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