ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Is your child struggling with their school work? Our expert says there are several ways parents can advocate for their children and create optimal conditions for studying and academic success.
Susan Steron, the Director of the Sylvan Learning Center in Rochester, shared some advice Friday during News 8 at Sunrise.
We’re one month into the new school year. “It’s a great time to reach out to teachers to find out how your child has started out the school year,” said Steron. “It’s not too early. A lot of parents are nervous about reaching out to teachers, but most teachers really welcome that communication and if you know your child best and you know some information that might be helpful to help your teacher, help your child, then definitely share that information right away.”
Steron said it’s important for students to be focused and prepared when it comes to homework, and parents can help with that process. “It’s really important to kind of create a good study space for your child so that at least to start they’re free of distraction, so they have all the supplies and materials that they need. I love getting a little bin filled with supplies so that my kids don’t say, I can’t find a pencil, I can’t find paper. There’s no excuses. So if you stock it with everything that you need, you’ll be ready to go and homework time will be a little bit less stressful for you. But if you’re finding that your child really needs a lot of extra support, especially early in the year, that can be a big red flag. So if it kind of carried from the previous year and they were struggling then and are struggling now, reach out, try to figure out why.”
For older students, there can be many distractions at home – these days one in particular. “Cell phones are huge distractions, especially for middle school and high school kids,” noted Steron. “And that can really impact successful homework completion. So what I like to do is tell families put your cell phones aside, even for 20 minute increments. Kids can be without their phones for 20 minutes and they can sit down and really concentrate on their work and then even set an alarm and in 20 minutes they can go and take a 10 minute break, message their friends back and then get back to work. But if they’re trying to balance, communicating, checking their phone and doing their best on their homework, it’s almost impossible to do that.”
Steron said it’s OK to provide an incentive for your child when it comes to getting their homework completed successfully. “We as adults look at learning as the big picture. You know, in a few years you’re going to go to college or in 10 years you’re going to go to college, but kids don’t always see that big picture. So bringing it down to their level and being age appropriate for them is really important. For little ones that are just starting to do homework, give them an incentive with a sticker chart or prizes at the end of the week – if you feel like they’ve sat and really done a good job. For older kids, maybe extend that out and base it off of grades. One of the great things about technology now is that you can check their grades almost immediately online so you can give kids instant feedback and praise too.”
To learn more about student programs offered by the Sylvan Learning Center, visit the Sylvan Learning website.