Parents who enroll their children in an educational enrichment academy like A Grade Ahead are making an investment in their children’s future with both their time and money. Here are some tips for parents and students to make the most of an educational enrichment program – in other words, to get their money’s worth!
Afterschool Learning Enrichment:
Tips for Parents and Students
Show Your Engagement
As a parent, I understand the need to use time wisely. Sometimes, you must allocate the time your child is in enrichment classes to run to Target, pick up dry cleaning, or return emails. But once per month, at the very least, take the time to park the car and go in to the academy at the end of your child’s class. Ask if your child is behaving properly, what concepts he or she excelled at, and what concepts he or she might need to spend a little extra time with at home. Just by popping in for a few seconds, your student will know that you are paying attention, and you will send a message that you expect him or her to be taking full advantage of the opportunity you are providing.
Get to Know Your Child’s Teacher
Most enrichment academies have a short window in between classes. Use this time to make a connection with your child’s teacher. The break isn’t long enough for a detailed conference, but you can form a partnership with the teacher. If you want to make the most of an educational enrichment program, the two of you will need to work as a team!
Together, you and the enrichment teacher will monitor your student’s educational progress and work together if a topic or concept seems difficult. The teacher can see what the student struggles with in class, but you are the one who has to make sure that your child actually spends time on that topic at home. Once you’ve shown the teacher that you understand this and are involved in your child’s education, you can communicate with each other through notes or even emails.
Don’t forget that communication goes both ways. If you haven’t heard from your child’s teacher recently, write a note to check in. And, every so often, it can help to drop by in person. That way you can make sure you’re both still on the same page.
Pay Attention at Home—But Not Too Much
Most educational enrichment programs incorporate homework as an element of their curriculum. If your student is young, you need to be an active participant in the homework process by explaining examples and talking through problems. But around the 3rd grade, students need to be given more independence to read through examples on their own and try to complete homework without parental assistance. This will help the student gain confidence in his or her abilities. Of course, being available to answer questions is always advisable, but try not to lead the sessions. Simply offer assistance as requested.
Create a Homework Routine
Speaking of homework, it is important to create a routine that works for your family. Some families might like to work on homework in the morning before school. Others might look at the family activity calendar each week and plot out the days that will be allocated for enrichment homework. Either way, it is best to be proactive about planning when homework will be accomplished.
If all homework is left until the night before class, it puts stress on the entire family, and the student does not master the material either. Prior planning assures that the program is being effectively managed. For more tips on getting your child motivated to do their homework, check out Emily Karth’s Ask Emily column from A Grade Ahead’s blog.
Make Sure Your Child Does His or Her Homework
Most educational enrichment students are bright, and sometimes, they can be sneaky. Make sure you are reviewing your child’s homework thoroughly. Kids tend to skip the most challenging questions or those which require extensive writing. Usually, these are the questions that they need to work on the most.
Double check and grade the homework – don’t just flip through the material to see if each answer is completed. Some students will do filler work or complete cheap answers just to make the appearance that they have completed the work. If you are grading your student’s work, he or she won’t be able to get away with that. If you are pressed for time, many enrichment programs have a grading service for an additional charge that you might find valuable.
Call If You Have Questions
Every educational enrichment program has services to ensure that your students are succeeding in the program and being prepared for success in the future. They want to know if a parent has questions. If you aren’t sure about something, pick up the phone or stop in at the front desk.
Whether you have questions about how much time the homework should take each week, how to take a break from the program, how to continue while on vacation, the class rules, or anything else, ask. Ultimately, the aim is for families to have a terrific experience that will continue for many years.
Do you have any other tips for parents in an educational enrichment program? What do you do to maximize your investment?
Author: Amy Daniels, Marketing Manager, A Grade Ahead