Top Five Ways Learning Can Continue Outside of School
During a typical school day, children spend about half of their waking hours with teachers and peers and the other half at home or in other environments. It’s little wonder, then, that I receive so many questions from parents about how to best partner with schools and support student learning during the non-school hours of the day. As we know from recent studies, such as those conducted at the University of California, Irvine and Brigham Young University, parental support and involvement is incredibly important for any student’s academic success. So being intentional about how we interact with students outside of school will pay important dividends.

What are some of the best ways parents can encourage and facilitate learning outside of school?  Here are my top five suggestions:

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1) Read to children, read along with children, and when they are ready, have them read to you. After these reading sessions, take a few moments to discuss and reflect on what they have read and new ideas or lessons from the text.

2) Be aware of their learning at school, during extracurriculars, and in other environments. Often children won’t provide much information when you ask them “How was your day?” But if you ask them what they learned about Roman culture in their history class, that more specific question may inspire a great conversation.

3) Be supportive and loving, but occasionally, also let them fail. We can all learn a great deal from our failures, and when this happens, it’s a precious opportunity to reflect on what went wrong and what could be done differently in the future.

4) Make a point to share conversations in the evening, particularly around family dinner, and dedicate time each day for everyone to convey one story from the day.

5) Believe in your children and have high expectations for their growth. I always remind teachers to set the bar just a bit higher than children may expect and then support their students over that bar. They often surprise us with all they can do and will rise to these challenges.


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