Article at a Glance
• Parental involvement is one of the biggest indicators of a child’s academic success.
• Studies have shown that the most effective form of involvement is when parents work with their children on learning activities at home.
• Parents can become more involved by helping out with homework, volunteering at school, and attending school functions.
Over the years research has shown that children do much better in school when their parents are involved in their education. In fact, it is one of the biggest indicators of a child’s academic success—improving test scores, decreasing the use of drugs and alcohol, and increasing graduation rates.
Only parents or parental figures are able to provide the individualized, long-term commitment children need to succeed in school. Unfortunately most public schools report that one of their biggest problems is a lack of parental support. And with budget cuts, teachers need parents’ help more than ever.
If you are unsure about the best way to get involved, here are some ideas.
Bring Learning Home
Studies have shown that the most effective form of involvement is when parents work with their children on learning activities at home. This can include things like helping with homework, showing interest in school, reading together, taking family “field trips,” discussing topics covered in school that day, and providing educational experiences. Reinforcing what children are learning at school in the home can make a huge difference.
Volunteer in the Classroom
Spending an hour or two a week in your children’s classroom is a great way to learn more about their teachers, friends, and what they are learning. It is also a great way to support teachers. If you have young children at home, see if there is another parent who would be willing to swap babysitting with you. If you are unable to volunteer during school hours, ask to see if there is something you can do from home to help out.
Get Started Early
Studies show that the earlier you get involved in your children’s education the more they will benefit.
Attending things like parent-teacher conferences and other school activities help you get a better sense of how your child is doing in school and it also sets a good example. Actions speak louder than words. Devoting our own time and interest to our children’s education shows them just how important it is.
Set the Stage
Many factors contribute to how your child will do during the school day. Things like getting enough to eat and a good night sleep help children stay focused, alert, and healthy. Limiting TV usage and setting aside a time and place for studying also helps.