7 Signs Your Family Values Education
One of the most important aspects of helping your child reach their academic potential is making education part of your fundamental family values.
In this post, I'm going to share 7 signs that your family values education. If you're not doing any of these, don't worry, you can start doing them as soon as you possibly can.
7 signs your family values education
1. You attend parents' evenings
A sure sign that your family values education is that you go to parents' evenings, and make use of any other opportunity given by the school to talk to your child's teachers and take part in school life.
When you go into the school building (or go to an online parents' evening), you're demonstrating two important things to your children:
- You care about their academic progress
- You have a relationship with their teachers so that when something goes wrong, you can get in touch.
If you're ever unable to attend a parents' evening, do get in touch with the school to see if there are alternative ways to get feedback from your child's school about how they're doing.
And, if you're going to a parents' evening, make sure you check out my resources about how to get the most out of parents' evenings.
2. You model reading to your children
Reading is the skill that forms the foundation to all academic success. If you can't read fluently, you can't access the curriculum, even in maths.
If you are expecting your children to read, you should be seen by them to be reading as well. Not just your phone, but quality newspapers and periodicals and fact or fiction books.
Books should also be part of your family home.
If you're struggling to get your teens reading check out this interview I did with school librarian, Barbara Band, about how to entice teenagers into a love of books.
Another strategy families I've worked with use is having family reading time at the weekend where the whole family sits together for an hour reading to themselves.
3. You talk about what your children are learning
The family dinner table is the ideal place to have conversations about what your children have been learning. By showing an interest, you can model to them what it means to take an interest. Ask them questions, share you knowledge and experience of what they're learning and suggest books, articles, podcasts, movies or documentaries they could check out to deepen what they're learning about.
4. Visit places of interest
An extension of point 3 is to go on family visits to places of interest. These could include museums or galleries, places where things have happened or things that people have built or made. Some of my favourite trips in the last few years have included:
- Bletchley Park (second world war history and history of computing)
- Shakespeare's Stratford (check out that video for what I learned that day)
- The Mad Museum in Stratford on Avon – mechanics
- Great Orme Bronze Age Copper Mines (ancient history, archaeology and chemistry)
- The Jorvik Viking Centre in York
Some of these were directly connected with what my children were learning about at school, others were just general interest. All of them added to my understanding, and my children's understanding, of the world and bring depth to our knowledge.
5. You look things up
When I was growing up, hardly a meal would go by without looking several things up in the dictionary. The dictionary lived on the dresser behind the kitchen table and it was almost part of the family.
These days, with my own children, we tend to look things up on the internet. A recent example was wanting to know the meaning of the prefix ‘epi' because we were thinking about the words epidemic, episode, epidermis etc.
This models curiosity and how to find the answers to your questions – both vital academic skills.
6. You talk about your own education and career path
Young people need to know what's possible, and if they can understand how your own education unfolded, including the barriers and obstacles and how your education has helped you, they will be more able to visualise their own path through education and how it will lead on to their working life.
It's also important to show that you're open-minded about other options that might suit your child such as apprenticeships or less academic lines of work. Help them to explore everything available and to understand the pros and cons of all the options so that they can make informed choices about their future.
7. You invest in education
This doesn't necessarily mean that you spend money on it, but it does mean that you spend either money, time or both on your children's education. However, I think the most valuable thing to spend on education is time as our children need to know that you're there, by their side, taking an interest and supporting them.
If you do have the budget to invest money in your child's education the best thing you can do is make sure they're properly resourced with the textbooks, stationery and quiet, comfortable study area that they need to achieve academic success. You may decide to go further and have a tutor, an academic coach or join The Extraordinaries Club.
Do you need help with any of this?
If you're not doing any or all of the the things I've written about here today, don't worry, you can start putting them in place gradually. And, if you'd like even more help with this, the Love Your Learning module inside The Extraordinaries Club guides both you and your child through making these super curricular activities part of normal life. This isn't just helpful with getting the grades at GCSE and A-Level but essential for applying to university when you write your personal statement.