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Feature Article


Fostering children's learning

Angie Nickell, former Graduate Assistant, Human Development and Family Studies, University of Missouri


When children experience a stressful transition, such as their parents' divorce, their schoolwork may be affected. Therefore, it is important for parents to closely monitor their child's school performance. In addition to monitoring how their child is doing in school, parents can also engage in behaviors at home that can keep their child on the right track.

What can I do at home to foster my child's learning?

  • Be involved in your child's school life. This means it is important to keep yourself informed of your child's homework, tests and behavior at school. Check to make sure your child understands his or her assignments and that he or she is completing all assigned work. Review completed tests and other assignments your child brings home. Also, establish and maintain a close working relationship with your child's teacher(s). Inform your child's teacher(s) that you are going through a divorce so you can work together to make sure the divorce does not interfere with your child's progress in school.

  • Try to establish a regular time for your child to do his or her homework each night. Children often benefit from the sense of stability and security that are associated with routines.

  • If your child spends time with your ex-spouse during the week, try to set up a system with your ex-spouse to manage your child's homework and other school-related activities. Share important information with your ex-spouse regarding your child's homework time and the child's progress and behavior in school. Keeping your ex-spouse informed will allow both of you to more successfully foster your child's learning.

  • Last, but certainly not least, be sure to work on strengthening your relationship with your child. Studies have shown that children who have a good relationship with at least one parent after a divorce have higher grades in school. Spend quality time with your child and let your child know how much you care about him or her.

What can I do if my child starts having problems in school?

  • Consider using a daily report card. Information such as whether or not your child turned in homework, what grade he or she received on the homework or test, and other information regarding the child's school performance or behavior can be included on the report card. Every day, your child's teacher(s) can fill out the report card to keep you informed of your child's performance. Be sure to go over problems on the report card with your child and identify incentives that your child can earn for doing well in certain areas. Daily report cards can help make clear to your child what is expected of him or her and can provide motivation for your child to do well in school.

  • Ask your child's teacher(s) to recommend a tutor for your child.


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Last Updated 05/23/2011