Both of my boys are on very different levels in all areas of life. I have one going into first grade and one starting his journey into middle school. My older son is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder so my struggles emotionally with him are different– an entirely new school, new teachers, and placed into a school that is not considered an appropriate setting for him.
I actively engage with my kids and support them throughout the year with their school work. I don’t do their homework for them, of course, but I assist them where they need it. I still sign off on their homework and make sure that it is completed. Over the years, I have seen their academic progress. They strive and have adopted my expectations as their own, getting their work completed with the highest quality possible.
As a parent, I want to ensure my kids receive the education that is best for them. This year my first grader is transitioning to deeper learning with higher academic standards (Common Core State Standards). These high academic expectations will challenge and improve his critical thinking skills. I also believe it will better prepare him in the long run. My oldest may deal with the changes differently due to his unique abilities.
My kids are very different and so are their learning styles but my duty remains the same. It’s my duty to ensure they are in the best learning environment where they can thrive and realize their God given potential. At the end of the day, I need to be there for both of them through this transition.
Below are a few tips that work for us — It keeps them engaged and keeps learning alive throughout the summer:
- We read and discuss what we are reading together. My kids different ages and reading levels bring about a more in-depth conversation regardless of the material we’re reviewing.
- Applying learning through whatever we do. We may be playing basketball while discussing measurement of the point system. We may talk about the history of basketball which will lead my boys to do more research online (exposing them to more technology and research skills).
- Traveling and going to the aquarium or zoo. My kids learn about different animals and regions of the world which brings more of a discussion about ecosystems in various countries.
- Discuss the upcoming year and fears you all have. Talk about what to expect and create goals for social, emotional and academic success (a great opportunity to focus on the whole child here!).
- We go school shopping together and I let them take ownership and take responsibility for what is needed. We review our lists and our budget and use planning, math, reasoning and money management skills while I empower my boys to make their own choices.
After school and evening routines foster more learning, responsibility, emotional development, and academic growth:
- Nightly discussions on a “high” and “low” of your day. The children need to share what was the best part of their day and the hardest part of the day. Allow your kids to process and reflect on their experiences both good and bad.
- Continue to reinforce the importance of school and remind them that learning never ends.
With the new Common Core State Standards, we have to ensure that our children receive a strong education foundation they can build upon for their future success.
By: Eileen Carter-Campos (@MommyT3aches)
New York City Educator & Freelance Writer
Named as a Top Latina Blogger in 2013 by Latism
Nominated for Hispano Blogger & Social Revolucion SXSWi 2013 Awards
The original article first appeared in MommyTeaches.com