Above & Beyond: How To Help Your Child Get Good Grades In School, and Position Them For Success in College, Career And Life
Written by Dr. Nicoline Ambe
Quite a mouthful for a title! Most any parent would say they want all these things for a child, yet delivering them is by no means an easy task. The author of this book is not revealing new information, but organizing and structuring it in an easy to read, practical guide.
The book is divided into fourteen chapters starting with the big picture and working toward specific steps for implementation. At the outset parents must believe in their children, ensuring that they don’t feel inadequate, celebrating their successes and avoiding nagging. Parents need to understand why school is important by building up a child’s dreams, discussing the future and helping them to discover their own passions and talents. Then parents can follow through by setting realistic but high expectations and helping children move toward them.
In the later sections of the book, the author explains the importance for the child to listen to the teacher and how parents can encourage that. Ambe insists that achievement is tied to a love of reading, which spills over into all subjects of the curriculum. She explains the importance of completing homework, maintaining a good structure at home by establishing routines, doing extra credit work and practicing for tests. I found the section on math interesting. Ambe stresses the importance of mastering math skills in the early elementary grades and urges parents to visit the school to ensure those supports are in place. Other important areas for parents are teaching character and integrity through personal example, demanding accountability, and communicating empathy. Parents will help a child find balance and provide discipline by seeking the right extracurricular activities to instill motivation and leadership qualities. Above all, the parents themselves must put their best foot forward as mentally and physically stable role models who pursue their own passions and goals.
At the end of each of the fifteen short chapters, parents are give a short exercise by answering pertinent questions about their own child to help reinforce the content of that section. These can serve as a kind of notebook or reference guide. This book of approximately one hundred pages belongs on every parent and guidance counselor’s bookshelf. I found the common sense and practical guide valuable and easy to follow. Wish I had this when my children were still in school.
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