Every year, the National Center for Education Statistics, a US Department of Education branch, gives an exam (the Nation's Report Card) in math and reading to fourth and eighth graders. The last results from this assessment showed that students fell behind in reading and, even more so, in math. What would be good practical solutions to improve such worrying test scores?
The answer is twofold - through a powerful synergy:
1. LEARN TOGETHER
Instead of focusing only on the details of the curriculum your kids might have missed, you should look at how you may support them to become successful. Acting as first role models in learning is a great way to teach the critical skills your children would need. Especially in the earlier years, reading with kids is considered high-quality support. And the method doesn't have to be strict to be effective. Getting children to read stories they are excited about is more than enough. Or seeing their moms and dads excitedly taking part in mathematics and literacy together can encourage young students to be invested in priceless, long-lasting learning habits.
2. PLAY TOGETHER
Integrating learning and fun is vital to raising successful kids. Whatever their age, games are the best tools to develop and strengthen their self-confidence, thinking skills, and working memory. For example, you can play "follow me" games at home, in the car, in the park, or on the beach. You can ask, for example: "Take the number 4, double it, add 2, and subtract 5. How much is that?" For older kids, the principle is to submit them exciting problems related to their everyday life. The goal is to find solutions - even if they are wrong - in order to analyse and discuss them.
Last but not least, parents should maintain a diligent relationship with their kids' teachers. When the parents are involved, and there is an open dialogue between families and schools, they can profitably share their experiences in terms of their children's emotional and academic well-being. Don't hesitate to call or write to the teachers and ask how to help your kids in a highly beneficial cooperation. Early education is the first and most important of all teamwork.
Picture: A preschooler learning to count with Mom (Arcanys Early Learning Foundation)