You are the best coach for your child.

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You are the best coach for your child!

If you have ever wondered whether pushing, cajoling, being the homework helper and generally being on the case is worth it then here at Fulcrum Learning we have some good news for you! Research shows that one of the greatest determining factors in helping kids reach their potential is parental involvement. A variety of reports from credible sources such as the BBC indicate that children who get good grades in school do so because of parents who give encouragement at home. When surveyed up to 90% of the children with high grades say they are encouraged to do well by their parents, on the other hand 40% of children who get lower grades report that they are not encouraged. Most people who do well academically can point to a parent who was highly supportive.

Developing coaching relationships with your children strengthens family life not just for now but for the future as your kids go on to have kids of their own. So, with Fulcrum Learning you will find all the tools that you need for the job right now. Realising that most parents are so busy rearing children that they have little time for in depth research we have created these short practical resources to help you to help your kids identify their strengths and work through their challenges.

In this article.

In this article you will discover:

How much you really know about your child’s learning.

What you need to do regularly with your child to be an effective coach.

The key questions that you need to ask the school.

How much do you really know about your child’s learning?

As a good coach to your son or daughter you need join your child on their journey: mapping out the territory with them; ensuring that the resources are in place for success; and stepping away over time so that the good learning habits they get can become independent habits for your child.

Most parents feel more and more out of touch from their child’s education the older their daughter or son becomes. By the time they are a teenager it can be really hard to know what is happening at school and what you can do about it. So, the best place to start is with an honest assessment of where you are right now.

Without talking with your child rate your ability to answer the following from 0 – no knowledge at all to 5 – fully informed.

You can assess your answers using the ‘What your answers tell you’ section at the back of this article. Read that section as soon as you have finished the questions and then carry on with the rest of the article.

1. How many subjects is your child studying at school?

2. Which of the subjects do they consistently get the best grades in?

3. What was the last book that your child read?

4. What techniques would help your child to learn ten facts for a science test?

5. What is the next topic that your child will study in Geography?

6. How much time are they expected to spend on homework each night?

7. What is the next examination or test that your child has upcoming?

8. What grade did they get in their last exam or test?

9. Can you explain how to create a mindmap?

10. Which of the subjects do they consistently get the poorest grades in?

What you need to do regularly with your child to be an effective coach.

Parents are often confronted by a crisis situation in education. Everything is ok until it isn’t. A daughter or son shares little or nothing about their learning. It’s their business, not yours, and what do you know anyway? You were in school when dinosaurs roamed the earth and a tweet was something restricted to the birds.

Of course, much has changed and many parents, perhaps a parent that you know intimately (like yourself for example!) may feel out of touch and ill-equipped, especially when your advice is only sought when your son or daughter is frustrated, tearful and/or frightened.

But, take heart! The principles for successful coaching in learning are quickly picked up and don’t all have to be tackled simultaneously. You can learn more about each of these features as they apply to the GCSE examinations in our ‘Be Brilliant at GCSEs: A Parent’s Guide’ which is available through the Fulcrum Learning: Courses, Resources and More page.

Have regular conversations with the school.

With younger children there is often the chance to talk with the teacher at the end of most school days but, as your son or daughter gets older the feedback becomes less frequent and more formal. As a great coach to your child you need to take control of that situation and ask for feedback from the school more often. Call up, send an email or make an appointment. The more that you know the more you will be able to help.

Make every plan a SMART one.

Specific; Measurable; Attainable; Realistic; and Timed. Talking with your child about how they are doing in school and having a ‘Could do better’ or ‘Must focus more in class’ conclusion doesn’t help you to help them effectively. Better to have one or two clear ideas that are SMART. Achieve one goal properly, rather than lots of vague hopes partially.

Have a learning conversation every day.

Never ask ‘How was school?’ Instead, ask ‘What was the best thing that you learned today?’ As a good coach you can link the answer with follow up questions like: ‘How did that link with something you learned earlier?’; ‘Why was that the best thing?’; ‘Amazing! I don’t know much about that. Can you explain it to me?’

The key questions that you need to ask the school.

  1. What is the target grade? This is the grade that the teacher believes your son or daughter to be capable of achieving with 100% application.
  2. What is the predicted grade? This is the grade that the teacher predicts on the basis of your daughter or son’s efforts and achievements so far.

If the predicted grade is the same as or better than the target grade you know that your child is on track. Automatically this subject takes on a reduced priority for attention. Your son or daughter has the aptitude and application required for success here.

If the predicted grade is less than the target grade you need to ask a third question and then act on the teacher’s reply.

  1. What can be done to move the predicted grade up to the same level as the target grade?

What your answers tell you.

This scale was deliberately set out to not have a mid-point so your answers will show to which side of the divide you currently fall. There could have been another ten or more questions but let’s leave it at ten. The most that you could have scored is 50, so working out the percentage is an easy matter of the total multiplied by 2.

Questions 1, 5, 6 and 7 were all related to your awareness of the structures and content of learning in your child’s school.

Questions 2, 8 and 10 were all related to your daughter or son’s learning progress and attainment.

Question 3 was about your awareness of the reading habits of your child. Literacy is an essential feature of success in education.

Questions 4 and 9 were about how much you can advise and support your child’s education at the moment.

The results can be scary but don’t worry. It is best to know what you don’t know than live in ignorance until a crisis happens. Now, go back to the rest of the article and follow the guidance to sort things out and be a great coach to your child.


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