Beyond Help With Homework.


Often times, parents of high school students aren’t sure how they can help their students be successful with school. When their children are younger, a parent might hear from a teacher that they could read with their student, or help with their homework.  Once a student reaches high school, these ideas are obviously not age appropriate.  In a recent Washington post article, Mari-Jane Williams gives a few out of the box ideas for helping students of all ages from home.

Don’t compare your child with others
This applies to all children, but is especially important with kids who have learning disabilities or other special needs, said Andrea Demasi, a special education teacher.  “It’s important to understand the nature of the disability and don’t compare them to their peers,” Demasi said. “Don’t put pressure on the child to be just like the kid down the street. There’s no such thing as the kid that’s like every other kid. Every kid is different. They all have strengths and weaknesses, they all have talents and challenges.”

Help your child make connections to literature
To help your child get the most out of books, Susan Hsiung, a first-grade teacher, suggests parents focus on problem-solving, social skills and life experience. Take your child to the zoo (life experience). Teach her to ask an adult for help if she loses her jacket (problem-solving) or to hold the door for others (social skills), Hsiung said. With these skills in place, she will be able to relate her own life experiences to those of book characters, improving her comprehension.
“We’re so focused on academics, which is very important, but what we forget is that some of these things fit in the curriculum as well,” Hsiung said. “If they don’t have these components and don’t have these life experiences, and we ask them to make deeper connections to the material, it’s hard for them.”

Middle school and high school are not the time to take a more hands-off approach
Just because your child is getting older doesn’t mean it’s time to put her on auto¬pilot.  “This is the point in their lives when they’re trying to sort out who they are,” Thomas, the Middle School teacher, said. “Peer pressure comes in, and their connectedness to school wanes. We tend to lose a lot of children in middle school, when drugs, bullying, peer pressure and skipping become more rampant. .?.?. It’s not the time to take your hands off of what they’re doing.”

But don’t do everything for your child
Sometimes it’s faster to do things yourself than wait for your child to complete a task. But by doing everything for him, you’re not preparing him to take care of himself. Melanie Buckley, head of the English department at a high school, said that if your child is having trouble with something, such as organizing his backpack, stand next to him and have him do it while you talk him through the process. Timothy Yorke, an advanced placement English teacher, said this goes for time management as well. “Parents have to empower their sons or daughters to think for themselves and be more responsible for themselves,” Yorke said. “They need to figure out: How do I juggle all of the activities and classes but not have to rely on Mom and Dad to step in.”

Ask about your child’s day
Stay involved in your child’s education, beyond helping him with his homework, Liston said. Even small things, like asking a child what he did in school, can be the difference between a child who unplugs at the end of the day and one who continues thinking about what he learned. “If a student goes home and everyone says one thing they did that day, repeating it to anyone else in the house will help them remember it,” Liston said. “If they say, ‘I don’t remember’ or ‘I don’t know,’ ask them something specific: ‘What did you do in science today,’ something that will get them talking about it.”

AB selfie for website
-Amanada Bisnett, COA School Counselor