Academic Success Tips

When families are engaged in their children’s education they achieve higher grades, have better attendance and behavior, complete more homework, and demonstrate a more positive attitude toward education.

Families can be involved in many ways.  Here are some suggestions on how families can help with their children’s learning at home and at school.  Additional information, tips and resources can be found on the  Seattle School District website.

  1. Student Learning

    • Encourage your child to talk about feelings, accomplishments, and problems. Listen actively, reflecting back on what your child tells you.
    • Challenge your child to do well in school. Make your expectations high but reasonable.
    • Let mistakes be OK as long as the child learns from the experience.
    • Model honesty and teach your child culturally appropriate concepts of right and wrong at an early age.
    • Visit the library, museums, and educational and cultural events. Find ways to involve your child in music, sports, a new language, or other activity.
    • Read every day, by yourself and with your child as a family activity, for a minimum of 20 minutes.
    • Ask your child questions as you read together: Can you tell me what happened in your own words? Why did the character do that? What happens next?
    • Consult the Family Literacy and Math Toolkits for your children’s grade level, to see what they are expected to learn in literacy and math, with suggestions and educational games for families to do at home to help build these skills.
  2. Homework Tips

    • Provide a quiet atmosphere for homework in an area of the house where there are no distractions. Provide a table, adequate light, paper, pens, and make sure that there is plenty of drinking water around.
    • Make a regular time for it that’s not too close to bedtime. Make sure the TV/video games are turned off.
    • Keep in mind that many students need a snack and some “down time” at home before tackling schoolwork.
    • Encourage your student to complete the homework alone and only ask you for help with what he or she does not understand or needs to practice with.
    • Be around the house at homework time if possible so that your student can ask questions.
    • Learn about the teacher’s methods and terminology. Try to use the same approach when you help with homework.
    • Let your child find the solution if at all possible. Give guidance, not answers.
    • Review the finished homework but refrain from re-doing it or correcting it so that the teacher can see your student’s work.
    • Reward hard work on homework and at school with an outing, a special dinner, a book, or another treat.
    • If your child is struggling, don’t wait very long to ask the teacher for extra help or find a tutor. Do it before the child falls far behind.
  3. Communicating with School Staff

    • Provide teachers with important information. Changing family circumstances like divorce, illness, or the death of a pet can upset a child’s learning.
    • Read all materials sent home from school.
    • Ask the teacher to explain things in everyday language, not specialized education terms.
    • Attend open houses, parent—teacher conferences and family math and literacy nights.
    • Request a special meeting if your child’s teachers change midterm or there is no open house.
    • Find out the best way to communicate with your child’s teacher: by a direct phone line, e-mail or notes from home.
    • Return phone calls and answer e-mails and notes from school.
    • Consider your school staff’s experience and their broad knowledge of children.
    • Contribute your expertise, ideas and insights about your child.
    • Expect to disagree once in awhile and embrace the opportunity to see things from another point of view.
    • Contact your child’s teacher when you have a concern or question.

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