Many people ask us just how much the success of their child is affected by regular parent involvement. As a tutoring company, we have had ample opportunity to oversee the progress and measure the variables in which alter a student’s development. In support of our experiences, many studies show that a child’s educational success is in fact directly correlated to the amount of involvement set forth by his or her caretaker.
Typically, maintaining regular involvement in your child’s education results in better grades and test scores, consistent homework completion, and better behavioral regulation. We understand how crazy parenthood can get; and yes, we agree—24 hours in a day just isn’t what it used to be! So, here are a few tips that can help you stay involved:
Parent involvement in education is an important component of your child’s success. Even the little things, like asking what your child learned in school, can make a difference in their self-esteem and educational value. And remember, Thinking Caps is here to help.
As college students we are told to pick one subject we are interested in and in four short years pick our lifelong careers. We are supposed to have an idea of who we are and what we want our careers to look like while relying on classes we took in High School to help us choose. But what happens when you can’t decide what you want to be at the age of 18?
I am currently a student at Columbia University’s Teacher's College pursuing my M.A. in Clinical Psychology. I am fairly young at 23, but have been through quite the journey to get to where I am now in my career.
To explain this, let’s travel back in time. It was the year 2000 and I wanted to be a doctor. I pretended to have a white lab coat on, reconstructed empty Advil containers and relabeled them with yellow tape as "Medicine." I tried to see if my four-year-old brother was sick or not by making him stick out his tongue and placing a wooden Popsicle stick on the top of his tongue. He seemed fine to me, but just in case, I gave him "pills" from my Medicine box (jelly bean candies) to be taken then and there. That was it, I decided. I was going to become a doctor.
Fast forward a few years to a Human Anatomy class my junior year of High School. My teacher tells us that we would be dissecting rats and frogs. I was out of there faster than a cat being chased by a dog. It turns out that our insides do not look as pretty as children medical books tell us they do. That same year I took my first Psychology course and fell in love with the subject.
I started school at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas as a Psychology major. I soon thereafter joined a research lab, and loved being part of a psychology research team. I was finishing my psychology curriculum fairly quickly so I decided to take a business course. My junior year of college I switched my major from Psychology to Business Management. I found the world of business just as fascinating as I had found medicine back when I was eight years old. I became obsessed with reading business books and studied successful business environments. Although I loved the business sector, I could not manage to understand Accounting and decided to switch back to the Psychology major.
Now that I wasn't in the Business field I was still curious about other areas of study such as Law. I began working in the legal field as a student assistant to three attorneys as I was sure that law school could be a potential fit for me. It turns out that I did not love the daily job of being an attorney as much as I loved working in that office. After graduation, I moved to Washington DC to live with my sister. In the meantime, I spent about eight months interning in Washington, D.C. with a Congresswoman. It was one of the best experiences of my life as I saw firsthand how lawmaking works within our government.
Perhaps Politics is not my calling, but how else would I have known had I not been involved in politics for that long? I may not pursue that career any longer, but I still keep up with politics in general and have a more keen understanding of how Congress works. The fast-paced environment of the government can at times create a lot of anxiety within employees. Instead of becoming fascinated with the processes that go into lawmaking, I became more interested in studying the behaviors of the employers and interested in what could potentially help ease their anxiety. This realization led me to apply to the M.A. program at Columbia University.
The more subjects you explore, the more you realize which path you want to take. Most people know Johnny Depp as an actor, but do not know that he is also a talented musician.
It's important to know that we don’t need to necessarily have just one passion. We can have multiple things we love that enrich our lives as much as one career path would. All of the careers that I thought I would become have helped me become a much more well-rounded person. My curiosity to explore different subjects in depth has brought me to where I am now. Every subject I explored has quenched my curiosity so that I am able to continue on with Psychology with more confidence and affection.
A student asks: : This year I made the transition to middle school and I’m having a hard time feeling "smart." I get 100% on all of my homework assignments, but I always end up doing poorly on the exam. When I review the answers afterwards, I usually say things like "Why didn’t I see that?" or "That was so easy!" I think I have test anxiety.
Answer: We can’t tell you how many times we've heard this challenge from students and parents. You might think this may be a problem of "test anxiety," but most of the time, the problem comes from how you prepare for exams. Learning is a challenging process that places strain on your brain and motivation. The small wins of making progress and getting into a groove that fits your learning style will provide you with the energy to keep going. Use the following tips to get you heading in the right direction:
A parent asks: My daughter is a kinesthetic learner and jumps from room to room when studying. I’ve heard that some kids do this to retain material, but I’m concerned that she is spending too much time moving from one room to the next and not actually spending time studying.
Answer: Varying the place you study is a change that requires very little effort on your daughter's part, but can dramatically boost her long-term retention of material. We recommend that your daughter chooses several different places to study and rotates them. It doesn't take much effort to study in a different room in your house. Research has actually shown that people who study in different places perform better on tests. The more you vary the environment in which you study, the more you provide your brain with memory cues to recall information. So make sure to encourage your daughter to mix up study locations. More cues are better than fewer cues!
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