Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How Good is Your Child's Elementary School? Let's Put Your Mind at Ease

A common topic parents have brought up in my recent travels is the concern for the quality of the education or the clientele at the neighborhood elementary school. Should they look into other schools if the campus is old and the school doesn't have the latest equipment? If the school scores less than 8 or 9, does that make it a bad school? Will kids get a good education if they don't go to a magnet or charter school?

Do these 5 things, and you won't have to worry about your child's elementary school!

  1. Read to your child daily, or make sure that from about third grade on, your child reads independently (Read novels together with older kids. It will give you something interesting to talk about, give you insights into how your child thinks, provide a good model, and bring you closer. My 15-year old and I still read novels aloud to each other, and we're both avid readers!)
  2. Keep tabs on homework to make sure your child completes assignments on time.
  3. Review schoolwork and homework with your child to correct mistakes.
  4. Get the run-down on your child's day at school every day. Details! Gimme Details!
  5. Find out what themes your child's class is working on at school and do things to support those themes at home.
  • Are the kids studying plants? Take them to a nursery. Shine a flashlight under a lettuce leaf to look at the veins. Put apple seeds in a clear glass against a wet paper towel to watch the seeds sprout. Go to, click on your child's grade level, and check out websites on plants.

William Bowen, a former president of Princeton University, author of Crossing the Finish Line, found that the schools kids go to has much less to do with whether a child will graduate from college some day than high school grades - from ANY school! Students with 3.0 grade point averages or better in high school have a much greater chance at getting a degree than peers with lower grades. Bowen says kids with higher grades do better at the university level because they have the ability to finish projects, and they have the necessary study skills.

Do the five things I mentioned above and start developing good study skills and a sense of responsibility toward schoolwork now to nurture successful, well-educated children.