By LENNOX FARRELL
As parents, many times we feel unable to assist our children despite our best intentions and efforts. That is because we also feel that we are alone when we really are not.
As our children head back to school there are several things we can do to assist in making them the students we, and they, want. Among these are some excellent, educational activities which are available on the Internet, and at no cost.
Of course, you will need to take some time with them. This will be well worth it. Seeing a child beginning to actually love school and feel more confident in the subjects he and/or she is taking is more than worth the time and effort. If they are failing in school, not only will their grades be low, but so too will be their self-confidence, and this can and will cause other problems, immense problems, many of which will demand more time from you in visiting the school to see principals, teachers, and even worse.
When a student begins to succeed and feel more confident even in one subject area, many and possibly all the other subjects will also begin to show improvement in areas once thought difficult and even impossible to succeed.
As a former teacher, I can testify about the significance of a student succeeding in one subject area and how this can transform the student into one better behaved, more confident, and more eager to attend school and classes.
There is no greater gift one human can give to another human than assisting them to learn to love learning.
Among the first of the three things one can do for students from grades 1 right through to grade 12 is to visit the following sites. All the subjects are free. Each has a tutor who will provide the instructions that you can download. In fact, you might find them so interesting that you, too, will either learn more in math, biology, or other areas where you have either forgotten or where you had not had time to learn. The first website Khan Academy for these grades is: http://www.khanacademy.org/
This site was created by Salman Khan, a scholar with an interest in bringing learning to as many people as possible. He is supported by the Gates foundation, and his 2,400 videos are among the most viewed of all by students, parents and teachers. Take a look. You will be astounded at the range of subjects and so, too, will your student/child.
Not to be left out, is material for students at college and university levels. These, the second thing you can do for them and which they can do for themselves is to be found at Academic Earth or at http://www.academicearth.org
These are lectures from professors and teachers at the most prestigious universities in North America and elsewhere. They can also be used, freely, from undergraduate to post-doctoral levels in every subject area conceivable.
These two websites can make the difference between failure and success and make for you a student who is happy to go to school. There is no incentive as potent as success.
Send these sites to others and assist them too to have their children do well and better. You can save a life and make others happier as parents, and more confident as students.
Finally, are there not books we read but which our children might not read? Oliver Twist, Ivanhoe, Alice in Wonderland, A House For Mr. Biswas. How to get our students interested in some of these? Here, from personal experience with our own children, is a successful option. When driving with children, even on short trips, but especially on long ones, instead of putting on music DVDs, why not play DVDs of these books borrowed from the library, or purchased from our bookstores?
Each of us has the same amount of hours in each day and in each life. Yet some of us fail and some of us succeed. What is the difference? One is that success takes less time to achieve than does failure. The difference between these two is that failure is acquired in allowing time to decide how it will use you, while success is achieved when you ensure that it is you who controls your time and its use. And with such vastly different results.
Lennox Farrell taught high school for three decades in Toronto and in 1993 was honoured as Teacher of the year in Ontario.