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Supporting your child’s education is one of your most important responsibilities as a parent. By cultivating a love of learning and knowledge at a young age, you can prepare your child for success. Here are some strategies to help you build a strong foundation for learning.
Nurture learning at home
Learning doesn’t stop when the school day ends. Children absorb as much or more at home and through their daily experiences as through a textbook. Try some of these tips to encourage learning at home:
- Keep to a routine. Make homework part of the routine by sticking to the same spot and time of day. Make sure your child has a quiet place to study. Learn how to create and maintain routines.
- Monitor homework. Check your child’s homework every night, not just to see whether it’s complete, but also for quality. Help your child carve out chunks of time to tackle larger projects.
- Praise your child’s efforts. Children learn best by positive reinforcement. Whenever you have an opportunity, praise your child for a job well done.
- Encourage learning at home. If your child is interested in insects, buy an ant farm. Talk about something in the news or books you and other family members are reading. Fostering full-time learning is one of the best ways to equip children for life after graduation and future success.
Build a relationship with your child’s school
Your relationship with the school will show your child and the school’s educators the importance you attach to education. Even if you relocate often or are temporarily deployed, there are ways you can build a relationship with the school and your child’s teachers to help your child perform as well as possible:
- Meet the teacher. Allowing your child’s teacher to put a face with your name is a great way to show your investment in your child’s education.
- Attend events. Being present at back-to-school nights, school board meetings, open houses and school fairs can help both you and your child feel more connected to the school.
- Volunteer. There are dozens of ways to give your time to your child’s school, so it’s just a matter of finding a way to volunteer that suits your schedule.
- Join the parent-teacher group. Attending PTA/PTO meetings can be a great way to stay in the loop about what’s happening at the school and get involved.
- Stay connected to teachers during deployment. No matter where military duty takes you, discover ways to stay connected to your child’s teachers during your deployment.
Tap into support and resources
Providing the best possible education for your child is not a one-person job. Be sure to tap into the support and resources of your military community.
- School liaisons are the main contact for military families, local school systems and installation command for school-related matters pre-K through 12. Local school liaisons help with transition support before and after a PCS and assist military-connected children with Interstate Compact compliance. School liaisons provide information on school districts and boundaries, assist with transfer of credits and class registration, help locate after-school and extracurricular programs, set up tutoring and youth sponsorship referrals, and help with college, career and military readiness. They can also connect you to the Exceptional Family Member Program and your school’s special education department, as well as help you navigate your new school district’s special education program.
- Home-schooling resources are available on your installation. They include local school liaisons and child, youth and teen programs. You can also find home-schooling support and activities when you are located on an installation with a Department of Defense Education Activity school.
- Tutoring resources can help your child keep up or catch up. Tutor.com for U.S. Military and Their Families can help your student stay ahead or get caught up. Live tutors are online and can help with homework, studying, test prep, proofreading, organizational skills and more. Tutoring and homework help is available 24/7 at no cost to active-duty service members, their spouses and K-12 dependents, as well as surviving spouses (unmarried) and surviving dependent children and orphans of personnel who died on active duty or while in retired status (whether the surviving spouse remarries or not).
- The Head Start program teaches reading, math and other developmental skills to children 5 and younger before they start school. If your family has low income, a foster child or a child with special needs, see if you quality for this program. If you are stationed overseas, Sure Start is open to command-sponsored military children who meet specific age requirements and other criteria.
- The DOD MWR Libraries is a free, online resource for service members and their families that offer a wide variety of activities and materials for all ages — including eBooks and audiobooks on virtually every topic. Children can learn to read, explore interests, research school assignments, access professional tutors for homework help and much more.
- Military OneSource education consultants can assist you with questions about your child’s education. These one-on-one sessions are free, confidential and can provide you with referrals to in-home tutors and tutoring centers in your area as well as public and private school information. Contact Military OneSource any time to schedule an appointment. Call 800-342-9647, view international calling options or schedule a live chat.
Give your child the best chance for success. Foster an appreciation for learning — it can help your child meet his or her potential and develop life skills that extend far beyond the classroom.