Creating Educational Excellence
Aristotle said, “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” More than one parent has struggled to get their child to under- stand the importance of school attendance. When they are young, it can be difficult to impart the significance of early education and the discipline derived from the daily schedule involved. Parents have more choices than ever when it comes to which school their child will attend, so it’s valuable to know your child’s learning style in order to choose the right environment.
Fortunately, parents don’t have to hire a professional to uncover the learning style of their child. Abundant resources exist at the touch of a mouse, including lengthy descriptions, videos, and short quizzes. Through this process you can find out if your child is a kinesthetic, auditory, or visual learner.
Many times a child’s frustration is not with the school itself, but the method of learning. If the school your child attends is unable to accommodate all methods of learning, do what you can to incorporate styles into after school play and even homework. The right school will in still a love of learning in your child, but your awareness and participation is equally, if not more, important.
TYPES OF LEARNING KINESTHETIC LEARNERS:
• Physical • Strong sense of balance
• Early crawler/walker • Sports/dance aptitude • Difficulty sitting still • Loves hands on activities
• Enjoys writing or drawing
• Drawn to sound • Musical aptitude • Strong verbal skills • Recognition of sounds
• Love of reading • Keen observer • Strong memory • Active imagination • Loves art and painting
Perhaps the focus on education in your family brings you to consider a private school alternative. Private
schools vary in size, structure, and functionality. Some are Protestant, some Catholic and among these the depth and level of religious and spiritual teaching varies. Other private schools include Montessori, language immersion, boarding, magnet, homeschool co-ops, university model, and online schools.
Montessori schools teach a method of learning that encourages creativity based on scientific studies around the idea that children learn best in an environment where their natural desire and ability to learn can flourish. There are over 8,000 Montessori schools in the nation, but not all are genuine. Know the difference and be prepared to research and ask questions.
Magnet schools focus on a particular skill like technology, science, or fine arts. Online school options grow every year and are available as self paced programs as well as those which offer virtue classrooms.
According to Capenet.org, “There are 34,576 private schools in the United States. Private schools account for 25 percent of the nation’s schools and enroll 10 percent of all PK-12 students. Most private school students attend religiously affiliated schools. Most private schools are small: 87 percent have fewer than 300 students.” Private schools spend more time participating in community service than their public school counterparts, and private school parents are more satisfied with their experience.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS CAN OFFER:
• Smaller classes • Individualized learning • Selective curriculum
• Specific values and culture
• Flexible scheduling • Academic enrichment • Safe environment
• Extracurricular activities
In determining which private school might be best for your children, consider the following questions: 1) What is your school’s education philosophy? 2) How is the curriculum chosen? 3) How have past graduates done in college and in life? 4) Where do you find teachers and what are their qualifications? 5) How are your test scores? 6) What type of student do you consider ideal? 7) Are scholarships or financial aid available? 8) Who is the oversight/board and how were they chosen? 8) What are the class sizes? These questions are just a start as you will craft others specific to you and your child’s concerns and educational goals.
Private schools as a whole score well in the tests given by The National Center for Education Statistics. According to the Council for American Private Education, “Students in private schools consistently score well above the national average. A significantly higher percentage of private school students score at or above the Basic, Proficient, and Advanced levels than public school students.”
While every parent wants their child to succeed in school, it can be dif- ficult to get a child to openly talk about their daily experience. Rather than ask your child how their day was, try these questions instead:
• What was your favorite/least favorite part of your day?
• What was different about today than yesterday?
• If you could choose only one teacher to teach all subjects, which one would it be and why?
• Can you tell me one thing that hap- pened today that made you smile?
• Did anything make you angry or sad? If so, what was it?
• Who are your favorite and least favor- ite classmates and why?
These questions can serve as conversation starters. Show interest without pressure. Be consistent. Let your child know how much you care about their everyday experiences. Turn off your phone immediately when your child comes home to give him or her your undivided attention. If no one is at home when your children arrive, leave notes or thoughtful snacks to let them know they are on your mind.
Get involved. Know the teacher and the staff.
Attend PTA meetings. Be familiar with oth- er parents and get their contact info.
Stay in touch with the teacher. Check in every few weeks.
Be available in the evenings to help
Seek tutoring help if needed.
Be positive about education.
Limit television, video games, and screen time. Incentivize reading.
Make weekly library visits. Participate in their programs & activities.
“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” Kofi Annan, Ghanaian diplomat, Secretary-General of the UN (1997- 2006), and co-recipient of the 2001 No-bel Peace Prize “There is gold and a multitude of rubies, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel” (Proverbs 20:15, NKJV).