Studies have shown time and time again that children with parents who are involved in their education have more success than children without parental support. Children are found to have better behavior, have higher grades, and better all around attitude towards education that results in a more successful life.
Getting involved with your child’s education begins at home through simply asking your child about their school day. It is natural for children to not give much information when asked about their school day. How they respond and what they share truly comes to the relationship you have with your child.
Keeping an open line of communication is important for the parent-child relationship, especially when it comes to school. Some children do not like to open up and talk about their day or school. If you find your child not saying much than ask questions that do not require only one word answers. Get familiar with their school routine to help bring up more specific questions.
Taking time every evening to go through your child’s schoolwork with them is an important part of being involved with their education. Taking the time to look through their bag and asking them to explain some of the items to you can help you get the conversation going with your child about their school day. Unless the teacher sent tons of paperwork home, this process does not have to be long and detailed. Just enough time to see what your child has for the day and show them that you care about their school education and life.
Many parents find they can keep up with their child’s education, even if they are not home after school, through making a rule of informing the parent about schoolwork when they arrive home and needing to complete it before anything else.
If you have a younger child that you are trying to work with, check their planner every day for notes from the teacher. Many times, teachers will write notes to you, as the parent, or have the child write a note regarding work that needs to be done. No matter your child’s age, ensuring that they keep you informed on what is going on is important.
If your teacher is willing to give you their phone number or email address, it is helpful to communicate with them about your child via phone or email. Every teacher and school is different on the best line of communication, so make sure to follow what is best for the teacher to help be better connected.
Most schools have 2 official parent/ teacher conferences a year. Try and make these a priority. Conferences are a great opportunity for teachers to give a full update on your child’s progress for the year. Before the conferences come, try to write down questions you may have regarding your child’s work, so you can ask the teacher. Listen to what the teacher has to say. Most teachers are skilled at observing the children and what goes on.
It is important to visit your child’s classroom and see where they spend their day. Busy parents tend to overlook visit your child’s classroom. It is amazing what parents can be learn about their child from spending a short period watching what goes on in the classroom.
If your time schedule allows it, try and volunteer in your child’s classroom. This is not always possible though. If this is something that you are able to do, get with your child’s teacher. Tell them that you would like to help, but don’t know what to do. There is a good chance the teacher can find something for you to do. Some schools have guidelines on the type and amount of assistance a parent can give. Make sure you talk with the principle to find out what those are. Sometimes teachers just need help behind the scenes. Stuff like planning holiday parties, advising on a computer installation, helping with fundraising, or even writing a grant.
It is harder to keep in touch with your child’s teacher once they start middle school. There are more teachers to communicate with. At this age your child is less likely to want to talk to you about what is going on. Participation at this age is still important and recommended. Typically each child is assigned either a guidance counselor or a primary teacher. Use this person as your contact and develop a line of communication with them throughout the year. Even in middle and high school, the teachers may still appreciate your help with planning field trips or organizing fund-raising projects for the school.
Information received from your child’s teachers can be helpful at the middle and high school grades. In fact, for college-bound children, these talks are as important as ever. The teacher may have insights about your child that may affect selection of college and career. Although participation is important, you must learn to become less directly involved with your children’s schoolwork. By middle school, your child should be taking most of the responsibility for their own homework.
If you are a parent that has not been involved with your child’s education, it is never too late to begin. If you are just beginning when your child is older, keep at it. Never give up, as it is about finding the way that works for your child. Children who are not used to their parents being involved with school may be more hesitant to your sudden involvement.
Communicate with your child about your desire to be involved with their education to help your child feel more comfortable talking about school. A pattern of poor involvement with your child’s education can lead to your child feeling any conversation about school means they are in trouble. Ensure your child that you are there to learn and be apart of their school life and education, not find things they are doing wrong.
There are many ways to participate in your child’s education. You do not need to do every single one of the suggestions. Remember to always know what is going on with your child and communication with your child’s teacher is important. Pick the ways that work best for you and your schedule.