The following guest post was written by Christine Howell who frequently writes about Online Education Degrees and college related topics for Online College Guru, an online college directory and comparison website.
Parental participation in their child’s schooling can dramatically improve student performance and reinforce the positive relationship bonds between a parent and their child. Doing homework together is probably the single most effective technique for improving a student’s performance, but it can be difficult. It is very easy to ask your child if they have done their homework. It is much harder to plan frequent time to do homework together with them, but that is in fact the best way to obtain good results.
Be the Rabbit for your Runner
Runners and other athletes often employ others to accompany them in training and competition because this accompaniment acts as a motivational device. When one is a student, it can be very difficult to maintain a high level of academic motivation. Life is quite complicated and young people are often so busy learning about themselves and other people in their world that there is little space left for interest in academic subjects. Lacking the benefit of years of experience, they may easily consider many of their school subjects boring and irrelevant to their own active lives.
A parent who participates frequently in doing homework with their child essentially adds enthusiasm to an otherwise bleak situation, and this rabbit effect slowly increases a student’s own enthusiasm. Instead of confronting homework alone and disinterested, a student with a participating parent finds homework slightly less boring, or re-phrased, slightly more interesting. This slight increase can have enormous effects, perhaps not immediately, but certainly over the long run.
Be a Friend, not a Supervisor
Most parents are familiar with the duality of being both a supervisor and a friend to their child. In some cases being a supervisor is obviously required, but in academic matters, aside from insisting upon certain basic behavior, being a supervisor is generally of little use in improving the academic performance of a child. A child already has many supervisors in their life, but they have very few close friends who will share the annoying task of understanding school subjects and doing homework with them. A parent who enters the homework-doing assignment as a friend who will share both the drudgery and the occasional interest is a valuable friend indeed.
Interest is Infectious
Showing intellectual interest in the specific subjects at hand can be one of the most effective devices when encouraging a student. Interest is highly infectious, and when a parent is willing to discuss an academic subject as an equal with their child, not teaching, but learning together with them, the transfer of interest is fairly easy. Most parents will also be surprised to find out how interesting their child’s homework can actually be. Re-visiting lessons learned only partially in one’s own youth is easily as interesting as doing the crossword puzzle in the Sunday paper. Lessons learned and subjects studied together with another person are more likely to stimulate intellectual curiosity in a child and the experience also has the added benefit of reinforcing the friendship between the study-mates.