What actually denotes success, for a child? This can depend to a large extent on what their priorities and yours are. Achieving success can mean a number of things, but for most parents and children, the first priority is education. Doing the best you can in terms of education, passing exams and going on to develop that education. All of this is important in the early years, and allows a solid foundation for the future.
The importance of those early years is something that has been emphasized more and more in the recent past. Allowing your child to achieve their full potential now means more than just ensuring they go to school and do their homework. These are of course essentials, but it's what you do above and beyond that that will really make the difference.
If you think of your youngster's childhood and adolescence as a house, the early years are about foundation. Without that solid grounding, it will always be hard to build upon it. The stronger the foundation, the more solid the house can get, the more you can add to it. And when it comes to educational achievement, it's this simple. Giving your child the best schooling increases the chance of going to a better university.
Now, within this framework, it is not the case that a child who struggles early on will not get to a good college or get a good job. As has been confirmed by experts, kids who are "late bloomers" can go on to do very well. Early poor academic performance can mean that the child is more vocationally inclined. It could simply mean that they need to go at their own pace, and will do particularly well later on when they start to specialize.
Again, the key point is that assistance and focus early on will produce better results than not having those things. A child who has a few extra strings to their bow educationally has opportunities to add layers to their education.
Again using the metaphor of a house, the more work you put in to making it right, the more impressive it will end up being. At some point, it will take on its own character. Similarly, at some point your child will show that they are inclined towards science, languages or another field. Taking on a speciality too early can create a tunnel vision and give a less rounded education. Taking the right steps early on can ensure that you give your child the best start in life.
1. Build On The Skills Your Child Shows
Although early on a rounded education is the name of the game, there is no reason you cannot take advantage of a flair for one subject. If your kid shows an aptitude for maths right out of the gate, then do what you can to put the subject high on the agenda. Give them the chance to do maths in the home and in real life situations. As time goes on, potentially look into additional classes in more advanced math.
If your child shows an aptitude for languages, then it may help to expose them more to the language. For example, if they have shown skill in French, it is possible to stream French-language TV channels online. Letting your child hear the target language on a regular basis trains their ear to hear it better. This will in turn be beneficial for them in learning to speak the language.
As your child gets older and looks into further education, they will do a narrower range of subjects. It may be the case that they have a quite broad range of skills early on, and this should be encouraged. However, if they stand out as a linguist, a scientist, or a historian, it is worth giving that some extra attention.
2. Make A Move For The Best Education
In an ideal world, every child would have an equal opportunity at performing well in school and learning at the same pace as others. But the fact is that there are some schools which perform better than others. A child who is placed at a poorly performing school can end up struggling to deal with the gap when they go on to higher education. By no fault of their own nor yours, your child can be set up to fail.
It is worth taking a proactive attitude to this part of education, including moving home to be near the best schools if necessary. This might not be an unusual idea, but why limit yourself to staying in the USA? Expand on the point raised above and consider real-life experiences in other countries - if only for a year or two. Nothing bolsters being able to speak a language like visiting the country itself. If you want to live among English speakers, the UK is a good central base while still allowing quick and easy access to the continent. Real estate agents, like www.Bridgfords.co.uk/forsaleoffice/york/1829/, can advise you on how to manage such a move.
It is worth researching for yourself which schools will suit your own child. Some schools have a curriculum which is more specialized, which may suit them better. Some schools may be smaller and have fewer children per classroom, allowing more time to be focused on your child. A school with a better sports program may give your child the chance to shine on the playing field. That may not be academic in and of itself, but it will help with any issues of confidence.
3. Take Trips Out When You Can
The days when we all learned by sitting quietly and reading in every classroom are now long gone. Sometimes, to get a lot of very detailed information into the brain, it needs to be done. However, we are now living in an age where education takes on a form to suit the medium. We still need the books, of course, but education has also taken on a more practical slant.
Most of us, as kids, will have had field trips with the school in which we saw something of the subject we were learning. Perhaps they were geography trips that allowed us to see the characteristics of a lake or a forest. They may have been history trips that took us into the heart of a location where a significant event took place. What all of these trips had in common is the fact that they made the subject come alive.
Although the school will lay on many such trips, there is no reason at all that you cannot think of a few yourself. This of course depends on the subject. It is obviously going to be difficult to arrange a trip to a power plant without the school behind it. However, you can make trips out to farms, forests and historical locations to really reinforce what is learned in the classroom.
4. Re-Educate Yourself
In life, there are different stages where we have radically different attitudes to education. Our aptitude for different things also changes during these times. Someone who hated History at school can find themselves developing an interest in it as they get older. Watching documentaries and reading books about a subject can allow us to understand it more as adults.
Developing your own interests in subjects can be a way of connecting with your children and helping with their education. If they are struggling with some part of their homework, then by learning a bit yourself you can gain an understanding of their issue. Taking that understanding and adding your relationship of trust with your child, you can really help them.
It may also awaken your own academic side and lead you to seek out a qualification in a subject. This will be beneficial for your own goals and by working together with your kids you can benefit mutually. Sometimes hearing something from you will be easier to absorb than hearing it from a teacher. Learning in the home, where they are comfortable and feel safe, can really boost school performance.
In the end, there are few children who will not from time to time have doubts about their ability to learn successfully. And sometimes the simple fact is that during childhood and beyond, some subjects will stump us. Some of the world's most eminent scientists will struggle with writing understandably. A person who can speak four or five languages may have real problems with math.
However, making sure your child performs from an educational point of view isn't about being great at everything. What is important is that they show the ability to learn and progress. This is something you can help them hone, in the ways set out above and others. Always ensure that you boost their confidence. Congratulate them when they do will and commiserate when they don't. School is hard, but education is the most valuable gift we can give.