Help Your Child Learn And Finish Your ToDo List

By now you've heard we are a country in an educational crisis. One report in Time Magazine (April, 2006) says that one in four students will drop out before graduating high school. In Reader's Digest (September, 2006) it's reported that only one in three eighth grade students scored at grade level for math, reading and science. We need to get our act together. The calls have gone out for support to the parents and I'm sure they've heard them loud and clear. More parental involvement is a great way to help your child remain motivated and interested in school.

Most parents understand what they need to do. However, many parents can't seem to find the time to help. It's not because they are bad. But rather, they get called to help right at the moment of doing something else. (which, unfortunately never gets done). The parent gets stressed because they were in the middle of something and the child is upset because mom is upset.

And all the while, the clock keeps ticking. I have a few suggestions that will help you give the support to your child and still have time for your to-do list. The first thing is to have a set time for homework. This way you can plan accordingly. If homework starts after dinner, and the other parent is at home, someone can be in charge of the kids while the other can clean the kitchen. However, in the event you're home alone, here's what to do: Set a planned homework time.

Either before dinner or after. Homework needs to be done during this time. You can set your schedule and be available for help.

Without setting a planned time, you're asking to be interrupted while doing something else. With a plan, you know you will have time (in theory) later on. The second thing is to learn how to work with your kids. I'm a teacher and even I don't have the patience I need with my own boys. This normally leads to a prolonged study session and a lot of wasted time. Remember, depending on the ages of your children, their ability to grasp things varies.

It does no one any good to create tension when one of them doesn't understand something. It's up to you to handle it. Regardless of whether they hit your hot buttons or not, you must remain calm and patient. You'll finish earlier and save a lot of time.

Finally, you need to find resources that are 'parent friendly.' That is to say, they are instantly understandable and explainable to your child. Whatever the subject, the materials need to be simple and straightforward.

No wasted time, no frustration, no disappointment. By keeping these points in mind, you can move from quantity time to quality time with your kids and still have moments to spare for everything else.

Jim Sarris is a veteran teacher and author of two books on memorizing: Comic Mnemonics for Spanish Verbs and Memorizing Made Easy, a book/DVD that shows parents how to easily teach their children, regardless of age, valuable memory skills in as little as a week. For more information, visit and receive the first chapter free.

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