Supporting my child's education: what can I do?
As a dad, one of the big jobs is to make sure your child gets a great education. You can make a real difference to how they do at school. Dad Info gives you practical tips on how you can help shape their future success...
A dad’s role has become more important than ever in helping his child to achieve his potential, and your involvement in your child’s learning will make a big impact on his life.
Typically, children whose dads throw themselves in to schooling and homework help achieve better exam results, school attendance and even interpersonal relations.
They are also less likely to get involved with crime or to suffer from mental and social problems later in life. So, don’t hang back; get stuck-in.
Get there early
- It starts early – by taking your turn in getting them ready for school, making breakfast and school lunch, and dropping them off at the school gates, you are showing that you place importance on their school life, and they will pick up on this.
- Sometimes it’s worth arriving a bit early so you can have time to visit the classroom and admire their latest project.
- A little bit of praise from Dad can do wonders for their motivation to learn and do well at school.
- It is important to maintain your focus on their schoolwork and other activities, and stay in touch with their teachers so any problems can be identified early on.
- Keep an eye on what the class topic is for the term and if it involves one of your areas of expertise you might consider asking the teacher whether you could come in to speak to the class.
- The same applies to after-school clubs. It is also worth making an effort to read school newsletters and, if you can afford it, taking time-off for attending school events – concerts, open assemblies, class outings and school fairs.
- One of the biggest contributions you can make to your child’s educational and personal development is to read with them regularly. Most children love bedtime stories, giving you the chance to point out words.
- After a while, encourage them to read passages and then alternate pages, so that you are both reading to each other.
- Make a point of helping with homework and supervising it when they can manage alone.
- This may mean no more than explaining things (internet research, for example), but can also involve testing them on spelling or their times tables.
- Some fathers try learning with their child – a musical instrument, for example - but remember, don’t compete with them or make comparisons.
Join the PTA
Another option for getting more involved in your child’s education is to join the school’s parent-teacher association, which will give you a better understanding of how the school works and gives you the chance to get to know other parents.
Become a school governor
One third of governors in British state schools must be parents. Usually there are several vacancies each year, and elections are held in which all the parents have a vote. Parent governors have a major role in setting the direction of their schools.
- They appoint the head teacher.
- They oversee the budget and decide on spending priorities.
- They help to raise finance, suggest or approve building development and maintenance, and deal with local government.
- They discuss educational issues affecting the school.
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