Springfield Public Schools - Home

Dubois Elementary School

120 South Lincoln Ave
Springfield, IL 62704


April 15, 2011

Make the Most of Education

How to Make the Most of Your Child's Education
Provided by: Carlis Thomas, Parent Educator

Know the Teacher

Perhaps the most important step to take to ensure your children's good education is to always make time to get to know their teachers. Teachers spend many hours with your children and will have a great influence over them. In essence, teachers are co-parenting with you. Teachers reinforce many of the values taught at home, and they can have quite an impact on a child's emerging sense of self. It is essential that you communicate openly with the teacher about your child's traits and needs, and it is also important that you discuss the educational goals you hope your child will achieve.

Schedule Downtime -

One of the most commonly overlooked requirements for successful learning is the need for downtime. In order to process all of the important information we learn during the day, our minds need to rest. That is why experts never recommend cramming overnight for a big test. If we accumulate lots of knowledge in a hurry without any time to organize it in our minds, it is lost; or at best, confused. For young students, it is important that they have free time after school for physical activity as well as a good night's rest.

Make Your Plan Individualized -

Every child is unique and has a certain learning style. Try to accommodate your child's style by discussing strengths and weaknesses with his teacher. Perhaps a front row seat would work best, or a study carrel that would help him maintain his focus. Maybe test anxiety is a recurring issue, and you can arrange for more time on tests. If your daughter is shy, you can request that group activities include a social partner that will help ease her worries. At home, if you know that your son will have a hard time staying on task, set up a homework center in the dining room in order to avoid isolating him. Working with teachers to plan what's best for each individual child will ultimately strengthen our educational system. We'll expend less effort and see better results when we teach a child in a way that meets his or her individual needs.

A good education requires a committed triangle of parent, teacher, and student. It is vital that all participants are fully engaged in the process. Good communication is key to helping a child learn. When we know what to expect from the curriculum, plan activities to supplement it, and acknowledge the individual needs of students, we will have laid the groundwork for an excellent education.

(C)Katie Basson