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Friday, February 06, 2015

Missing: Academic Support at Home

There's a difference between loving, caring family support and academic support.

Many families provide the love and nurture their children, but for a myriad of reasons they are unable to provide academic support.

Why does this happen? And, is it necessary for families to provide academic support?

I can think of many reasons why academic support at home does not exist including the following:
  • very busy families
  • families who are uncomfortable or not confident about academic matters
  • families who don't understand academic expectations 
  • students who have had enough academics by the time they reach home
  • students who are difficult to help for a large number of reasons
  • busy after-school schedules and attendance at enrichment events
  • family illness and extended family care issues
  • tired children
  • late pick-up
  • need for family time
  • the feeling that home is not the place for academics
  • language barriers
Yet,  it's often the case that children without at-home academic support don't advance in the same ways that their peers with that support advance.

What can we do for children without academic support?
  • provide that "at-home academic support" during school hours with skilled staff
  • coach and support families in ways that are helpful
  • provide at-home tools for learning 
  • craft assignments that are so enticing that a child is highly motivated to work on those efforts at home
  • provide home study that's independent and accessible
  • establish strong home-school relationships beginning at the start of the school year
  • have a point person at school that communicates with family members
  • provide after school programming, support, and connections for the child
  • establish wonderful summer camp and adventurous learning for vacations
Students without at-home academic support often have lots of love and life at home. They have families who want the best for them, but often they can't provide that academic support for a large number of reasons. 

I'm just starting to think about this topic more deeply after a thoughtful PLC meeting this morning. I'm open to your thoughts and ideas with regard to this topic. I look forward to the share.