Letter writer offers advice for a successful school year

Dear Editor:

Now that the dust has settled on another school year start, it’s a good time to take inventory with a parental quiz.

Are you assuming that everything is going swimmingly or are you taking nothing for granted and communicating vigorously with your child on what they’re doing and how’s it going? Any classwork problems, any bullying? Obviously, your kid doesn’t have a crystal ball and won’t know you value education unless you show it by showing interest, probing for issues, setting high expectations and insisting on hard work.

Are you on School Loop where with the touch of a computer keyboard you can assess your child’s attendance, assignments and grades? Today, there is no excuse to be surprised at a report card; you can catch the problem before it mushrooms.

Are you monitoring your child’s sleep habits? Remember, sleep deficit is a national epidemic and without those crucial 8 to 110 hours rest behavior, attitude, energy and focus all suffer. Be proactive by structuring homework time and limiting internet and T.V. usage.

Are you making sure your child gets a daily jump start with a good breakfast and maintains energy with a balanced lunch?

Have you set aside a quiet, comfortable work area with dictionary for your child to do their homework?

Have you pledged to read to, or with, your child, if not daily for twenty minutes, at least weekly?  Are you a role model of life-long learning who they see reading and do you use daily life experiences as teaching moments?

Do you praise your child’s achievements and honest efforts and, in the face of shortcomings, seek interventions?o If your child is struggling there are after school programs, real-time tutors thru the county library site at ccclib.org and over 3,000 heralded and, yes, free, on-line tutorials at www.khanacademy.org.

Education is a three legged stool of students, teachers and parents. It’s a simple fact that involved parents make a difference. Be an unsung hero as a mom or dad active in your child’s education. After all, you are their ultimate teacher. It all begins at home.

Walter Ruehlig


Ruehlig is a former Antioch School Board Trustee

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