Creating a Culture of Learning
~ By Kenya Malcolm Ph.D
Parents are only one part of the picture, that’s true, but parents have a great deal of “indirect” effect on children’s learning. We choose our child’s
school and we approve their friendships. We model important values for our children. How can we create a culture of learning that helps our children do well in school? Here are some ideas: Are there books in your home? One simple thing continues to relate to language and academic skills: access to books. You can’t use them if they’re not there. Spend time talking with your child about the books they are reading. Does your child see you reading?
Creating a culture of learning requires models of important people. You are your child’s first celebrity, their first superhero. If they don’t see you reading, they are less likely to read themselves.
Is there a structured homework plan? This one can be tough. All children benefit from an expected and predictable routine. Homework needs to be part of the day. One recommendation is to have “work time” at the same time each day. Even if the kids don’t have homework, the time is used to read, study, or make a plan for school work for the week. Can’t do it every day? How about three days a week, within a certain time frame? Make it work for you!
Do you have a relationship with your child’s teacher? I saw a sign at Eastview mall that said something like: “Name three super models. Now name three of your child’s teachers.” Can you do it? Teachers are part of the team of people working to get your child where they need to go. Forge an alliance with them. Let them know you’re on their side and that when problems come up, you want to be part of the solution before they get out of hand. Even your precious angel is going to make up stuff every now and then to get out of work. Remember that time you called in “sick” to take the day off? Same thing! It can be helpful for kids to know that you are on speaking terms with the teacher; this may help reduce your child’s ability to “forget” things that you need to know about.
What supports does the school offer? Most schools have academic counselors and parenting resources available. Don’t be afraid to ask at the beginning of the year or when the need comes up. Some questions for you to ask: who can my child to talk to when she’s having a problem? How late is the school building open if we need to get some forgotten materials? Is there computer access outside of class/ school time? How often do you update your class website and assignments? How can I help support my child’s learning at home?
Remember, collaboration is the goal. We are all in this together.