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When the home and school are in partnership, children learn best—no matter what schools they attend. Here are some ideas to consider as you continue to invest in your child’s education:

Focus on the Positive
Your child’s teachers and the school administrators are human beings with their own dreams, goals, concerns, and feelings. Remember that the school is filled with professionals who have dedicated themselves to furthering the positive development of children. Speak of teachers in a positive way, learn their names, become personally acquainted with them, and pray for them by name at family worship.

Get Involved
Don’t assume that “no news is good news.” Take time to find out what’s going on at school. Ask for an appointment with your child’s teacher, even if there are no major concerns. Many times the only contact parents have with teachers is if there are complaints or criticism. Ask if there are ways you can contribute to the classroom—as a room parent, supervising a field trip, providing specific supplies, or by using your own professional skills.

Read Everything that Comes from the School
Young children must depend on you to follow through on the school’s written requests. Be sure to return information needed immediately. Don’t put things off until you have “more time.”

Mark Your Calendar
When you receive information about school events, enter them into your appointment calendar. Consider school appointments to be as serious as any important business meetings. This goes for both dad and mom.

Don’t Bear a False Witness
Often statements about school include gossip and even lies about teachers and staff. By simply agreeing with others, including your child, you foster a negative attitude. Remember every situation has both facts and feelings. Check out the facts before you come to any conclusions. Help others relate the facts and their feelings to the appropriate people. Help build bridges instead of barriers.

Honor Children’s Efforts
Carefully look at what your child brings home, and discuss what your child has learned. Have a bulletin board or space on the refrigerator for displaying children’s work. Set aside a large envelope or box to store your child’s work for each school year.

Consider Your Own Expectations
Some parents push beyond encouragement to the point of pressure. Rather than nagging your child to “do better,” work with them to plan and reach goals that are meaningful for them.

Take Homework Seriously
Time has certainly changed. Homework is here to stay! Your child deserves your support, including the physical and emotional environment to accomplish their tasks.

Attend Parent-Teacher Conferences
Be on time. Be aware of those waiting after you. Refrain from complaining that you “don’t have time” to go. Remember that you and your child’s teachers are colleagues in your child’s education.

Celebrate
Find ways to celebrate the personhood of your child. Some families go out to eat breakfast before school the first day of each month; others celebrate by rewarding good grades.

Remember You Are Your Child’s Most Important Teacher
Even though teachers and others at school have a tremendous impact, your child is still looking to you. He or she needs your support and consistent love.

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By Susan E. Murray. Portions reprinted with permission from the Lake Union Herald, March 2007. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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