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Posted on 08/28/2008 2:48 PM EST
Parental attitude encourages student success

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Ann Wilmer
Salisbury, MD – Parents’ attitude toward school has a significant effect on student readiness to return to school after summer vacation.

Attitude can be a predictor of aptitude, and a positive attitude is contagious. Educators say it starts with parents.

Becky Grinath, executive director of Sylvan Learning Center, said parents’ first priority should be to create a home environment that supports learning. Preparation doesn’t begin and end with the obligatory back-to-school shopping for clothes and school supplies.

Every conversation about the new school year should “focus on the excitement of beginning the next grade.” Easy conversation starters are questions about the new teacher and your student’s classmates. This can lead into more substantive discussions about learning.

“Establish priorities,” she said. Grinath advises parents to demonstrate that school responsibilities come before other activities. One way to do that is to set up a study area for your student. Decide together on a place to study away from potential distractions. Stock it with pens and pencils (and a pencil sharpener), paper, and include a dictionary and thesaurus.

During the first couple weeks of school, parents and students can plan for success by setting reasonable, attainable goals together. If turning in homework assignments was problematic last year, this year’s goals should include getting all assignments recorded in the student agenda and getting all homework materials brought home. Determine the best steps to accomplish this. Follow through with consistency and structure.

“Preparation is key to success in most endeavors. School is no different,” said Grinath. “It’s much easier to sustain a positive attitude than to turn around a negative one.”

Because many students lose their command of skills they don’t use over the summer, a few review sessions may serve to refresh those skills and keep students from falling behind. She advises parents to always monitor their child’s schoolwork closely and to pay special attention as new concepts are introduced.

Celebrating 11 years on the Eastern Shore, Sylvan Learning Centers have served over 2700 local students from 185 local schools with engaging programs that help to create a lifetime love of learning. Programs in reading, writing, math, algebra and study skills as well as SAT prep offer a wide range of supplemental education for students of all ages and abilities.

For more information, call 410-341-4100.

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