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Parents and Schools Working Together for Success

Are you happy with your child's progress in school so far?

Nashville, Ark. – We are through the first weeks of school. Are you happy with your child’s progress? Successful students are those whose parents along with the school are concerned about the students. Education is not just about schools, it also involves the parents.

            Parents who are disconnected emotionally or physically from their children won’t have much effect in helping children succeed. Loving and spending time with children are the most important starting points for helping them to succeed in school. Work on a project together, but be sure not to do the project for the child. Parents can help by providing the necessary tools the child will need. For example, your 5th grader may be studying about Native Americans and the homes they built. The project may be to build one of the structures. Parents can help by providing sticks, paper, scissors, glue, markers, etc. not building the house for the child because you may be able to do a better job than the child. Remember, it is their project and they will learn best by doing it themselves.

            Rewarding children for doing well in school can be a great motivator for success. Many parents ask themselves, “Should I reward my child with good grades by paying them?” Some parents say yes. They try to motivate their children to make good grades by paying $10 for an A, $5 for a B, and so on. Or they may pay their child to maintain a certain grade point average. While this may work, there are some better ways to motivate your child to succeed. Here’s why:

            Most children cannot focus on a reward for the entire school term. Instead, work with children on a day-to-day basis by asking, “What did you do in math today?” “English?” “Science?” and “What are you studying tonight?” If they say nothing, suggest reading a book. Your interest in what they are doing in school shows that you think learning is important and exciting.

            Evidence shows that when children are rewarded for a behavior, they are less likely to do the behavior for the joy of it. Children who are paid to work puzzles work only as long as they are paid. Children who play with puzzles without being paid are likely to continue after the assigned time. Monetary rewards often backfire because children focus on the reward instead of the accomplishment.

            Acknowledge good grades. Ask the child on a consistent basis, “How does it make you feel to know you have done so well on your tests?” Parents might also say something such as, “You must feel very proud to have done so well on your report card.” Questions or statements such as these help the child to begin to formulate his or her own internal reasons and motivation for doing well in school, whether you reward them or not.

            Instead of paying for that “A”, celebrate good grades by going out to dinner, baking a cake, or having a “special night” at home. A “special night” could be playing board games or watching a movie and popping popcorn. It could also be allowing your child to invite a friend over to spend the night. There are many ways to celebrate good grades without paying for them.

            If your child is not doing as well as expected, try to find out what the problem may be. Discuss with the teacher what they think may be the problem and how you can help. Sometimes what teachers and/or parents think may be a learning disability in a child can be something as simple as a child needing glasses to see better. Other times, it may be something more complex. If a parent thinks a problem exists, they should begin by using the resources available at the child’s school. Most schools have a parent resource center.

            Occasionally walking a child into school, picking them up from school, attending parent-teacher conferences or participating in school activities are excellent ways parents can keep communication lines open between home and school. Parents who are willing to put forth the effort can help their children be more successful in school.

            For more information on parenting, contact the Howard County Extension Service at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse. You can also check out our website at for lots of good resources on parenting.

Recipe of the Week

            Here is a recipe to enjoy at fall parties, whether it is a girl’s night out, or a tailgate party before the big game. All will enjoy this special treat and the best thing is it is easy to make and serve.

Corn Dip

 3 (11 oz.) cans sweet corn & diced peppers, drained                        

7 oz. can chopped green chilies                                                         

6 oz. can chopped jalapenos, drained and liquid added to taste       

½ c. green onion, chopped                                                                      

1 c. mayonnaise

1 c. sour cream                                                                                               

1 t. pepper

½ t. garlic powder

16 oz. pkg. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Corn chips

Mix all ingredients except corn chips together and refrigerate. Serve with corn chips for

scooping. Makes about 6 cups.

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


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