Assume that helping your child with his homework improves his grades? Think again!

I just read a fascinating article in the New York Times about parental involvement. You might think it's a no-brainer that the more involved the parent, the better the kid's school performance. But that turns out to not always be the case:
My theory on this? If parents can be engaged and interested in their child's schooling AND not increase the stress load on their child, then their involvement may be beneficial.

The key is light, playful, and confident engagement, rather than making education feel intense, heavy and stressful for your child. Brain research tells us quite decisively that stress and learning don't mix, so the best way to help your children learn could be to simply have fun together at home acquiring new information and then analyzing and discussing it.

Instead of quizzing your kids on the state capitals, try being playfully curious about what they are learning and let them teach you. Be impressed with what they know. Get excited about it. Let them wow you.

You might be surprised at the critical thinking skills that can be acquired and nurtured around the dinner table during a passionate conversation about current events.  There are always links that can be made to the subjects kids study in school: science, sociology, etc.

In a nutshell, here's my advice to parents who want to support their children's education:  Let your children see you reading and researching ideas for fun. Wonder out loud about topics you don't understand. Google them together. Talk about what you find.

Our collective future society will not require a massive infusion of sheeple who can memorize facts and figures. We need problem-solvers with research and critical analysis skills, who can assess complex dynamics and come up with innovative solutions. Let's start fostering those brilliant minds tonight at dinner.
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