Dr. Robin Buchler
Dr. Robin BuchlerSuperintendent

It is hard to believe we are into the second semester of the 2018-2019 school year already! Our students have worked so hard these past five months that it can be easy to let their guard down and start to grow weary of the rigor and pace.  There will be times your children come home frustrated with a certain teacher, course, or homework assignment.

Research about learning has revealed that stress and anxiety can have a negative impact on the brain’s growth.  This lack of growth affects memory, engagement, and positive motivation. Each child’s stress level varies according to the type of support they receive from adults, as well as their environment.

According to an article “Academic Motivation: Strategies for Students” by Michael B. Brown, “letting your child know that you think school is important and providing recognition for their effort and successes can motivate learning.” Brown suggests that the following ideas can help you increase your child’s positive motivation to learn:

Encourage positive family relationships and responsibility

  • Help your child become more independent and responsible.  Assign chores and maintain high expectations for proper behavior.
  • Do fun educational things with your child and the entire family.
  • Praise your child for trying hard and for being successful.  Everyone needs continuous encouragement.
  • Celebrate often.  It can be as small as extra one-on-one time with you to an extra 30 minutes of screen time on their favorite device.

Model the importance of learning

  • Let your child know that school is important by making it your child’s highest priority
  • Let your child see you read books, newspapers, and magazines.  Set a common reading time for your family.  Talk about what you have read.
  • Talk to your child about school and do not accept “it was fine” as the only answer.
  • Talk about career interests and research the education need to be successful

Teach habits that encourage learning

  • Have a set routine for school work.  Kids need structure.
  • Set-up a “cool” learning environment in your home.
  • Make sure your child finishes homework at home.
  • Provide opportunities for success to encourage your child to try new things.
  • If you are unable to help your child with his or her homework, you can help by showing that you are interested.  Help with organization, provide the necessary tools, ask about daily assignments, have them try to teach you, praise their efforts, and communicate with your child’s teacher.

Work with your child’s teacher to enhance academic motivation

  • Show your child that you respect his or her teacher.
  • Talk regularly with the teacher so your child sees that you are communicating and that his or her learning is of utmost importance to you.
  • Develop a system to give reinforcements at home.
  • Encourage your child to read.
  • Doing part or all of your child’s homework for him or her will not help in the long run.

Parents and family members are not alone in creating a positive learning environment for their child.  Partnering with your child’s teacher and other school personnel is very important.  Together, we can provide a wealth of academic support for your child to gain the tools needed in today’s complex, competitive world.