Category Archives for "Provide extra support"

Aug 18

3 Ways To Ensure Children Get The Education They Deserve

By Dr. Patricia Porter | Parent Power , Provide extra support , Work with the school

Is your child getting the best from school?

Is your child getting the best from school?

I am sure that you have heard the saying, ‘it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease’.   Well, in schools, it is the committed parent whose child gets the best education!

I know that it shouldn’t work that way – all children should get the education they need and deserve – but it does.  After 35 years in the classroom I have seen countless occasions where parental involvement made a difference to  children’s schooling.

But there are ways parents can do this effectively rather than turning the teacher off and making life difficult for a child.   Yes, unfortunately it does happen and I know that many parents shy away from getting involved with their child’s teacher because they fear their child will be stigmatized.

Here are three simple ways that you can – and must –  get involved with your child’s school to ensure that your child gets the best that the school can offer.

1.  Communicate

Too often children fall in the cracks between school and home.  Communication is the answer.  You need to know what your child is doing in school and the teacher needs to know what you are doing at home.  Report cards and parent-teacher conferences are not enough.  Find ways to communicate on a regular basis with your child’s teacher and expect him or her to do the same for you.

2. Consider

This is  harder to do but oh so important!   Kids learn in many different ways.  Teachers teach in a limited number of ways.  If the way your child is being taught does not match the way he or she learns best schoolwork will become a struggle.  Discover how your child learns  and how the teacher teaches so you can provide strategies that help your child adapt his learning.  ( My Good to Great Program helps you do this!)

3. Consult

Learn about the support systems that are available for parents.  Each school should have an organization dedicated to giving parents support.  Get involved and find out exactly how that group can support you and your child.  And, if you have concerns about how your child is being taught consult this organization to discover what you can do to change the situation.

These are the three C’s of working with a school so that your child s=gets the best the school can offer.



Aug 04

How to make learning fun – one easy step at a time.

By Dr. Patricia Porter | Develop learning skills , Learning how to learn , Parent Power , Provide extra support

When learning is fun!

When learning is fun!

Imagine  your child loving learning, happy to do homework, never again struggling in class!

You can make this happen.

The secret?  Understanding that children need to learn how to learn.  Children need a set of basic skills that they can use in any learning situation.  Without these skills your child will  never love learning, never be happy to do homework, and will struggle in class.

And the wonder is that it is so easy to help your child develop the skills he or she needs.

One way is to Share  (This is one of the 3S’s that lead to learning success)

When you want your child to do something never assume that he or she knows what to do and how to do it.  Her is a simple three step process that you can use everyday to help your child develop the skills that lead to learning.

‘I, We, You’

( suppose that you want your child to make his bed)

1.  ‘I”

You do the task while your child is watching – and you talk about what you are doing and why you are doing it.

2.  ‘We’

Now you do the task together with you helping your child do the task well.   You need to unmake the bed before you do this.

3. ‘You’

Now it is time for the child to do the task on his own – while you stand around and offer help ONLY WHEN ASKED!

If your child can do the task well you can now assume that he is ready to take the responsibility of getting the job done.  No more excuses.

And don’t forget to congratulate him on learning a new skill!



Jul 15

What a difference a day makes!

By Dr. Patricia Porter | Develop learning skills , Learning how to learn , Parent Power , Provide extra support , Work with the school


I can read now!

I can read now!

Do you remember this song….?

“What a difference a day makes
Twenty-four little hours
Brought the sun and the flowers
Where there used to be rain”

The song is about falling in love but 24 hours (or only a little longer) can  change rain into sunshine and flowers for children who are struggling to learn.

Jenny is a bright Grade 3 student but she was only reading at Grade 1 level.  She hated reading.  She did whatever she could to avoid it.

No child should hate reading – something had to be done.

An assessment of her learning  showed she was a visual learner who had been taught to read using phonics and was trying to  read by sounding out every word.    No wonder reading was difficult for her.

When she was introduced to a visual approach to learning to read – (looking at the words and the shapes they made) reading began to make sense.

Jenny soared.  In three weeks her reading level went from  Grade 1 to Grade 3!!

Ok – this didn’t happen in 24 hours – but increasing reading level by two whole grades in just three weeks, well, that is even more impressive than falling in love.

I can’t help you fall in love but I can help you make a difference in your child’s learning life.




Jun 25

3 Stress Free Ways to Stop the ‘Summer Slide’.

By Dr. Patricia Porter | Develop learning skills , Learning how to learn , Parent Power , Provide extra support


Avoid the summer slide!

School is out.  Summer is here.

Everyone want to have a good time and that does not include having to do schoolwork!

But all teachers know about the ‘summer slide’ – kids can lose up to three months of learning during the summer.

All because students ‘switch off’ from school type work.

Some students go to summer school. This can help keep them in a ‘thinking mode’.  But what about this kids who don’t go to summer school? What can parents do to help them avoid the summer slide?

I have read several articles that tell parents to buy workbooks and to set a work schedule for their child.  This seems like a lot of work and I doubt parents have the time or energy to follow through.

So here are three simple, practical, ways you can help you child avoid the summer slide and be ready for the new school year.

1.  Talk to your child.

Summer is the perfect time to help your child learn more about the world.  Talk about what is in the news,  what TV programs she likes, what activities he wants to do and why.

Use this time to really get to know more about your child and to help him or her get to know more about you.

2. Expand experiences

Can you take your child to your work for a day?   Can you help him or her get a part-time job?  Set up a schedule for household chores – after negotiating which your child will do and which you will do – and expect him or her to be responsible enough to do them.  Talk about your school life, what you enjoyed and what you didn’t.  Ask about your child’s school life, talk about feelings rather than results.

Summer is the perfect time to learn something new, and to keep the brain active.

3.  Schedule time to be together

Can you set up a family games night once a week?  How about a time to go for a walk or even a time to sit together and read?

Your child needs to know that you are there to support him when he needs help – making time to be together is one of the best ways to do this.



Jun 16

Essential summer planning

By Dr. Patricia Porter | Develop learning skills , Parent Power , Provide extra support , Work with the school


Happy kids

Happy kids

Summer is here – time to forget about school and have fun.  But before you do that I want you to spend five minutes reviewing the last school year.


Because only when you know what your child did last year can you plan for a summer of fun AND  learning.  And to achieve that you need to know what support your child needs.

Was your child’s report card all that you expected?  Take five minutes to review the year and to think of three things that you would like to see changed.

It could be something to do with homework – does it take too long or not long enough?  Is your child always rushing to meet a deadline?  Does your child do his or her best work?

It could be an issue with a particular subject – – does your child need catch-up? Or to be taught in a different way?

It could be something about your child’s school – what class will he or she be in next year?  What will be taught?  How can you give your child  ahead start on the year?

Try to pinpoint where things could be better, then schedule a call with me to discuss your concerns and get some answers.

Summer is a great time – but don’t waste it!


Apr 14

How do parents matter?

By Dr. Patricia Porter | Develop learning skills , Learning how to learn , Parent Power , Provide extra support

The Homework Hassle

The Homework Hassle

‘We have not really figured out how parents matter’, states Keith Robinson, co-author of ‘Broken Compass: Parental Involvement with child’s education’.

Well hello!  Perhaps the authors haven’t been reading my blog.

But maybe they can be forgiven because Robinson also states that ‘Just because you think you should be … supporting your child’s education  doesn’t mean that … your support… is effective’.

Surely we know that too?  Every parent who struggles to help kids with homework worries about how effective their help is.

Robinson states that what you believe is more important than what you do. Rather than helping with homework parents – you – have a bigger impact on your child’s success in school when you believe in your child’s long term potential.

Mmmmm … I sense a problem here.  Belief in your child’s potential is fine, but belief without action seems counterproductive.

Don’t get me wrong. I really believe that parents should be ‘stage-setting’ (Robinson’s definition of how parents can support their child’s education in an effective way).  In fact I call it ‘setting the scene’ for learning.

But there is something about the way the results are reported on that riles me.

Robinson seems to assume that parents are happy with how they are helping children learn.  My experience shows that parents are constantly looking for help and advice on finding the best ways to support their children’s school success.

You don’t need telling what doesn’t work, you need help discovering what does work for your child.

That’s why I started Leading to Learning.


Jan 13

Myths About Learning #1

By Dr. Patricia Porter | Develop learning skills , Learning how to learn , Parent Power , Provide extra support

Tick mark and Cross mark icons on a simple scales.

Your child is either bright, average, or not so bright –

and there is nothing that can be done about it!

Totally untrue!

It used to be thought that children were born with a certain level of intelligence and that level stayed the same for the rest of their lives.  Children were condemned even before they had started learning!

Remember the old IQ test?  I even worked in a school which catered for children with an IQ of between 60 and 80.  The kids were labeled as ‘slow learners’.

Nothing can have been further from the truth.  Yes, these kids had learning difficulties but once they had gotten the help they needed they overcame their difficulties and – guess what  –  their IQ jumped up!

IQ (the old measure of intelligence) is not fixed.  It can be changed.  It can be increased.  A child’s ability to learn can be improved.    I have seen it happen many, many times.

YOU can help your child become more intelligent, more able to learn, more ready to move into the future they dream of.

And, as my mother used to tell me -‘ It’s easy when you know how”


Jan 06

How my cat always wins- and your kid can too!

By Dr. Patricia Porter | Develop learning skills , Learning how to learn , Provide extra support


He just keeps on working at it!

He just keeps on working at it!

Today – much to my annoyance- my cat demonstrated how a specific learning skill leads to success!

I am talking about the skill of being persistent.

When I am working on the computer and my cat thinks it is time I paid him some attention first he sits on my feet, which is pretty awkward for me, then, when i don;t pay him any attention he starts to nip my ankles.  At this point I start shouting at him.

But he doesn’t give up.  He goes way for a moment then comes back and claws my chair.

By this time i know that it is going to be quicker and easier to give him the attention he wants.  His persistence has paid off.

I am not saying that you should teach your child how to be annoying – heaven forbid! – but I am saying that if you teach your child to be persistent, to try things in different ways, to never give up then he or she has a good chance of getting what they want, either better grades, solving a problem, winning a race.

Persistence – my cat knows all about it.


Oct 30

Do You Know What Your Child Is Learning? And Why You Should

By Dr. Patricia Porter | Develop learning skills , Learning how to learn , Parent Power , Provide extra support

angry mum

I can’t stress this enough.  YOU are your child’s most important teacher.  It is what YOU do with your child – at home – that accounts for up to 80% of your child’s success in school.

So what is your child really learning?  He or she is learning to be like you.  I know, it is a tremendous responsibility.

Remember the old saying ‘Do what I say not what I do!”  Well that is a parent’s attempt to stop a child from trying to be like them and getting them to try to be like the parents wants them to be.

It won’t work.

You are a role model for your child.  In fact you are your child’s most important role model – until your child becomes a teenager than all bets are off.

So, what is your child learning?

Oct 16

Help! My Child Hates His Teacher!

By Dr. Patricia Porter | Parent Power , Provide extra support , Work with the school

angry teacher

Every student has reservations about their teacher, especially as they move into  anew school year.  But if, after several weeks, your child still hates his new teacher you must do something to make the rest of the year work for you.

Try these ideas and let me know how things work out.

1.  Ask your child why he hates the teacher.

I know, you are probably not going to get a clear answer but try to get beyond the answer your child gives you to the real reason.  It will take some careful questioning but you need an answer before you can go to the next step.

2.  Talk to your child about how you can help make the problem go away.

There may be something really simple that you can do to turn things around.  You wont know unless you discover why your child is upset.

3.  Talk to the teacher

I know, this can be hard to do but I remember a mother telling me that her child was scared of me.  Seems that he was frightened of breaking one of my class rules. It took this mother a lot of courage to tell me this – she was visibly upset.  But, once I was over the shock,  the information really helped me work with her son in a different way.  If she hadn’t told me I would never have known.

There is more that you can do but these steps will set you in the right direction.    Just don’t do nothing – your child’s education is too important to waste a year.

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