A report by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) in 2011 stated that parents can create a home environment suitable for the learning of their children by, among other things:
- Setting aside a space for their child to do homework
- Providing plenty of reading material, and
- Helping their children organise their homework and study.
Studies confirmed that having a home environment that is stimulating and includes parents continually reinforcing the value of education play a keen role in both the intellectual and social development of children.
‘Home stimulation’ does not necessarily have to occur in the home but also includes children being taken to museums, libraries, galleries, talks and performances.
Similarly, ‘parents reinforcing the value of education’, does not necessarily mean parents explicitly doing this by talking . It can include parents discussing subject/course choices, option/elective choices, academic aspirations and future pathways when children leave school. This ‘style’ of parenting lets children know that parents support their progress and value learning.
In order to help your child, you don’t need to spend large amounts of time with them or have subject-specific knowledge. The 2011 OECD report indicates that improved learning outcomes by children result from parents and carers having a genuine interest in their learning. Talking with children about their learning or about books, films, issues on TV for example, lets children know you believe that their learning is important. You might talk about issues over the dinner table (research indicates that adolescent learners become increasing interested about issues of social justice during early adolescence) or about the strategies you use to learn something. Just showing an interest in the learning of your children helps greatly in supporting their interest and motivation. It also models to them that learning is a lifelong activity – it doesn’t just happen at school but continues into later life.
“The more families support their children’s learning and educational progress, the more their children tend to do well in school and continue their education”. (Henderson & Mapp, 2002, p.30).
Dr Thelma Perso
Director of Teaching and Learning