The 5 Structures Every Family Needs for Success - Make The Grade
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Fostering family success is a complex, multi-layered and ongoing process, particularly with regard to children. You want to nurture academic and social aptitude to set them up for positive growth, healthy relationships and career advancement. There are many influential factors and the outward institutions we trust. Schools and civic establishments are the most obvious indicators of our commitment to our children. 

Researching and choosing the school systems, daycare centers, tutors and counselors you will rely on is a critical step to facilitating enduring success for your family. For good reason, we strive for the most highly-trained and qualified professionals to guide the intellectual and social development of our children.

Understanding our role in supporting the efforts of educators is crucial to inspiring confidence and motivation in children. The processes and approaches to development we maintain at home are an essential supplement to education. They create a holistically positive climate for our children. As COVID-19 changes our work and educational landscape, forcing workers into remote roles and moving education to virtual platforms, the effectiveness of these approaches in the home becomes increasingly impact.

It is comforting to know that you control the foundational elements for family success at home. Fortunately, they do not require academic prowess or advanced knowledge to be effective. These five structures serve as a guide for a focused effort that is rigid enough to provide direction and flexible enough to accommodate the particular nature of your family dynamic.

Physical Structure

The first structure to consider is the physical set-up of your home and which elements can be conducive to focus and productivity. Many office workers who have taken their duties home because of the pandemic quickly realized how difficult it is to separate the home life from the work-life.

The level of separation between work and home dictates the creation of an effective physical layout. Home offices are a way to create a physical barrier that clearly defines a room as a pure workspace.

Sometimes we do not have the luxury of allocating an entire room for the sole purpose of work. You need to take creative approaches. For instance, setting up space in a bedroom with a desk, lamp and stationery is a good way to create a clear space for work. Everything in the space should be explicitly used for productivity. 

Once space is defined and understood throughout the family as a place of solitary productivity, you can add elements that facilitate efficiency. The rooms should be well-lit and comfortable. Keep ambient noise that could serve as a distraction to a minimum. The workspace should be ample enough to accommodate all of the materials your child will be using when doing work. For instance, if a computer takes up so much space on a desk, it hampers your child’s ability to work if he or she has to use materials to write other than the desk.

Regardless of how you choose to set up your physical space, consistency is key. The physical workspace will create a mental association for your family members. It creates a distinction that this particular area is constructed for the sole purpose of accomplishing work.

Time Structure

Much like the physical structure, we rely on our school systems to manage the time structure for our children. Strictly scheduled classes and breaks outline most of their day and the majority of their academic efforts.

As learning transitions to a virtual environment, parents have to shoulder the burden in encouraging a disciplined adherence to routine. However, even as some children return to the normalcy of five days at academic institutions, there is still a place for a time structure at home.

There are two factors that should be the focus of managing a time structure — prioritization and consistency. As the physical structure, you need to devout blocks of time to academic work. This is a flexible consideration and you may need to make adjustments depending on the demands of your child’s schoolwork.

Discuss with your child the expectations and focus points so you can create a specific, manageable and effective schedule. For instance, after school, you can allot the hours of 5 P.M. – 6 P.M. for homework, break for dinner and then set aside 7 P.M. – 8 P.M. for reading or remedial activities. Using the time structure consistently will help define a commitment to accomplishing daily academic goals.

Academic Structure

While all of these structures operate cohesively in a framework devoted to family success, this structure is one of the more measurable and obvious elements pertaining to academic achievement. Homework and upcoming exams characterize the academic structure in school. When the structure is carried into the home, variations in teaching and lesson plans can make this situation more confusing for a family.

Parents need to understand instructional expectations to effectively use the time structure in concert with the academic structure. The academic structure outlines project deadlines and sets benchmarks for your child’s comprehension of what they are learning. Focus is put on what work needs to be prioritized and when it is due. The structure details which concepts need to be learned and mastered so that your child can progress to the next stage.

Accountability Structure

The accountability structure is one that occurs organically in the family and is a natural parental responsibility. Devoted parents embrace accountability as they seek to provide acceptable parameters for behavior and academic performance.

Methods of executing accountability and identifying areas that require it are fluid — they often evolve as children grow up. If you have multiple children, how you hold them accountable may be completely different from one child to the next. You need to maintain a delicate distance to ensure that they are performing to acceptable standards. But you also need to provide space to develop their character and personal ethic. Parents should be present to provide direction and focus. Yet also allow children to operate more independently as they progress through their teenage years.

Constant and consistent communication is a critical component in managing an effective accountability structure. Parents need to provide unambiguous expectations that are measurable, specific, time-sensitive and reasonable. For example, you may set up a schedule for checking in on your children to review their work every hour. Communicate that you trust their ability to meet expectations but it is also your role as a parent to verify. It is vital to understand your children’s strengths, limitations and goals to allow accountability that does not inhibit their confidence.

Support Structure

For children to realize academic success, they need to maintain a positive approach, something built on confidence and desire. It is easy for parents to operate casually from a distance when their children are naturally gifted and demonstrates proficiency. However, this situation is rarely the case for most students throughout their entire academic careers.

At some point, challenges will arise for your children. They will need support from their peers, teachers and parents to keep them grounded in their efforts. Without adequate support, children who struggle with comprehension can become unmotivated and develop anxiety and negative attitudes toward learning.

Separate from accountability, the support you give as a parent should be reactive to your children’s needs. If they have trouble understanding a concept, they will not necessarily give up if they have their parents’ support. You need to make sure that your children see you as a resource and a cohort in their academic success. Acting positively and confidently when your children feel challenged can help mitigate their unease and keep them motivated.

Being a Super Parent

As a “super-parent,” it’s imperative to be the source of knowledge to propel your children to academic excellence. Parents want to have all the answers and do everything they can to ensure their children blossom into successful adults. This goal can be a stressful endeavor since we all have certain deficiencies. You may stare blankly at the calculus homework they have trouble understanding. You may not have enough hours in the day to provide the special care that you feel your children deserve.

Caring parents will always have stresses and concerns regarding their children. However, your ability to handle every challenge your child faces does not define your capacity as parents. An understanding of your personal limitations and your child’s academic needs is necessary to positively affect their development. Knowing when to ask for help is one of the best indicators of your parenting quality.

Contact mAke the grAde

At mAke the grAde, we see parents as partners and treat students uniquely. Each with distinct goals and educational opportunities. Course structures are comprehensive and flexible to address the students’ individual needs and prepare them for the academic challenges. One-on-one tutoring, virtual learning, small group classes and communal resources are available to engage students and promote ongoing academic excellence. For more information on how you can enhance your child’s educational experience and learn more about the five structures every family need, contact mAke the grAde today.