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Family Forum - Student Success: The Role of Parents?

Our local Parents Council and Patch readers weigh in on ways to get kids to care about school.

Great parenting is just as vital to a student's performance in school as the quality of the teachers in the classrooms.

In today's Family Forum, we're talking about ways parents can motivate their children to excel in school.

Tell us: How do you ensure your child completes his or her homework? Where do you draw the line at helping them and doing their work for them? And when you do take a trip up to the school, what services, improvements and other things do you advocate for on their behalf?

You'll see members of our Parents Council (formally known as the Moms Council), an advisory group comprised of smart and engaged moms from the neighborhood, responding to these questions below in the comments section and we invite you and your circle of friends to join in the discussion.

Family Forum is a feature on Patch that invites local parents to discuss issues that matter to them.

Wondering who are these local parents we tapped for our Council? Meet the members:

  • Janet Grech - A Malverne mom with children enrolled at Our Lady of Lourdes School.
  • Laura Murray- A Lynbrook mom who grew up in Malverne and is the current president of the Mothers of Malverne. She has two young children not in school yet.
  • Gina Genti - A Malverne mom with two boys in elementary school.
  • Andrea Shinsato- A West Hempstead mom with a 2-year-old and one child enrolled in Chestnut Street School.
  • Theresa Walz- A West Hempstead mom whose children attend Cornwell Avenue School and West Hempstead Middle School.
  • Loraine Magaraci- A West Hempstead mom with kids enrolled in West Hempstead Middle School and High School.
  • Audrey Diaz Robles- A new mom to a 6-month-old baby.
  • Dawn Wladyka- A Malverne mom with two students attending Our Lady of Lourdes School and one enrolled in Grace Lutheran PreSchool.
  • Eileen Lynch O'Hara - A Malverne mother with three children enrolled at Saint Anne's School in Garden City and one child at the Brother Fox Latin School at Kellenberg Memorial High School.
  • Maria Salcedo-Hafker - A Malverne mom who sends her children to Maurice W. Downing School and Davison Avenue School.
  • Lori Lang- A Malverne native and mother of four whose children attend St. Thomas the Apostle School in West Hempstead.
  • Jennifer Johnson- A West Hempstead mom with one child attending Cornwell Avenue School and another in day care.

Interested in joining? Send an e-mail to Tara.Conry@Patch.com.

Family Forum will also be the place for you to pose your questions about parenting topics and local issues that affect families. Where can we get information on local flu shot clinics for children? How do we talk to our children about peer pressure, bullying and protecting themselves online? How can we help our children's schools weather their budget cutbacks?

Voice your opinions about this week's topic in the comment section below.

Lori Hunt-Lang April 13, 2011 at 05:17 PM
Following my mom's footsteps, my kids have to do their homework as soon as they get home off the bus. I am rather strict on that one. The motivation for going outside, watching tv or using the computer works wonders! I set them up with a snack and a drink and they tend to breeze right through it since they want to go out or have down time. With a husband that works nights, I find I can't wait until after dinner and do bedtime and all the rest by myself - especially when we are all tired as well. My kids seem to be the most ready to do it as soon as they get home and then we have the rest of the afternoon free for family time. I have never had to do their homework for them and do not think I ever would. Where is the learning in that? Even for projects and reports, the teacher can tell when a 2nd grader or Kindergartener actually does the work. I help them do the research, but make them "find" the answers themselves and do all the artwork themselves. Not being too artistic myself, they tend to do better than I would anyway! Right now, I would love more afterschool activities that focus on health, nutrition and exercise...maybe a fit club or a cooking club. I realize after-school activities cost money and need staff, but maybe charge $10-$20 a student and this could help offset the extra cost for the teachers who monitor the program.
Gina Genti April 13, 2011 at 09:01 PM
A couple of years ago I picked up a great tip from the woman that co-authored the Character Ed. program in Malverne schools. Whenever one of my kids comes to me frustrated with an assignment or project I say "You can do it and I can help". They are responsible for the work but understand that if they need help we will be there to provide the support and encouragement they need. In our house homework is done immediately after school when they are still somewhat focused. Experience at home has proven that waiting until after dinner increases time spent by 3 generally. As far as services and programs I value for my family we try and convince them to participate at some level in everything available or needed. There are before and after school clubs that we try to utilize encompassing everything from fitness to music to science. There is no great emphasis on any one area of academics or extra curricular although much time is spent promoting team sports. We want them to try everything so that they can naturally gravitate towards what excites or fulfills them. In the buildings I ask that my children be challenged academically and have the ability to learn in a stimulating environment that fosters respect and compassion. I believe a school is only as good as the families in it and a partnership is the best way to insure success.
janet grech April 13, 2011 at 11:49 PM
I really don't have to worry too much about homework being completed. As soon as my daughter gets home from school, she gets to it (okay, sometimes it's right after a snack, a chat and 5 minutes of fooling around with her brother). For the most part, it's done right after school. There are some days that she rushes through it to get to an activity, such as Irish Step or Brownies. It is usually done correctly, although it's not always as neat as it could be. Waiting until dinnertime to get homework done usually is a recipe for disaster. When she gets stuck on something, she will ask me for help. I usually repeat the question she is stuck on back to her and I can usually see the light bulb go on over her head as I am repeating it to her. I think I spend more time helping with projects than with homework. Lately, I have been checking the homework and helping her study for tests. Ashley recently completed the Chess Club and is looking forward to doing a new Zumba Class that is currently being formed. I find that we are most busy with extracurricular activities in the Spring through the end of school, with both kids playing softball/teeball, there is rarely an evening we don't have either a game or a practice. Just writing about it is making the summer look better and better!!
christie gallego April 14, 2011 at 11:39 PM
Having two athletically active boys in SSMS, the deal is : they must maintain their grades in order to continue sports and leisure time activities (Including the Fri night in"town"/ rec center) . Thanks to "power school" I do check in with what's happening but fortunately, they do their hw independently- I sometimes study Spanish w/them and occasionally checking Algebra,but thanks to the excellent teachers in SSMS and the before school "extra help", they are doing well !


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