MY CHILD'S ACADEMIC SUCCESS
Activities III -- Helping Your Child Succeed in School

Reading on the Go

For children ages 7 to 9

Show your child that reading has value in everyday life.

What You Need

  • Map of your areas
  • Bus, subway and/or train schedules for your area
What to Do
    Children need to learn that reading is not just something they do in school—it is important in all parts of their lives.
  • Help your child use a map to mark a route to a special place, such as his school, the football stadium, the mall or his grandmother's house. Help him to figure out the distance to the place.

  • Next, give him a bus, subway or train schedule and have him find departure and arrival times and the rates. Have him figure out how long the trip takes and how much it costs.

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My Time Line

For children ages 7 to 9

You can help your child use events in her own life to gain both a sense of time and to understand the order in which things happen.

What You Need

  • Shelf paper
  • Yardstick
  • Pencils, makers or crayons

What to Do

    Making and reading time lines helps children to learn about the flow of history and to develop an understanding of cause and effect.
  • Place a long piece of shelf paper on the floor. Have your child use a yardstick to draw a line that is three feet long.

  • Talk with your child about important dates in her life—the day she was born; her first day of kindergarten, of first grade; the day her best friend moved in next door; and so forth. Tell her to write the dates on the line. Invite her to add dates that are important for the whole family—the day her baby brother was born, the day her favorite aunt got married—and the dates of any important historical events.

  • Display the finished time line and ask your child to tell other family members and friends what it shows.

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Childlike drawing of a child with a crutch looking at his watch, waiting for a toaster to finish.

Time Flies

For children ages 9 to 11

"I don't have time to do that!" Sound familiar? Planning time is one of the most useful things that your child can learn. Knowing how long something will take can save time and prevent temper tantrums.

What You Need

  • Paper and pencil
  • Clock
  • Calendar

What to Do

    Being on time or not being on time affects other people. It is important for children to understand their responsibility for being on time—it's not just for grown-ups.
  • Together with your child, write down estimates of how long it takes each of you to do certain tasks (such as getting ready for school or work in the morning; ironing a blouse; making toast). Use a clock to time at least one of these tasks. Then take turns timing each other. (Be realistic—it's not a race.)

  • Talk with your child what part of a job can be done ahead of time, such as deciding at bedtime what to wear to school the next day.

  • Talk about at least two places that you and your child go where you must be on time. What do you do to make sure you are on time?

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Homework Made Easy

For children ages 9 to 11

A homework chart can show your child exactly what he needs to do and when he needs to do it.

What You Need

  • Poster board or large sheet of sturdy paper
  • Marker, pen or pencil
  • Clock

What to Do

  • Help your child to create a homework chart like the following out of a large piece of sturdy paper:

  • Subject Mon. Tues. Wed. Thurs. Fri.
    Language Arts     
    Social Science     
    Math     
    Science     

    Children need to know that their family members think homework is important. If they know their families care, children have a good reason to complete assignments and to turn them in on time.
  • Depending on how many subjects your child has, he may be able to put three or four weeks on each piece of paper.

  • Help him to attach a colored marker or pen to the chart so that it is always handy.

  • After school each day, have your child put a check mark in each box in which there is a homework assignment. Circle the check when you have seen that the homework is completed.

  • Tell your child to try to figure out how long it will take him to complete each homework assignment so that he will be able to schedule his time.

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Divide and Conquer

For children ages 9 to 11

Just about anything is easier to do if it's divided into smaller pieces. As your child's assignments get longer and more complicated, she needs to acquire more organizing and planning skills.

What You Need

  • Homework assignments
  • Chores
  • Paper
  • Pencil

What to Do

  • Have your child choose a big homework assignment to talk about, such as a geography project. Sit with her and help her to make a list of what she needs to complete the job. For example:

    Reference materials (books, maps)
    Ask: Can you complete the assignment by just using your textbook? If not, do you need to go to the library? If so, can you check out books or will you have to allow time to stay there and use reference books? Can you use computer Web sites? Do you have the addresses for approved sites? Does your teacher have them?

    Taking notes
    Do you have a notebook? Pencils?

    Finished project
    Can you do this assignment on a computer? Will you need to staple the pages together? Do you need a report folder or cover? Do you need to draw pictures or make charts? Can you use computer graphics?

  • Learning to see assignments or big jobs in small pieces can make them less overwhelming for a child.
  • Help your child to decide the order in which the parts of the job need to be done. Have her number them. To help her estimate how long each part of the assignment will take, tell her to work backward from the date the assignment is due. Have her figure out how much time she'll need to complete each part. Have her write down start and finish dates next to each part.

  • Have her put the assignment dates on a calendar or her homework chart.

  • Together, think about a household job, such as cleaning out a closet or mowing the yard. Help your child to divide it up into smaller parts.

  • Talk with your child about how you divide work at your job or at home.

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Help Wanted

For children ages 9 to 11

Older children are interested in life beyond school. You can help your child to have a realistic sense of that life and what he can do to prepare for it.

What You Need

  • Pencil and paper
  • Newspaper help-wanted ads

What to Do

    Jobs change dramatically over time and the job that your child is interested in now may not even exist in the future. Help him to understand that it is important to be well educated and open-minded so that he can be flexible.
  • Talk with your child about what he wants to be and do in the future. Ask, for example, "What job do you think you'd like to do when you get out of school? What kind of education or training do you think you'll need to get this job?"

  • Suggest that your child pick two adults he or she knows, such as neighbors or relatives, to talk with briefly about their jobs. Help him to think of at least three questions to ask. Have him write the questions, leaving space for the answers. Here are some sample questions:

    • What is your job?
    • How long have you had it?
    • Do you like it?
    • Did you need to go to college to get your job?
    • Did you have to have any special training?
    • What kind of classes do I need to take in high school for a job like yours?
  • After the interview, talk with your child about what he learned.

  • Next, show your child the newspaper help wanted ads. Have him find ads for three jobs that he might want to have in the future. Have him read aloud the requirements for a job and talk with him about the skills, education and training he would need to have to do the work.

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TV Time

For children ages 9 to 11

Watching television can be educational for your child or just something that she does to fill the time.

What You Need

  • TV set
  • World map
  • Reference books (or online Web news, biography and geography sites)

What to Do

    Good TV programs can spark children's curiosity and open up new worlds to them.
  • Place a world map next to the TV set. Arrange to watch TV news programs with your child.

  • After the program have your child use the map to find world news spots.

  • Have your child use reference books such encyclopedias or appropriate online Web sites to find out more information about a story, a country or a person in the news.

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Last Modified: 09/01/2003