Make learning part of your family’s daily routine

The start of school signals new beginnings and untold promise as well as the stress of busy schedules and report cards. As part of the Mom Congress’ Back-to-School Blog-a-thon, the National Center for Family Literacy would like to send a word of encouragement to the nation’s most important teachers — the millions of parents and caregivers.

But as the lunches are made and children are herded into the car or onto the bus, harried parents feel yet another burden — how can they ensure their children will succeed in school and become a productive member of the 21st-century workforce? Parents are critically important to their child’s educational success:

  • A mother’s reading skill is the greatest determinant of her children’s future academic success (National Institute of Health).
  • A single year of parental education has a greater positive impact on the likelihood of a child attending a postsecondary institution than an extra $50,000 in parental income (Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario).
  • Children spend five times as much time outside the classroom as they do in school (Jim Trelease).

You don’t need to get a PhD in education or quit your job to help your son or daughter. Here are some quick, simple ways to incorporate learning into your daily routine:

  • Exploratory learning is powerful. Show a sense of wonder about the things around you, and your children will catch the curiosity bug. “Look at that beautiful rainbow. We need to find out what creates that band of colors.” Visit to find a Wonder of the Day® to ignite learning a sense of discovery all around you. We’ve even created a special Wonder of the Day to coincide with the Mom Congress Back-to-School Blog-a-thon: Wonder of the Day #344: How Do You Have a Voice? It focuses on blogging and standing up for your beliefs.
  • Involve your children in “teaching” you new information. Ask your children to explain something to you — doing so is a great way to solidify their own understanding.
  • Involve your children in everyday tasks. Have them help make the grocery list, cut and organize coupons, and shop — making it a scavenger hunt, where your children have the task of finding specific items. They can use a calculator to keep a running tab of the cost and help count out the cash to pay when you check out.

Get more tips from NCFL about incorporating learning into your family’s daily routine!

Remember, you are your children’s first and most important teacher, but you’re not alone. We’re here to help support that role and provide you with free, fun learning activities that are the result of decades of national research and programming.

Make a difference for your child’s school!

Nominate a deserving school you know, and you could help them win $20,000 from the Mom Congress School Transformation Contest.

Upload a photo or video and a short essay to tell Mom Congress how your school could use $20,000, and then get others to vote for your entry — the entry with the most votes wins. Find out more! Don’t delay: Submissions are due Friday, September 30, 2011.