6 Steps to Student Academic Success

"My daughter hates school," one parent told me in a conversation over lunch. I listened as she explained the exhausting struggle of doing school amidst the battle of bad attitudes. As we discussed this mother's approach to academics, I found some interesting poisons that had been laid at the root of this child's academic growth resulting in stunted student academic success.

Click Here To Get A Free Report On 16 Proven Ways To Motivate Your Child To Do Better In School...

Plus, receive a "Live Demonstration Inside Our Unique 1 On 1 Online Classroom."
"And how do you feel about school?" I asked the mother. Her answer was shocking to me, although not uncommon. "I hated school growing up, and I just don't see how all this is going to affect her life."

This is the unfortunate story of more and more parents and students. As I come into contact with them, parents are frustrated because students are not achieving school standards. Students are frustrated because they don't understand content in certain subjects, combined with the weight of their parents' disapproval.

How do we stop this cycle of underachieving students? Let's take a look at 6 ways to improve family relationships, grades, and attitudes resulting in increased student academic success.

Parents must understand that their attitudes toward life and school will be directly reflected in their children. Children follow the lead of their parents, becoming what is modeled for them. A parent who believes that school is a waste and a burden will produce a child with a similar view. In contrast, though, a parent who pushes their child in love to succeed and grow will produce a child who believes in the value of education and effort in life.

Parents must set the priorities, activities, and schedules of the home.

1. Turn off the television and video games

One of the roots of underachievement in academics is a constant media stimulus. Children no longer have to imagine anything. It is imagined for them. Stories aren't written by children anymore, because children simply sit and let stories wash over them, with characters that are often simple and predictable.

In the same ways, video games provide very little choice and development of strategy. True thinking and reasoning ability has been replaced with a faster response time to electronic stimuli. The "old-fashioned" quiet thinking in a game of chess or checkers has been replaced with limited options that appear on a screen.

Encourage your child to create, imagine, play and record on their own. I encourage my students to always be imagining some new place, devising a character with shocking attributes, creating a plot that will captivate a reader. This active thinking is fuel for student academic development.

2. Create a daily schedule to make children accountable at home

The schedule should include some kind of chores at home. What do chores have to do with school? A child who believes they have a sense of duty at home will also respond positively to teachers and others in authority. A child who is rewarded for a job well done at home will see the same incentive in academic effort.

3. Require daily homework time, and help your child stay organized for school

Young children who are left to their own efforts with homework will often do only part or lose pieces that must be returned. Schedule time with your child to go over the assignments, assist with questions, and gather papers and materials to return to school. This helps your child complete tasks, and teaches good habits in organizing, finishing tasks, and preparing for the following day.

4. Ensure other habits in the home that establish security and routine

Many families participate in sports and other extracurricular activities. While this may be healthy, some students are overwhelmed with the constant activity. Make sure your child has an ample amount of "down time" to enjoy hobbies and friends as well. Preparing a meal together, eating as a family and sharing the events of the day, going for a walk as a family, and following a bedtime ritual are all effective ways to provide meaningful parenting. Listen to the thoughts, struggles, needs, and hopes of your child both directly and indirectly. A parent who is present and attentive will pick up on both.

5. Provide encouragement and acceptance for your child, even when he or she is struggling to achieve

Children need to know that their parents believe in them, and that parents will continue to love and encourage them toward success.

6. Model the characteristics you want to see in them

If you desire children who love to learn, you must love learning also. You will show them the attitudes that are worth embracing.

I love sitting down with my own children and having conversations that go something like this:

"Yesterday before bed I was thinking about a story about a monster under the moat of a castle." This simple statement makes them perk up.

"What did the monster look like?" one of them asked.

"I'm not sure yet. Can you give me some advice?"

After some silence one of them says, "I think he's gray, and slithers. People don't see him because he's smaller."

"Yeah," chimes in another, "he has spikes on his back and is 15 feet long, but he only comes out at night when trespassers try to cross the moat."

"What's a trespasser?" asks the littler one.

"He's the one who got eaten last night by Snapper," says the oldest. "I'm going to go draw a picture of him so you can see it, and then I'm going to write the rest of the story."

"Thanks!" I say, as I go about cleaning up. In a few minutes I created imaginative play, writers, illustrators, and increased vocabulary. I also modeled writing as something fun and worth doing.

Parents have this ability to set the example and help students strive for success. Let us start with ourselves as we find renewed perspective to encourage our children toward worthy goals.

Related Articles