Getting Involved in Your Child's Education
According to a study published by the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory in 2002, children that have parents involved in their education are more likely to:
- Earn higher grades and test scores
- Pass their classes and be promoted
- Have less absenteeism
- Have better social skills
- Graduate from high school
- Attend college
Does this mean that you must give up all of your spare time, leave work early, volunteer in the library or in the classroom? Must you volunteer to chaperone on every filed trip and be known throughout the school? Although these are wonderful ideas and our educational system depends on parents to volunteer, this is not what parental involvement requires.
Here are ten simple ideas to help you become involved in your child's education
Spend time each evening talking about school. Ask questions about your child's day, what they learned, what their favorite part of the day was or what they did that was interesting. As always, with children, the more specific your questions are, the more of an answer you will get. Instead of saying, "How was your day?" ask specific questions.
Spend 20 minutes each evening reading a book together. Talk about the story you read and ask questions to help improve reading retention and understanding. Ask your child if they would have made the ending different. As your children get older, have them read for 20 minutes each night and then come and talk to you about what they have read.
Monitor homework. Be available to help when your child is having a problem completing or understanding their homework. If you aren't sure how to help, send a note to the teacher explaining what you have done or asking for additional assistance or a recommendation for a tutor. Make organizing papers for the next day part of your daily homework routine.
Volunteer a few hours to work in the library, chaperone a field trip, help the teacher in the classroom or ask in the school office if there is an area they could use extra help.
Go to PTA meetings and become involved in the school environment. Work with other parents to improve area you see need improvement.
Attend Open House and Parent Teacher Conferences. Check out the other events the school may be having such as Art Night, plays or talent shows. Let your child know that what is going on in their school is of interest to you.
Review papers that come home from school each day. Look over tests, newsletters or other papers to find out what is going on and how your child is doing in their classes.
Develop a communication system with your child's teacher. This can be done by writing notes in a homework notebook, via email or short weekly phone calls. Develop a system that is convenient for both you and the teacher.
Set goals at the beginning of each quarter with your child. Talk about what they would like to accomplish and ask what you can do to help them reach their goals.
Monitor your child's time at home. Limit television viewing or computer time and find more productive activities such as reading, playing games together, drawing or consider outside activities such as martial arts, dance or music.
Most of all, enjoy your child, spend time with them and let them know that they are important to you.