As educators know and most parents will agree, parental involvement is an important part of student academic success.
It goes beyond simply making sure that our children are present at school each day and completing their homework at night. It includes showing children that as a parent, you care – you care not only about their grades but also about their feelings about school, their teachers, their interactions, and their fears too.
It isn’t always easy for parents to get involved in or connected to their students’ school lives. As students get older, it may be harder for parents to help with homework. Or perhaps they have a child who is naturally quiet and has a harder time opening up about school. Or, as often happens, parents and students have schedules that are packed full, which hinders interactions where parents might learn more about opportunities to get involved in their student’s academics.
If you aren’t sure about how to get involved in your child’s education, here are some suggestions.
- Sign up for your school district’s newsletter.
- Follow your child’s school and/or district on social media.
- Have regular positive communication with your child’s teacher.
- Join the PTA or other parent organizations.
At home, you can be involved in several ways:
- Provide homework help. Even if you have an older child whose assignments are beyond your understanding (say they are studying chemistry but your background is in language arts), you can make sure they have the tools to succeed. If your child is struggling, talk to the teacher. Talk to your school district about the support available. If there is not a district-wide tutoring program, your child can still receive 1:1 individualized tutoring and homework help from professional educators with Skooli.
- Make sure there is a designated homework spot in your home that is distraction-free and stocked with supplies. It should also provide ample room for a student to spread out with any needed books, laptops, or other supplies.
- Schedule time for studying and homework and stick to it. Show your child that their education is just as important as any other activities or extracurricular activities.
Your involvement is important and can play a critical role in your child’s academic achievement. Often a child’s attitude toward school and learning is a reflection of their parents’ attitude toward education. You can help encourage curiosity and inquiry. You can also set the tone for your child’s relationship with their teacher. As outlined by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, students whose parents are engaged:
- earn higher grades and score higher on tests;
- graduate from high school and college;
- develop self-confidence and motivation in the classroom; and
- have better social skills and classroom behavior.
Show your student that you are invested and interested in their education. If time has hindered you from being involved before, start by simply encouraging conversation with your student. Don’t just ask about their day at school in general (because we all know if you ask how their day was, you’ll hear “okay” with no elaboration), ask specific questions about specific classes. Get involved in the PTA and other volunteer opportunities.
Your involvement can make a huge impact on your child’s success now and in the future.