Back-to-school sales and falling leaves are a sure sign a new school year is upon us. National Education Association president Mary Hatwood Futrell was asked for ways parents and students alike can get the year off to a good start. Her tips: FOR PARENTS
*Go to school and meet the teacher(s). Keep in touch about your child's progress or lack of it.
*Talk with your child about the importance of education.
*Make sure your child has an undisturbed place to study.
*Turn off the television, take away the car keys or suspend telephone privileges until homework is done each evening.
*If your child says the teacher never assigns homework, check with the teacher. Most teachers assign some at least two or three days a week.
*Even if there is no homework, encourage your child to bring home books to read.
*Check your child's report card carefully. Don't just glance at it before signing. If your child isn't doing well in a particular area, talk with the child about it and then talk to the teacher about what can be done to improve performance.
*Make sure your child is going to school prepared to learn, not to play around. Children first must learn discipline at home.
*Teach your child to go over homework assigments and check for errors. Make sure assignments are done completely and accurately.
*For smaller children, practice the alphabet and numbers with them. Read stories to them and encourage them to read stories to you.
*Take your child to the zoo, museums, and on other trips. Many places that seem only to be fun can be a source of learning as well.
*Give your child support. Let them know it matters that they succeed. Some children don't feel the need to do well in school because they feel no one really cares whether they do well or not. FOR STUDENTS
*Accept more responsibility for your education. You must want to learn.
*Attend class every day, unless you are sick.
*Be on time.
*Be prepared. Come to class with paper, pen or pencil and your text. The book won't do you much good if it's sitting in your locker or at home.
*If you don't understand something, don't be afraid to ask the teacher for help or to go over material again.
*Worry about yourself and not the person who may be doing something disruptive nearby.
*Pay attention in class.
*Do your homework.
*Have a sense of pride and think well of yourself. You can be anything you want to be but you have to prepare yourself.