Here are Tutor Doctor’s tips to help parents play an active role during their child’s academic journey!
1. Ask them to teach you. Have your child give you a lesson or summary on what they are learning. This can be a book they are reading, a historical event they are learning about, or even an academic concept they are currently studying. We absolutely love the “let them teach you” method, because it’s actually accomplishing two things at once – on one hand, you are showing your child that you take an active interest in what they are learning about. As an added bonus, the act of “reteaching” material is also an incredibly effective way to help your child reinforce the concepts they are learning!
2. Encourage extracurricular activities. If your child is learning about something that has piqued their interest, always encourage them to explore it further! Extracurricular activities often refer to school-based programs, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Nature hikes, road trips, museum visits, and library days are all awesome weekend activities that can encourage curiosity and exploration!
3. Keep lines of communication open. It’s important to remind your children that they have a safe space with you, and that they can feel comfortable telling you anything. As many parents know, children often withhold information because they want to avoid “getting into trouble.” Reminding your child that you won’t be upset will help to encourage honesty and transparency. Let your child know that while some of life’s obstacles may seem daunting, it’s important to have a constant pillar of love and support – their own personal advocate!
4. Meet with their teacher. A common concern we get from parents is “I feel like I never really hear from his/her teacher.” A combination of factors are often involved, and the transition to virtual learning during the pandemic undoubtedly made it more difficult for both parents and teachers to maintain open lines of communication. In many cases, there’s an unseen outside factor that is contributing to the issue – in one particular example, a parent reached out after their student was receiving a nearly-failing grade on their progress report. The parent reported that they couldn’t understand how the teacher had not made them aware of their child’s performance earlier. After the family had been paired with a tutor, it was discovered that the parent had accidentally filled in their child’s cell phone information on the teacher’s contact form. As a result, all of the teacher’s phone calls had gone directly to the student’s phone (which promptly went unanswered). Furthermore, the tutor discovered that the parent’s email spam filter had been withholding messages from their child’s teacher, resulting in an effective “communication blackout” for nearly half the semester. So we really can’t stress this enough – parents should ensure from the beginning of the school year that you are able to reach your child’s teacher without any issues!
5. Work with a tutor. As the above example illustrates, it’s not always easy for parents to keep track of everything. An honest mistake can result in serious damage, and it can be helpful to have a resource on your side. Whereas you can be your child’s best advocate, a tutor can be your advocate! The tutors we work with emphasize keeping parents “in the loop” with detailed progress reports after every single session. In addition, tutors are often able to work with your child’s teacher in order to gain a deeper insight into your student’s academic needs.