As a mom, you’re invested in your children’s education whether you pay for private school or send them to public school. You want them to succeed, and when they bring home bad grades, you feel as if you’ve failed, too. Here are a few ways to support their educational paths without taking away their sense of responsibility.
Learn About Their Online Platform
Almost every school today uses an online platform for administering blended learning, grading papers and tests, contacting students, or both. Find out what platform your children’s school uses and learn about its different features so that you can help them with their problems. For example, if your children are learning from i-Ready math and reading, you should help them get organized in the i-Ready system. That way, when it’s time for diagnostics to assess their i-Ready levels, they’re not overwhelmed.
While you should familiarize yourself with your children’s online learning platform, be careful not to dominate it. Don’t check their grades every day or even every week, or you risk becoming the one who cares the most about their grades. Limit yourself to checking every two weeks, and if you have to do so more regularly, don’t tell your children.
Ask About Their Days
Normalize talking about your children’s schoolwork every day as a part of a normal conversation, rather than as a check-up on their progress. When they get home or finish virtual school, listen to everyone’s stories. Ask what went well and what they didn’t like. Avoid passing judgment on their comments as much as possible, and ask follow-up questions when you’re not sure who someone is. By having these conversations with your children every day, you prove that you care about more than just their grades. You’re also more attuned to potential issues, even if they don’t talk about what’s going wrong. For example, if one of your kids is eating alone every day, there may be an underlying social problem.
Encourage Their Interests
When your children come home from school and can’t stop talking about something they learned, find ways to encourage those interests. Take them to the library to find out more about a subject, or go to a museum that features it. If they start to show interest in an art form, such as creative writing, painting, or music, ask to hear more about their ideas. Offer them to take lessons if they’re really invested in a subject. Although most parents think that private lessons are expensive, reach out to the music or art program at your local college. You’re sure to find college students who offer affordable instruction. Check with your community center, too; often there are group lessons at discounted rates.
As with your kids’ schoolwork, avoid offering criticism too frequently. Unless your children ask you for your honest opinion, celebrate their accomplishments without negative feedback. For example, your 10-year-old who just started playing the trumpet doesn’t need to hear that he or she is out of tune. Instead, your child needs to hear that you support and love him or her. Some parents particularly struggle with this part of parenting if they are experts in one of their children’s interests. If you encourage your children’s passions naturally, hopefully, one day you can share your wisdom with them. For now, your role is to foster their talents.
Ensuring that your kids are successful in the classroom starts with examining how you talk to them at home. By putting the focus on their interests instead of their grades, you make school more exciting and your home more welcoming.