Not surprisingly, budget cuts put tremendous pressure on you to search for ways to improve your child's education.
Over the past nine years, 41 states have cut their education budgets. They’ve slashed teaching positions, increased class sizes, and delayed buying new books and materials.
In the past year, education funding dropped $3 billion dollars. When you factor in the end of federal stimulus money, that number doubles to $6 billion.
It used to be that students who did extra work in school were “bookworms” and “eggheads.”
These days, state budget cuts demand that all students take extra measures.
This leaves you looking for ways to improve your child's education because you can’t rely on a system that is stretched thin and by some accounts broken.
Although politicians talk about the need to improve your child's education with educational spending, when times get tough and revenue shrinks, schools are among the first places to see the cuts.
The result is that the system is underfunded and struggling to meet basic educational needs. And if it can’t meet basic needs, how can it meet your child's advanced needs for a good education and solid college prep?
Getting an above average education has always been the student’s responsibility – just ask those bookworms – but perhaps never more so than now.
The good news is that with a little extra time and effort every day, you can help to improve your child's education.
Try these five tips to help you improve your child's education and get ahead.
Improve your child's education by helping them to choose their classes wisely.
According to the American School Counselors Association, the average guidance counselor sees nearly twice the recommended number of students.
That can mean not getting the sort of attention you need when it comes to picking classes. If you’re planning on attending college, you know you need advanced placement classes, but which ones?
Determine your AP classes by figuring out your likely college major and selecting classes to support it, such as advanced high-school mathematics for engineering students or AP Biology for medical students.
Examine your college and career goals, then pick classes to meet them.
Improve your child's education by helping them to manage their time wisely.
Take advantage of downtime by meeting specific goals. Hours can literally be lost online, and at the end you have nothing to show for it.
If you think you’re wasting time, then you probably are. Add extra study time to your homework schedule to make sure you get more done.
You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with just an extra hour a day working on your own.
Improve your child's education by helping them to work from a reading list.
Your teachers will assign you books to read and many will be literary classics, but that doesn’t mean they will accomplish everything you need them to.
Take advantage of that extra hour a day, as well as long school breaks, to read additional books from a college prep reading list. Focus on books that build your vocabulary and encourage critical thinking.
Improve your child's education by encouraging them to keep a journal.
A journal improves your written communication skills. Don’t write in text speak or other shorthand, and don’t turn it into a list of your day’s activities.
Rather, include your thoughts, feelings and observations on what you’ve done. You don’t need to update it daily, but once or twice a week should do – or when you have something you absolutely have to capture in writing.
Skip tweeting it to your friends right away; explore it in your journal with greater depth.
Improve your child's education by helping them develop research skills.
Research skills aren’t limited to term papers, and they don’t just involve skimming Wikipedia or the first page of Google results.
Develop in-depth research skills using academic websites, text books, and personal interviews. This will help you in school, in college, on the job, and wherever you need accurate information.
About the Author
John Briggs is the Community Manager for RSC: Your College Prep Expert, developing relations with students and their families through social media, website content, video tutorials and educational materials, including college prep handbooks and worksheets.
He graduated from Philadelphia’s Temple University before taking additional classes at New York University. John has written about educational subjects for more than a decade, with his work appearing in the San Francisco Chronicle, AOL, eHow and many other major newspapers and websites.
Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.