One of the things that parents ought to do is to always ask their children to account for their performance in academics at school. When children realise that their parents are keen on their progress at school, they become responsible and focused and this brings about academic excellence. There are various ways through which parents can influence their children to excel.
When parents attend visitation days at school, they should endeavour to ask their children to brief them about their progress. Let the child talk about the areas where he excelled and why he thinks he was able to excel. The child should also be able to tell you about his weak areas and the factors responsible for such performance.
Then brainstorm on how he should keep up the excellent performance and the interventions that he should undertake to boost the performance in his weak areas. You may ask the child to set a time frame within which he will be able to transform his performance to a certain level. However, the target should be realistic. It should be within the reach of the child. If the target is too high, the child may get overwhelmed and in the process, he may give up. I have seen parents who demand for excellent results from their children even when they know that the children do not have the ability to excel.
When your child excels, show him that you are very happy about it. If he performs poorly, show him that you are concerned about it and encourage him to suggest practical ways of improving. Do not rebuke him. This approach motivates the young people to set achievable goals and to become self directed.
I have seen parents who appear on visitation days but they just pick reports from the class teachers without saying a word regarding the performance of the child. This is wrong because it instils a sense of laxity in the learner. The parent needs to analyse the report in the presence of the child and the class teacher. He should request for the opinion of the class teacher as regards the academic performance of the learner and his general conduct at school. The child’s poor performance may be due to some cases of indiscipline whereby the parent needs to about it and guide and counsel the child in the presence of the class teacher. The child should also be given the opportunity to give justification for his performance and the three parties should resolve on the way forward for the learner. Let the child know that the class teacher and the parent are keen on his performance and they are committed to help him excel.
During holidays, it is incumbent on the parent to check the books of his child. If he finds inconsistencies in the books, he should ask the child to account. The child may be having unmarked work implying that he does not hand in his books to the teachers to correct him. Some pages in between the books may be blank which may indicate that the child dodges lessons. The child may not be having books for certain subjects. Let him explain why. There are children who have tendencies of abandoning some of their books at school. By checking the books of the children during holidays, the parent makes the child conscious of his expectations. Let the child know that the parent has no compromise with inconsistencies in his books. He will be compelled to style up.
Parents should encourage their children to revise a bit when they are on holiday in order for them to prepare for the new term. They should monitor them to ensure that this is done.
The writer is a teacher at Riviera High School