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Fathers can impact their children’s school successes

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Dear teacher,

So much of the oversight in the home of child’s educational progress is often by the mother. Fathers, too, should be involved with their children’s learning. The extent and form of participation is very important. It is sitting with the children gently, with much patience and consistency, and helping the child progress. Standing back and using threatening words and actions are counterproductive.

Many fathers will go to the parent-teacher conferences, but the real involvement begins when the father begins to work consistently with the children — one-on-one. The idea that “mothers always have lots of time, and fathers are always too busy to be involved in their children’s schooling” is a big joke!

Dear parent,

You are correct that fathers should be involved in their children’s education. According to the Parent-Teacher Association, studies show students perform better when mothers and fathers are both involved in the education of their children. Men and women think differently, and bring different perspectives and skills to school and PTA activities. School communities and PTAs thrive when both men and women participate. Yet, men remain a largely untapped resource.

Taking younger children to visit colleges

Dear teacher,

My wife and I are both college graduates, and we definitely want our three children — ages 6, 8, and 15 — to go to college. We talk to them often about how much we enjoyed college. When is the best time to take them on college visits?

Dear parent,

Your 15-year-old should be visiting colleges now. And it is not too early for the other two children to get an idea of what college is like. College visits usually should begin at schools close to your home. Your first visits should include fun activities, from college sporting events to special campus events to hiking or camping in the area. Younger children just need to get the flavor of what college campuses are like.

Your older child needs to have a checklist of things to see at each school, including taking a campus tour, visiting a class, checking out eating and dorm facilities, talking to students, and learning about the courses offered. After each visit, he should write down which aspects of a school appealed to him and which ones didn’t. It will make it far easier later on to make a decision about where to apply. Incidentally, visits for older children need not be limited to schools they might want to attend, as each visit will help them formulate what they really want in a college.

The ideal time for college visits for high-schoolers is when school is in session — simply because it gives the best picture of college life. Nevertheless, summer vacation visits can be very helpful, as it gives children of all ages an idea of what other things in the area around a college might make a particular school appealing, from mountains to the seashore to big-city or rural life. So when families are on vacation this summer, they should make an effort to at least drive through a few college campuses near their vacation spots.

What to consider before postponing kindergarten

Dear teacher,

My 4-year-old son is currently in preschool. He’ll be 5 in early fall, just making the cut-off for kindergarten. My concern is for next year. I do not believe that he will be ready to handle our district’s full-day kindergarten. He is exhausted and cranky now after two-and-a-half hours of school. Plus, he still has a tough time adjusting to my leaving him at preschool.

Am I allowed to delay his entrance into kindergarten for a year? Would I then send him to kindergarten or first grade? I know there’s a lot of research that supports holding children with late birthdays back from starting kindergarten until they are older. My son will be ready academically, but I’m not sure that is enough.

Dear parent,

Holding a young child back for a year before enrolling him in kindergarten is not possible in all school districts. In some, age-ready children who wait a year to start kindergarten may be required by the district to enter first grade if the state does not mandate attendance in kindergarten. Before making any decision, you must clarify with your school district that your son can wait a year and then enroll in kindergarten. You definitely do not want him to have to start school in first grade, since kindergarten often presents material that children need to know to handle first grade.

You know the level your child is on right now. What you don’t know is how much he will have matured before kindergarten starts. By then, he could be ready. One opinion on your son’s readiness that could be helpful is that of his preschool teacher. If you do not enroll him in kindergarten, enrolling him in a pre-K program could be a good solution to getting him ready for kindergarten.

Parents should send questions and comments to dearteacher@dearteacher.com or ask them on the columnists’ website at www.dearteacher.com.

© Compass Syndicate Corporation, 2013.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate.

Updated 11:55 am, December 12, 2016
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