At Belgrave Heights Christian School (BHCS) we realise how valuable our parents are. Schools can only do so much to impart knowledge and information, but parents play an unbelievably vital role in cementing and reinforcing the cultural wisdom that can only be provided in the home environment.
A crucial factor in achieving high academic standards is the home-school relations component of learning. In fact, studies show that ‘good parenting, including providing a safe, secure and intellectually stimulating home environment, and modelling educational values and aspirations….has a significant and positive effect on achievement and adjustment’ (Factsheet: Parent Engagement in Learning).
You make a difference. Your modelling to your children, your own approach to learning and reading – it all contributes to a positive experience of education for your kids. The results obtained in the Social-Emotional Wellbeing Survey 2018 reveal that our students are placing a high value on learning skills (52.9% as compared with 34.7% for All Schools).
So, how can you continue to support your child’s learning at home? Here are some practical tips to choose from:
Perhaps you have kids who haven’t quite reached school age yet. Great! There are a number of ways you can encourage learning before they even step through the doors of a classroom.
Bedtime is the perfect time to read a story together – sounding out words, getting lost in the pictures and making up different endings to your favourite books. There are so many skills that this deceptively simple activity can build – from strengthening imagination, to contributing to early literacy skills (have a read of this article for more of the benefits).
Encourage Learning in Nature
The world is a playground just waiting to be explored – from the beautiful nature walks only a few minutes away in our stunning hills to the treasure trove of ingredients waiting to be foraged from the undergrowth. Kids love going on adventures and the experience will boost their appreciation of our incredible world, highlight the beauty of the environment and actually confer great psychological benefits for us too! Check out ‘How walking in nature prevents depression‘).
So your child has entered the wide, complicated world of schooling for the first time! Take heart – there are a lot of ways to help them settle in and reinforce the key skills that they need at home.
Connect with Teachers
Our teachers are here to partner with you and work with you to help your child get the best possible education for their entire being. The more information that our teachers have about your child, the better they can help them become motivated to learn. Take the opportunity to meet with your child’s teachers, email any helpful background you can and approach the relationship as one where you can both work together to help bring out the best possible outcome.
Talk About Learning Positively
Parents have a crucial impact upon their child’s academic performance (see this comprehensive UK study for more information). Your attitude towards learning will trickle down to your kids and inform their own way of absorbing information. What language do you use to talk about learning? Do you invest in courses, books, helpful online videos to further your own education? The more you model a keen interest in learning and remain enthusiastic about your kids’ experiences, the greater their academic outcomes will be.
School is old news now, right? Or is it? Keep that curiosity and thirst for learning alive so that your children can absorb incredible amounts of knowledge at school and at home!
Follow the Leads
Is it extraordinary fascination with that science project or a dogged obsession with playing a song learned in Music? Perhaps your child won’t go to sleep without his soccer ball or dreams of becoming a world famous fashion designer. Whatever it is, take note of these clues. How can you further this embrace of learning at home? Is it a matter of finding some tutorial YouTube videos to watch together, or taking the time on a Saturday afternoon to play kick-to-kick? We live in an age where information and training exists only a tap (or short drive) away. Let’s use the resources we have to encourage great learning!
So much goes on in the mind of a parent and we understand that sometimes it can be easier just to focus on what is necessary to keep the family running. Often, however, it doesn’t take long to ask a few key questions and show interest in what your child is fascinated with. Elaboration is one key way of learning material and can help your kid discover connecting factors and find out where their weak knowledge points are.
How did this happen? Wasn’t it only just yesterday they started school? This part of their schooling journey is crucial in helping our growing kids establish key planning and preparation strategies, time-management skills and gain those all important independence skills for learning to make it on their own in the big, exciting world one day in the not-too-distant future.
Talk About Strategies for Study
One of the big realities for students in Senior School is the fact that there are lots of requirements for them to demonstrate their learning. There are some great ways to reinforce their retention of information, including this practice of Jumbling it Up (also known as interleaving) or Spacing it Out. While these techniques can be difficult to implement in a traditional schooling environment, they are perfect for adopting in home study environments to help students get the most out of their learning.
Make Time for Play
It can be tempting for some students to bury themselves in study and extracurricular activities. While this seems worthwhile in principle, in reality it actually does them a disservice, only causing spikes in mental health pressures instead (see ‘Playtime Isn’t Just For Preschoolers, Teenagers Need It, Too’). Make sure they allow time for just ‘being’, time for enjoying life and their friends as well. This switch in focus should allow for greater effectiveness when they do return to study.
Education is a complicated and dynamic equation that is highly dependent on teachers, students and parents to work together to create the best outcomes. We hope that you will enjoy joining us to figure out the most effective ways that we can inspire, encourage and challenge your kids to find joy, curiosity and satisfaction in the learning journey.