The Involved Parent – How To Change Your Child’s Educational Future

Many parents think that the job of ensuring their children get the best education possible and go the furthest possible is entirely up to the schools, but this really isn’t the case. Parents are the most influential force in the educational future of their children.

As parents think and dream about where their kids will go with their education, many envision their child being the first in the family to graduate college. Despite the large numbers of people who now graduate from high school and go on to college success, there are still even more families who still haven’t attained the college graduate dream.

With all things related to schooling, parents need to remember that they are the first and best teacher and advocate for their child. The chance of a child graduating from high school and attending college is more closely related to how the family views a college education than the schools the child attends or the teachers he or she has. With this in mind, here are some ideas for parents to help their children achieve the highest and most complete education possible:

Parents have to prioritize education.

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s actually harder to make happen than most people think. It is not enough to tell a child they need to go to college, or that parents think education is important. Parents have to show their children that the family values education through things like,

    • Reading. Parents need to read where children can see it. Kids emulate what parents do, not what they say.
    • Continue your own education. This doesn’t mean you have to go back to school, but show kids that you keep learning and growing either through your job or hobbies. Learn. And keep learning.
  • Really put school first. Doing chores should come after doing school work and studying. Yes, children need to have the responsibility to do chores and contribute to the family, but school has to be their job first.

Be involved in your child’s life.

Children sense whether their parents really are interested through the subtle signs we give them of our involvement in their lives. And keep in mind that studies continue to confirm that kids with involved parents are more successful in all aspects of their lives. We all like to be valued and it pays off with kids and their education. To be involved, try these ideas:

    • Pay attention when they talk. Research indicates that kids whose parents actually listen to them and have conversations with their parents do better overall. Listening will also clue you in when there is a problem.
  • Be active in their education. Volunteer at the school, join the PTA or your school’s version of the PTA, or help with activities. This is another way to show you value education and the child. It also gives you the chance to see what they are doing at school and how they are interacting with peers and other adults.

These simple things can make a world of difference to your child’s educational future. Every child can make it through college with the right family attitude and belief. If you believe in them, they will live up to your expectations.

Children’s Creative Learning and Educational Toys

Most of us would say that educational toys are made just for children. Some would say that an educational toy is actually any toy that a child plays with, be it a rock or a stick that they find in the backyard or garden. They believe that with any toy that a child uses, they can learn and be educated on the uses of different aspects of their surroundings. Creative learning toys and games should help a child to develop his or her mental, emotional and physical skills. Most of all, it should be beneficial when it comes to a child’s academic growth.

For preschoolers, simple wooden blocks are a good start for a youngster to enhance his or her hand-eye coordination, understand basic principles of science and understand relationships between objects. Reasoning skills can be developed using creative learning toys and games. For a child moving on to the elementary level, more sophisticated toys can be provided. Examples of interlocking toys are building bricks and puzzles. These toys can also help to sharpen more basic skills. These can also improve a child’s patience and knowledge about spatial relationships. Finally, when a child reaches the late elementary levels, toys that are moving, motor-like and electronic can help them to understand the complexity of work in this world. Parents should just bear in mind that in choosing the right educational toys for their children, they should also consider the child’s age and behaviour.

There is no doubt that educational toys are used in schools to great effect. It is already a part of the curriculum whether in preschool or in elementary school. These toys vary from manipulative toys, dressing-up games, board games, musical instruments and electronics such as robots. With the advancement of technology, a lot of schools nowadays use computers to educate their students. These might include interactive games and video games. Although it’ll be a whole lot easier for teachers and parents to educate the students, it is still not the only way of educating them. Many of the most effective educational toys are old school toys that not only help a child to develop all of their academic skills but also develop his or her social well-being, ability to interact with others and good attitudes, morals and values. There are a vast variety of educational toys. There are just a few factors that affect the decision in choosing the right toy for a child. Parents must consider the age, needs and the effects and benefits that an educational toy may bring to their child.

Emotionally Disturbed Children May Significantly Benefit From Individualized Education Programs

Many emotionally disturbed children are eligible for special education if their emotional condition occurs over a period of time to a significant degree and it adversely affects their educational performance. According to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) a child with an emotional disturbance must exhibit one or more of the characteristics: ” an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors, and inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers, inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances, a general; a pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression and/or a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.”

Each state in the United States has regulations of their own to carry out the policies in IDEA. Some parents find it confusing that each state is allowed to determine what to name their categories of disabilities. For example; children with emotional and/or behavioral disabilities may be categorized under many different names, such as; emotionally disturbed, behaviorally disordered, significant identifiable emotional disability, emotional/behavioral disability and likely others I am unaware of. Regardless of what the disability category is called, if your child qualifies he or she is entitled to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) with annual goals and objectives, services and accommodations and modifications.

I have worked with many children with emotional disturbances who were in a self-contained classroom setting or integrated into the general education population with pullout and/or inclusion support. The diagnoses of the children I have worked with most often over my career as an educator are children with bi-polar disorder, anxiety disorder, reactive attachment disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. Some children with emotional disabilities are stabilized through medication and private therapy and their emotional disability does not negatively affect their education for long periods. Other children with these diagnoses tend to exhibit many behaviors as well as learning difficulties because of their emotional disabilities.

If your child qualifies for special education under the category of emotional disturbance, many interventions may be used in either the general education or special education setting to assist your child in experiencing more educational success. Some of the most common are: individual psycho-educational counseling, general group counseling or topical group counseling such as anger management or social skills, classes or participation in curricula in social skills, study skills and life skills, having a check-in/check-out person, graphic organizers to help with organizational skills, a designated “cool down” place to can go if the child gets overly angry, anxious or emotional, designated seating, testing and/or instruction in a smaller environment and a regular home-school communication system.

If you have a child with an emotional disability who has experienced significant struggles with school for an extended period of time and meets one or more the criteria listed in the first paragraph of this article, you may want to request, in writing, a special education evaluation from your child’s school to determine their eligibility.

Exponential Education Uses the Principles of How Kids Learn

Today more than three million children are successfully taught at home, by parents just like you. Making the decision to take control of your child’s education with home schooling can be an overwhelming endeavor. It is important to have a support system of resources, and be able to use all your resources successfully.

Once you assume full responsibility for your child’s education, it is important to realize that there is not a strict set of teaching rules to follow. The idea of an exponential education opens up a whole new world for the entrepreneurial parent who wants their child to learn quickly and effortlessly, while still having fun.

The exponential education model is rapidly growing as research shows how kids really learn. The way kids assimilate information is key to how they learn and remember. Kids learn and recall information by incorporating a combination of reasoning, intuition and perception of multiple learning resources. Utilizing these concepts in the teaching environment helps make home school education quite effective and rewarding for both parent and child.

Understanding the Principles of How We Learn

Every child learns in his or her own way. The trick is to find the most constructive way to interact proactively with a child and impress upon him the relevance of the subject matter, while simultaneously keeping him interested and engaged.

“One size fits all” does not work effectively in a homeschool environment. Having the ability to customize an exponential home school education, allows your child to learn about one subject by its close association with other subjects. Learning by association helps your child easily make cognitive connections utilizing his study materials.

Customizing teaching techniques and subject matter to the child’s likes, dislikes and personality, aids in making the home schooling experience a joy for both student and teacher, while encouraging the child to explore his unique talents.

Kids assimilate information in different ways according to their learning style. There are a variety of learning styles such as:

· Excitable and movable types are often labeled hyperactive. They like hands-on activities and are often active in sports.

· The explorer and discoverer in a child is sometimes referred to as the highly imaginative daydreamer. This child enjoys asking questions and solving problems.

· The creator or thinker requires time to be left alone to figure it out for herself.

· The child that relates to others needs to talk and interact in order to learn.

Knowing your child’s learning style permits you to implement the perfect curriculum and study practices to aid him in making important cognitive connections while learning. It will be easier for your child to recall and remember assimilated knowledge, as he associates it with other subjects, information and activities regarding that subject matter. When your child can effectively process, retrieve and remember gathered facts, the home-school experience is positive and fulfilling.

The key to success in exponential education is locating and interfacing with a learning system and a curriculum that will foster the process of assimilation for your child, while offering relevant guidance along the way.

Five Easy Ways for a Busy Parent to Get More Involved in Their Kid’s Education

Did you know that one of the number one complaints from our teachers and educators nowadays is parental involvement or better non-involvement? Many parents seem to think that the school should teach their children, manage them when they are there and that they as parents do not need to be involved or put any effort in the education of their children. So if you want to change this and get more involved in your children’s education, here are five easy ways to do so.

One of the easiest ways to get involved in your child’s education is by being interested in his school day. Ask your child how school was or if anything interesting happened today and when your child answers, listen. Just asking will not help, you have to listen to what they say and respond to their needs. It is very important to ask everyday and to be consistent in asking and listening. When you ask your children about their school day and about their homework, it will signal to them that school is important to you and therefore should be important to them. Asking them about their school day and about their homework will also send a clear message that you expect them to learn and study.

A second easy way to get involved in your child’s education is to check their homework. Not only check, but also assist with the homework and help your child to study for exams. When you check your child’s homework everyday, it will ensure that your child does the homework and also that your child knows that studying and doing the homework are an important part of their education. Some days your child might be in a crabby mood or just plain does not want to do the homework. Give the child some free time, but insist on the completion of the homework by the end of the night or the weekend or some other arbitrary deadline before the next class. Set that time period as a deadline for homework completion and infrequently remind the child of it.

Almost as easy as the first two ways to get involved is the parent teacher contact. Keep up to date on your child’s progress in school; do not just wait for the teacher to send you information home. Frequently get in contact with your child’s teachers and find out about your child’s progress, behavior and anything that relates to school. There are many different ways you can talk to your child’s teacher, meet him after class at school, set up an appointment, set up a parent teacher conference, participate in conferences set by the school, call your teacher or even send the teacher a letter. Teachers like to hear from parents. The teacher knows that parental involvement is one essential key for student’s success in school. Teachers do not have the same influence on children as their parents do.

Did you know that getting involved in your child’s education also means to vote in school board elections? Yes, voting for whom you think will do best for the school can improve the environment your child learns and studies in. This is actually a very easy way to be involved in your child’s education; you have to make a checkmark on the voting ballot and are already helping.

Lastly, there are also setting guidelines, milestones and rules for your child. Be involved by not letting your child stay up late on school days, by limiting the time they watch TV and instead encouraging them to read a book, do their homework or study. While you set rules and guidelines for children to follow, make sure that you are a good example of what you preach. Don’t turn the TV on, after you have told your child not to watch TV, but to read a book. Get a book out yourself, or while he or she is doing homework, catch up on paperwork such as bills.

Educational Toys – How Do Parents Choose The Best Toys For Their Child

The choices are mind numbing. Walk into any toy store or the toy section of any department store and there are shelves and tiers of toys labeled ‘educational toys’. There are books, games, dolls and the list just goes on and on. It includes everything from an infant’s building blocks to Leapfrog interactive games. The sheer variety is overwhelming. How does a parent or a grandparent choose the best educational toys for the children in their lives? Will the child like it? Will it hold up under the abuse of play? Will it accomplish the purposes for which it was purchased? And finally, is it a good value for the money?

The first rule that parents and grandparents should keep in mind is to buy educational toys that are age appropriate. The temptation is nearly overwhelming to buy children, especially infants, toys that reflect the interests of the giver. For example, how many times have you seen fathers who were sports enthusiasts give a child a piece of sports equipment that was way beyond the youngster’s ability to use. Footballs, fishing rods and bows and arrows given to infants and toddlers are a complete waste of money. Parents, proudly convinced they are raising a child prodigy, create a frustrated youngster when they push the child into playing with toys outside the manufacturer’s suggested age range. Real safety hazards are presented when children are encouraged to play with toys beyond their ability to understand or handle safely.

The second rule of buying educational toys is to keep in touch with the child’s interests. Children grow and develop at rapid rates, both mentally and physically. Continually changing interests are a natural part of this development as the child explores new ideas and concepts. It is important for parents, and grandparents, to spend time playing with the child for a whole host of reasons. One of those reasons is that it helps the adult keep in touch with the child’s current interests. Play is how children learn and educational toys are tools of that play. It does little good to buy a small girl jigsaw puzzles and Teletubbies when what really interests her are word games and chemistry sets.

Educational Toys Should Serve A Purpose And Stimulate The Child

Choose educational toys that stimulate the child. How often have we purchased children a toy and watched them shove the toy aside and play with the box in which it was packaged? Educational toys are of two basic types. They are those that develop physical skills and those that develop cognitive skills. Legos, for example, are great educational toys for older pre-school and elementary school aged children. Legos invite children to become creative as they assemble these interlocking blocks into an unlimited myriad of shapes and designs. The activity of assembling the Legos also helps develop fine motor skills.

Beware toys that are so highly developed that the game does all of the play. Some video games fall into this category. The child does not have to think or even be especially adept or coordinated physically to play the game. These games may be an interesting diversion for the youngster, but they contribute very little to either the youngster’s creative or physical development.

When selecting educational toys, choose quality over quantity. We have discussed children’s continually evolving interests. Even so, we all too often overwhelm our children at gift-giving occasions such as birthdays, Christmas and Hanukkah. Youngsters go from toy to toy and cannot decide with which to play. If this only happens a couple of times a year the child will eventually sort them out and play with all of them. The problem is that many children are continually given new toys, not only at special occasions but also throughout the year.

Some children are given so many toys that they remain overwhelmed. They do not learn to appreciate the things that they are given. They can also develop a distorted sense of values. They begin to equate parental and grandparental love with the quantity of things they are given. Their expectations of what they will be given escalate into unrealistic levels. This is a disastrous characteristic if it is carried into adulthood.

Children overwhelmed by the number of toys they are given receive little benefit from the educational toys. They cannot concentrate on any one toy long enough to let their creativity blossom. Too many toys can be damaging to a youngster.

Parents and grandparents should also concentrate on toys with build-in quality. As we have already discussed, the toy should be designed to stimulate the child’s physical skills or creative abilities. The toy should also be safe and durable for the age group of children for which it was designed. The toy should be designed to hold up well under the abuse of play. It should not be constructed of potentially toxic materials such as lead-based paint. It should also be constructed in a manner where small pieces that can be swallowed will not readily be broken off and in a way that there are minimal risks of injury from sharp edges or corners.

While there are many small manufacturers of excellent toys, when in doubt choose toys made by top-rated companies with time tested brand names. Examples include Fisher Price, Disney games and Milton Bradley to name just a few.

Parents and grandparents can help their youngsters safely develop into happy, healthy and well-rounded young adults with some conscientious attention to the educational toys they choose. Just keep in mind the child’s level of development and current interest and choose toys that are appropriate for that age and interest. Make sure the toy will stimulate the child either physically or creatively. You want to stretch the child’s abilities, but not so much that the youngster becomes frustrated or so little that the child either becomes bored with the toy or lazy physically or mentally. Finally, if given the choice, select one or two quality toys rather than a room full of cheap toys.