The Home Connection

  • Simple Ways to Encourage Learning

    Here are some simple things you can do at home to help your child learn and succeed.

    1. Let your children know you believe in them. Let your children hear, starting at a very young age, that you believe in their ability to do well. Continue to tell them this at every age. Help them understand the connection between effort and achievement: if they work hard at school, they will be successful.

    2. Talk, read, and play with your children as often as possible, starting when they are infants. These activities help them develop oral language and reading skills and expose them to new ideas and knowledge, which will help them succeed in school. Talk with them about their lives and interests. Share stories of your life with them. Read with them every day!

    3. Involve your extended family. Ask all the people who care about your children—aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, godparents, babysitters, neighbors, and friends—to encourage your children to do well in school and express their love of learning.

    4. Limit screen time. Set limits on your child’s time on the computer and electronic devices, watching TV, playing video games, and texting—whether they are with you, with a babysitter, or alone. Children under age two should not watch TV at all. Screen time should be educationally focused and help students to reinforce or expand their learning opportunities. Less “screen” time can mean more time for exercise, imaginative play, and reading.

    5. Show a positive attitude toward school and learning. Express your interest in how your children are doing at school. Try asking simple questions such as “Was your best friend at school today? Did you do anything new at school?” Also, ask questions that do not have a “yes” or “no” answer, such as, “What did you do in art today?”  If you can, find ways to get involved at your children’s school. For younger children, go through their backpacks nightly to see their work and look for any important notices from their teachers. For older students, monitor whether your child is on track for meeting grade-level expectations by scheduling quarterly meetings with their guidance counselor.

    6. Make sure your children do homework. Look over your children’s homework each night. Ask them to explain what they are learning. Make sure that assignments are completed. If possible, find a quiet place with good light for your children to study, and set aside time each evening for homework. Turn off the TV during homework time. If your children often say they have no assigned homework, check with the teacher. Ask if the teacher uses the SIS Family Portal or other websites to share assignments and additional information, and sign up so that you can follow your child’s progress.

    7. Help your children with time management and organization. Make sure that they have notebooks or folders for each subject. Try to have paper, pencils, and other school supplies on hand. Give them tips on how to take clear notes and write down all school assignments. Establish a set time each day for doing homework. Children often concentrate better on homework after a break and some physical exercise—but do not leave it until just before bedtime. It is usually better to have children do the most challenging assignments first before they get tired. However, sometimes it helps to get focused by starting with something easy.

    8. Make sure your children get enough sleep. Children and even adolescents need at least nine hours of sleep each night to do their best in school. According to the National Institutes of Health, a child who has not had enough sleep has trouble paying attention and responding quickly and may have more behavior problems. Setting a regular bedtime for your children is another simple way to encourage learning.

    Adapted from (a great resource, in English and Spanish)

    For more ideas on helping your child at home, ask the teacher.