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Family + school = perfect partners

Category: Option E Educating

Submitted by on Thu 05/11/15 08:21

Parents and schools have an important partnership in educating children. We are both factors in an equation that adds up to successful kids. 

To employ a handy metaphor, you could say that the school specialises in teaching and learning much like doctors specialise in medicine. The ‘first aid’ however, is provided at home, and also plays a crucial role. If either is missing, this can have a significant impact on the quality of educational outcomes.

The Australian government also recognises this connection. They’ve recently committed additional funding to researching exactly how much parental involvement can benefit a child’s education. They are focusing on these five areas:

  • academic outcomes
  • engagement with school work
  • school attendance
  • behaviour
  • social skills 

With almost half a century of providing quality education to local and international students, Brisbane Adventist College has long encouraged parental involvement in student learning.


  1. Be involved – take an interest. Children absorb their parents’ attitude to learning, so by simply taking an interest yourself, you can increase their level of interest and engagement in the classroom too. In a practical way, be involved wherever you can in school programs and events. Talk about topics they’re learning over dinner at night. If you take their education seriously – and convey that you expect them to do the same – they will follow. 
  2. Always be positive. It’s a journey! Parents who stay positive through the ups and downs of schooling help children feel less fearful of failure and create space for learning resilience to develop. When your child comes across a problem they can’t solve, encourage them to look for alternative solutions or suggest they seek extra help from their teacher. This will pay off in a big way in their senior secondary years – when you won’t necessarily be able to help them academically and advocating for their own learning is very important. 
  3. Link learning to reality. Expect your child’s career aspirations to change over time, but always link their interests to the real world. Doing this maintains their motivation and understanding of the importance of schooling. However, just like it was for some students in our generation, your child may still be unclear about the future even as they near the end of their senior years. Help them narrow the field by collaboratively considering options based on their interests and emerging skills. Always encourage them to make conscious choices. This will set them up for success and give them much sought-after control in their lives. 
  4. Value curiosity. Make learning something you do as a family. Be at ease with stories and books, play number games and engage your child’s curiosity in the world. If an interesting topic comes up in conversation, research it together. By doing so, the classroom will be less unnatural for your child. Learning will become part of their makeup. (Never fear, you don’t have to have the answers! The best learning always starts with a question.)
  5. Make space for learning. People debate the educational benefit of homework all the time and the jury’s still out on that – sorry! However, we do know that small, structured amounts of home-work (work at home), begun early in a child’s schooling, develops good practises for later schooling. We also believe that there are ways of making it less ‘painful’ and, thus, more conducive to instilling a responsible work ethic:
    1. Give your child a comfortable, quiet place to work where external distractions are limited

    2. Prepare a healthy afternoon snack so ‘homework time’ is more pleasant (Soften the blow of getting to the books when they’d rather be doing other things!)

    3. Get it done early and set a time limit. Don’t get bogged down – the main goal is productivity, not perfection

    4. If necessary, help but never take over. Keep it light and positive even when frustration looms. If they hit a roadblock, encourage them to have a go and consult their teacher tomorrow

Parents PLUS teachers EQUAL successful kids.

If you have concerns about your child’s learning, make an appointment with their teacher to discuss how we can partner with you in their better learning health. 


By Debbie Cosier. Writer and education blogger from Fresh Writing with a background in teaching and learning enrichment. E:




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