Every parent hopes for the best for their child. Parents often spend the early childhood years working to encourage creative growth and create a learning environment. We read books, sing songs and play games. These education activities are vital to prepare students to enter schools. Unfortunately, many stop their parent involvement at this time, mistakenly believing that the school will take over their child’s formation. However, parents need to continue to take an active role in their children’s education into high school and beyond.

Parents as Primary Educators

We often hear it said that parents are their children’s first teacher. Of course this is true. But parents also continue to be their children’s primary educator for their entire schooling. The school may be teaching your child about reading, writing and arithmetic, but your child is learning about attitudes toward education from you.

If you don’t see homework as a priority, your child won’t either. If you don’t create a home atmosphere that fosters learning, your child also won’t value it. Make discussing the importance of education a regular part of your home life, and your children will mimic your values.

In addition, don’t give up once your children reach middle and high school. Too many parents believe that they lose all influence over their children at this age. The prevailing wisdom is that teens have a mind of their own so why try to change them. Unfortunately, this negative mindset means that many children who would flourish with a little encouragement are instead left to their own devices.

Education Activities

When children are young, it is easy to find activities that encourage learning. However, it can be more difficult for parents of pre-teens and teens. Here are a couple suggestions for making education a priority for the young adult in your household:

Explore Careers: Take the time to sit down with your son or daughter and find out what interests them. Then take a few “field trips” to see those careers in action. For example veterinary medicine interests them, ask if your local vet will talk to your child or let them sit in on an exam.

Arrange for Job Shadowing: After you’ve explored a few careers and your child seems especially interested in one or two, arrange for some job shadow days. Many professionals are happy to have young people accompany them for a few hours to get an in-depth feel for what their job entails.

Review College Brochures Together: Once students take the PSAT, SAT or ACT, they can find their mailboxes flooded with promotional pieces and brochures from colleges. Taking the time to look over these mailings together can be a learning experience for both you and your child.

Enlist an Education Coach: If you need help motivating your student, reach out for some professional help. A trained education coach can craft personalized education activities that fit your child’s needs and interests. In addition, a coach can help navigate the college application and admittance process.

Go Back to School Yourself: Research indicates that parent education is an excellent indicator of student achievement. Beyond simply supporting your child’s education, practice what you preach! If you never received your degree, there are a number of adult learning options available. Not only will you increase your income, you will demonstrate to your child the true importance of education.

Author's Bio: 

Tanya Knight is America’s Education Coach. As the acclaimed author of Who Says You Can’t Go to College?, Tanya is passionate about making the dream of higher education a reality for everyone. For more information and resources that will help you get a degree and the career of your dreams, visit www.theeducationcoach.com