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Employers for Learning

Articles for Your Employee Newsletter

Employers can pass on tips for parents in many ways-through internal newsletters, on a bulletin board, or enclosed with a paycheck. Here are a few articles you are welcome to use in your employee communications.

Seven ways parents can help children succeed

1. Teach your children to love learning. Show them that it's not just about making the grade. Learning is a way of life. Take part in educational activities beyond school work, like going to a museum or watching a good documentary.

2. Get involved. Participating in school activities or functions shows your child that you really are interested in what he or she does. Chaperone your child's class on field trips or phone other parents.

3. Stay in touch with teachers. You can call your child's teacher on an occasion beyond the regularly scheduled parent-teachers conferences. E-mail teachers and ask about your child's progress, or what's being taught in the classroom.

4. Get your child organized. Help map out a schedule of assignments for your child and help him or her plan ahead. For big projects, you can help develop a plan that breaks down the assignment in manageable chunks.

5. Make family meals a must. Kids whose families eat together generally have better literacy rates.

6. Don't forget about the importance of progress. Steady improvement is as important as the end grade.

7. Expect a lot. High expectations give kids a reason to work harder and achieve more.
 

Break the winter doldrums with a family field trip

Teachers know that a lot of learning takes place outside the classroom. That's why they take students on field trips. But parents don't have to wait for a school trip. Why not take your family out for an "inside view" of the workings of a local newspaper or other business?

Your entire family will learn something-and usually for a bargain. Most tours are free. To plan your tour, check the phone book, chamber of commerce or tourist bureau. Some places have tour guides, just waiting to explain what they do, why and how. Or ask a friend who might be willing to guide you through a place you or your child are curious about.

Do some research before you go. Knowing a little in advance can foster good questions and help children get the most out of a visit. And don't forget to send a thank you note when you get home. Writing and drawing pictures of what they've seen helps children give back to a business and show what they've learned. Tour guides and businesses enjoy knowing what children liked best.
 

Are you encouraging your child to enjoy books?

Children are never too young to appreciate books. Here's a quiz to see if you're building your child's interest in reading.

Give yourself five points for something you do often, zero points for something you never do, or any score in between.

1. _____ I read to my child every day.

2. _____ I talk to with my child about books we read.

3. _____ I take my child to the library regularly.

4. _____ I read during my free time.

5. _____ I limit how much TV my child watches.

How did you score? 20 points and above means you're helping your child have fun with books. Fifteen to 19 is average. Below 15 means reading should be a bigger part of your child's life.
 

Do your mornings need a makeover?

Q. Mornings are always so hectic for our family. Sometimes I feel as if my day is ruined before it starts. What can we do?

A. Morning "rush hour" starts right at home for many families. There's always someone who loses a math book...or who can't find a sneaker...or who won't go to school without a favorite jacket. These tips can make mornings more manageable:

  • Do as much as possible at night. Kids should lay out clothes before bed. Hhomework should be finished and backpacks should be placed by the front door.

  • Get enough sleep. If your kids conk out every night in front of the TV, they're probably going to be crabby in the morning. And they won't be in the mood to learn, either. It's best to set a regular bedtime and stick to it.

  • Have a "backup" breakfast. Kids need fuel for their bodies and minds. Keep an emergency supply of things they can grab as they head out the door on late mornings, such as muffins and sliced fruit.

What do today's teens need to become successful?

Many parents wonder what teens need most to make it in today's world. Britt Rathbone, a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in working with teens, has seven answers.

  • Self-respect. Teens need to know their strong points and weak points. They must learn to highlight their strengths. And they need to accept that they are not perfect.

  • Goals. Teens should have some idea of where they want to go and what they want to be.

  • Communication skills. Teens need to express themselves effectively.

  • Social skills. Teens need to know how to behave in a variety of situations.

  • Stress management. Teens need skills in solving problems. And they need to know how to relax.

  • Exercise. This is necessary for top physical and mental health.

  • Family support. This may be the most important of all. It provides teens with a foundation for achieving the other six habits and qualities. They may not show it the way they did as small children, but teens need your love and acceptance very much.

Children do better when parents monitor schoolwork

After reviewing thousands of studies on learning, researchers discovered one clear and certain fact: The most outstanding students have parents who monitor their schoolwork.

Monitoring schoolwork has even more impact that parents' education levels or how "well off" parents are.

To monitor effectively, one learning expert urges parents to do a daily "Five Minute Achievement Check."

Every day, give at least five minutes of your full attention to your child's schoolwork. Take these steps in this order:

  • Examine homework to be turned in the next day. See that handwriting is neat and has no misspellings. Check math for obvious errors.

  • Question what you don't understand. Have your child explain it to you until you are sure she understands it.

  • Listen as your child recites spelling words and memory work. Check your child's assignment book to ensure that all work is done.

  • Check work returned from teachers. Ask your child to redo any work with errors on it to make sure she understands it.

Throughout all steps, be objective, sympathetic, calm and patient. Offer help and praise instead of criticism. And stress that you know your child can overcome any temporary setbacks.

Monitoring schoolwork every day helps your child know what to expect. And his grades are sure to improve.