Helping Out at School

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There's no question that school teachers have their hands full these days. Most classrooms have 30+ children, all demanding the attention of one teacher, and possibly one assistant. How does a teacher effectively educate children when there is teaching to be done, lesson plans to prepare, papers to grade, and repeating it all over again the next day? Schools have cut budgets time and time again, eliminating extra assistants, so how does a teacher do it? The answer is with parent volunteers.

Parents who wish to volunteer have been the saving grace for teachers, and make a big difference in the efficiency of the classroom. Assistance that is given to teachers - even simple things - is greatly appreciated. Even with a busy schedule, here are some ways parents can help make a positive impact in the school:

Class moms organize holiday parties, birthday celebrations, assist with arts, crafts and projects, organize fundraisers, accompany classes on field trips, deal with behavior issues and substitute in the classroom for short teacher breaks.

Children love to hear stories. Reading books, poems, or even showing a video can get the class ready for afternoon studies. Some moms have recorded themselves reading books at home. Read-aloud programs offer opportunities to increase fluency. Volunteer in the library, by helping children find books, check-out and return books and shelving.

Children learn best through hands-on experience. Parents who have experience in art, computers or science are perfect for center volunteers.

With the ride range of fluency levels in the classroom, individual attention to students who need aid in reading, math, or language can increase the academic performance of those on the lower end of the learning scale. After-school homework clubs have also been successful.

Teacher assistants, even if volunteering for an hour per month, can grade student papers, take students to the restroom, supervise on the playground, distribute snacks or take in lunch money.

Parents with a special area of expertise can speak to the class and share fun stories, experiences and occupational information.

Extra-curricular activities enhance learning experiences and fellowship outside of the classroom. Volunteers are needed in clubs, sports activities and booster clubs.

When parents are involved in the child's education, students receive higher test grades, may take more advanced courses, and are more likely to continue on to colleges or universities.


Teaching Kids to Help Around the House

Little cleaning lady

Teaching kids to help around the house is something that should begin from an early age. You should teach your child to clean up the toys when finished playing. This is a fundamental building block of individual and group responsibility.

A child should be given some basic chores as soon as they can handle them. Some common responsibilities could include putting clothes in the hamper, cleaning up toys or even making the bed. As long as your child does his or her best to do the job, right then you should give them some words of praise. Some children are naturally able to begin chores sooner than others, so try out some simple tasks and see how it goes. You will be able to tell rather quickly whether or not your child can handle the workload.

Anywhere from the age of 4-7 is usually a good time to begin chores. A chore list can be used to help guide the child in this endeavor. You can create one with a word processing document or simply draw one out. You may want to list the chore, and then leave a space for the child to mark off the task when it is finished. If possible, develop the chore list with your child and explain your expectations.

Young kids usually like to assist with the cleaning, so keep their desire going. Many children love to sweep, wipe and vacuum the floors. This is a great way to introduce your children to tasks that they will need to help with now and in the future. It is important to continue to praise the work that your child does. You may have to redo the work that your child did, especially at an early age, but keep your comments as positive as possible.

There are other things that kids can do to increase self-sufficiency. Find some easy things that need to be done around the house. If your child is very resistant to cleaning, try to make a game out of it. You may also want to find some of their favorite music and play it while you are all cleaning together. Children are more apt to assist you with a project when you are working with them.

You really need to figure out when your child is ready. You will be able to tell they are ready when they desire to work with you, and they are independent enough to do some easy jobs.

How Busy Moms Ace Homework and Other School Activities

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Today, most moms are busy regardless of whether they are stay-at-home mothers or work outside the home. But, moms still want to be of assistance to their children in all aspects of their lives. Consider some tips for parents that can simplify some daily activities.

Homework Time

Busy parents can still assist kids with homework. It's wise to set a specific time for homework so kids won't be working on math assignments until midnight. For kids who are having trouble with a subject, parents can take them on a trip to the library for helpful supplemental materials. In addition, it's effective for parents to reward kids who put forth their best efforts on challenging and easy assignments alike.

Encouraging Extracurricular Activities

There are a lot of reasons for moms to encourage their children to choose an extracurricular activity. For one, an activity can help a kid to make more friends. For instance, a child with an interest in acting or set decoration can help with the school play. The child will have the opportunity to meet other kids with a shared interest in theater. Sometimes a kid knows exactly what he or she wants to do and other times a kid needs a little nudge...

A mom who wants to encourage a kid to try an extracurricular activity can share her positive experiences. For example, she may have run for class president in the seventh grade. She could describe the fun of making campaign posters and the excitement of the political debates with other students. A first-hand story from mom can go a long way to encouraging a kid to try an activity.

Helping with a Class Project

One way that a mom can be helpful to a kid who has a class project is to brainstorm ideas. For instance, if a daughter in the sixth grade is trying to figure out what to do for her history class project, parents can throw out some suggestions. This may prompt her to build on one of the suggestions or come up with a fresh idea.

Another way parents can assist a kid with a class project is to take them shopping for materials. Of course, it's best to establish a budget beforehand! Parents can answer kids' questions on what types of materials to buy as well as the quantities. Shopping together makes it a fun, shared experience.