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A home atmosphere which says “learning is fun” translates into a positive school attitude. In fact, there are many advantages to your home that school cannot duplicate.  Here are some key tips:

1.  Show the Importance of Reading

Furnish plenty of learning materials, including books, magazines, and newspapers on a wide range of subjects and reading levels. Read, read, read with and to your child. Supplementary materials may include the basics such as clocks, measuring cups, magnifying glass, thermometer, radio, tape recorder, and so on, or more advanced materials such as reference books and laboratory equipment.

2. Foster a Desire to Learn

Plan library visits or trips to the zoo, museum, or part. Turn trips to the store, bank, doctor's office, post office, airport (or anywhere) into “educational excursions.” Indeed, researchers have found that children who were always “underfoot” and were “drug around” with parents (whether or not the trip matched the child's development or interest) had a real advantage. They learned real life skills early, such as writing and reading shopping lists or writing to grandparents while parents wrote bills. The early exposure gave the children a solid base in school.

3. Focus on Real-Life Learning

This can include learning to use a dictionary, phone book or cookbook ~ each with its own rewards, such as calling a friend or baking a tasty treat. Car trips provide a chance to read maps, and children can even help plan a vacation route or trip around town (or mark the tracks afterward). Card games teach many skills including rules, organization, number facts, and classification. Collections of objects can teach world knowledge as well as relationship.

4. Teach Thinking Skills

Too often, school curriculum focuses on memorization of facts to be repeated back as evidence that the student has “learned.” Many experts believe, however, it is more important to know how to use information (higher level processes) rather than simply remember it (lower mental processes). Even young children can be taught problem solving. Help them figure out what they need and how they can get it. Help older children to analyze and interpret information – what does this mean, what impact will it have, can we do anything else?

5. Keep a positive attitude

If parents show enthusiasm for the school experience, children are most likely to feel likewise. Moreover, children who feel good about themselves learn best. Children should experience some success every day. One of a parent's greatest gifts to a child is support and understanding for the important event of going to school. This also means that parents who disagree with educators should not involve the child in the dispute and influence a bad attitude. Rather, this should be taken up directly with the school.

In a recent case, I evaluated a teenager who was having trouble with school achievement. He turned out to be quite bright with adequate academic skills, but he was picking up subtle and not-so-subtle messages from a parent and grandparent that the teachers “do not know how to teach anymore.” With this kind of attitude, the boy saw no reason to put in much effort, as he was blaming the teachers for his own failure rather than his own lack of responsibility.


Love of Learning



The home is truly the place to set the stage for a child’s attitude toward self, learning, authority figures, and getting along with others. Some experts refer to the “curriculum of the home” as the most important variable in a child’s school success.