Are We Really Supporting Their Learning At Home?



“Knowledge will bring you the opportunity to make a difference.”

~Claire Fagin


I thought I was doing it all “right”. I made sure my children had plenty of books to read at home, reviewed their homework at the end of each night and made sure they understood everything (because too often I found they didn’t feel comfortable, or think to ask the teacher to explain something in more detail), maintained regular contact with their teachers, and took them to museums and such to build on the topics they were learning in school.

It was my answer to the following question that led me to doubt my support: Were my children prepared to compete with their peers for the same spot in a school or job down the road?  When I answered that with a “no,” I realized I didn’t know (nor did I ever think to ask) for a few basic pieces of information.

  • What are the long term goals beyond the chapter or topic they are currently studying? What is it that is expected of them the following year, or even a few years down the road? Without this information, my children are simply setting short term goals to get through an upcoming test or chapter, and not preparing for what’s to come.
  • What is in the curriculum? For example, my kids come home and share what book they read in school. They have no idea what the teacher is trying to teach them through that story; be it a genre, grammar, or an underlining message. If I know what the curriculum is, I can work on the same thing at home using a different story or in a different context, and ask more thought provoking questions about the book; reinforcing everything taught in school.


Do I think I wasted my time over the years or not add to their learning experience? No. But with these few things I can begin to be a real partner, more effectively supporting learning at home. If parents and teachers are going to work together as a team to educate our children – parents need to be provided with the information, tools and resources to do so.

 (A note: this is one of my “live and learns” with my oldest, who is getting ready to transition from elementary to middle school.)



About Gwen Pescatore

Mom of 3 ~ #PTchat co-moderator ~ @Edutopia community facilitator ~ @MomCorps Marketing Mgr ~ #ParentCamp ~ Co-host of ParentED at View all posts by Gwen Pescatore

4 responses to “Are We Really Supporting Their Learning At Home?

  • Gwen Pescatore

    Thanks for reading…it is how we play an active role. I commented in detail to Lisa about the same thing (above).

    Communication skills are vital to all and should be incorporated into all classes. Knowledge doesn’t go very far if you don’t know how to share it with others.

  • lisajdavis

    I think the rules have changed. We were once told to let kids do their work, and just be there to support with questions. I know that with common core standards in place for my 6th grader, I need to be much more involved than ever. We are doing 6th grade math together. It’s definitely a game changer.

    • Gwen Pescatore

      I think we just need to change the way we support our kids. I still push for mine to do their homework on their own and then I review and help when they’re done. They need to learn how to figure out how to work through and attempt to solve problems on their own if they can and we step in to explain what they don’t understand.

      But for me it’s beyond just working on the homework; it’s taking what they are teaching at school and finding other ways I can help them learn it from a different perspective at home…be it in visiting an exhibit, watching a show or movie, reading a book of the same genre, or using a website. If they don’t have the time to learn at a deeper level at school – I want to create that experience at home. For them to really benefit from their studies – I think they need to learn and not just memorize.

  • A Smit

    Many more parents I encounter realise that the parents need to be pro-active in their children’s education. It is not just about getting them to school on time and reading reports at the end of term.
    On our site we share the same message, though we focus on communication skills particularly public speaking, which is not taught in school at all.

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A space for thinking, reflecting and sharing about education -- and the odd other thing...

Ingvi Hrannar

Icelandic educator, iPad 1:1 classroom, speaker & entrepreneur.

Penn-Finn Learnings 2013

Sharing our inquiries - March 23-30

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