(BPT) - As summer winds down, the excitement of back-to-school shopping, new classes and making new friends are top of mind for children across the country. Parents face the familiar challenge of getting their children prepared for a successful year. The demands of a new school year however, can be nerve-wracking. Between new teachers, an increased workload and a new schedule, excitement can quickly turn into worry.
The good news is when parents are involved in their children's education, children tend to do better and have more positive feelings about going to school. And students who actively engage in educational opportunities learn more and better than students who take a more passive approach to learning. In fact, research shows students reading above grade level in the third grade are more likely to graduate from high school at higher rates, and students who take advanced math courses by high school are more likely to attend and graduate from college.
'One skill essential to children's academic success is the ability to learn on their own,' says Dominique Ciccarelli, education spokesperson for Kumon North America. 'It's important for parents to help cultivate confident and independent children who become lifelong learners both inside and outside the classroom.'
Fortunately, there are many ways parents can encourage learning opportunities. Here are five easy ways parents can support their children's learning at home and throughout the school year:
*Encourage your child to read. Turn reading sessions into a fun and engaging activity. Reading to kids exposes them to richer vocabulary than adults normally use in day-to-day life, and can positively impact their language, intelligence and later literacy achievement. As they get older, continue to make reading a daily activity whether you read to them, they read to you or you read together. Reading is not just an important milestone in a child's education, it also opens doors to a lifetime of entertainment and enrichment.
*Promote active learning at home. Turn daily routines into practical learning opportunities. Children learn problem-solving, math, science and vocabulary as they help with groceries, cooking and even laundry. Cooking with your children is an excellent way to further develop math skills by having your children help with measurements. Incorporate learning and fun by hosting a weekly family game night. Educational board games like Monopoly encourage children to read, interact and count with currency.
*Enroll in a supplemental education program.Learning doesn't have to stop when the bell rings. Enrolling in an academic enrichment program is a great opportunity to provide your children with an advantage in the new school year. Kumon, the world's largest after-school math and reading program, has more than four million students studying at 26,000 learning centers in 49 countries. Kumon uses an individualized approach to help unlock the potential of children in preschool through high school. Through daily practice, children develop a solid command of math and reading skills by progressing at their own pace. Kumon is offering a $30 Amazon gift card for all new enrollments at participating centers during the month of September.
*Partner with educators.Parents can support their child's educational development by working with educators to support learning. Play an active role in your child's education by knowing what they are studying at school and routinely communicating with their teachers. You don't have to wait for parent teacher conferences. Set expectations and academic goals at the beginning of the school year and routinely check in on your child's progress.
*Capitalize on your child's interest.Children learn best when they actively learn about topics that have already captivated their interest. If your children are fascinated in how things are made, let them help put together household items that require assembly. Name the tools you are using and talk about what you are doing and why. If they are interested in sports, use that as a fun opportunity to discuss math. Talk about common statistics like batting averages and earned-run averages, or even have your children keep the score.