and what areas they need help in. They can also provide you with resources and tools to help further their education when away from campus.
Celebrate the Uniqueness of Your Child
All too often, parents put a high level of expectations on their children. While students should aim to be their best, parents who strongly stress the importance of getting an A in every subject all the time can put a lot of stress on a child’s ability to learn to their fullest potential. It is important that parents learn to realize that not every child will receive an A in every subject, and that each child has something that they are uniquely good at in school. Learn to accept your child’s best and praise their uniqueness as much as possible. When they realize the pressures to “succeed” are not at such as high level they tend to do much better in learning.
Allow Your Child to make “Mistakes” on Their Own
It would be nice if your child got every question right on a test; however, that is far from reality. Some parents take a “hand holding” approach to assisting their children in learning. However, this isn’t nearly as possible when they are away at boarding school. What must be understood is that in order to learn there has to be some trial and error along the way. Some of the most successful students are those that are able to be responsible and organized on their own. These skills are learned through experience and mistakes. Parents who provide answers to questions or do the work for their children are only hindering their abilities to learn not only in school, but in life as well.
Set Household Rules
Many public and private school teachers agree that part of the reason students are not able to learn as they should in the classroom is because either they have not learned about respect and discipline or other students within the class who have not learned these values distract them. Schools are not supposed to handle disciplinary actions as often as they do. In order to enhance your child’s learning experiences there should be rules and consequences within the home so that children learn to respect authority and make the right decisions. While away at boarding school, there are many rules that must be followed to maintain a safe learning and living environment. It is important to enforce similar rules when your child is away from campus.
Give Them Praise and Encouragement
You should be your child’s number one fan. Whether they get an A on a math test they’ve been studying for or they’ve learned a new skill, it is imperative that you give them praise whenever you can. One of the biggest learning enhancers for children is high self esteem. A child who feels good about themselves is more likely to try more things and learn more than one who feels bad that they didn’t make the grade.