Practical Tips on How to Be Involved in Your Child’s Education

The National Coalition for Parental Involvement in Education indicates that parents who are involved in their children’s education usually have children who:• earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher-level programs
• are promoted, pass their classes and earn credits
• attend school regularly
• have better social skills, show improved behavior and adapt well to school
• their children are more likely to graduate and go on to post-secondary educationAre you interested in obtaining these results for your child? If so, parental involvement is paramount. We hear “parental involvement”, but what does it really mean? I would like to submit to you that parental involvement in your child’s education is integral to helping your child succeed. In order for your children to realize their full potential, parents must be there to assist and guide. I am a firm believer that when left to their own devices, children will be children. Of course there are a handful of children who are possess a double portion of intrinsic motivation, but for the most part children need their parents for guidance.There is no age limit for required parental involvement. Even when children are teenagers and becoming more independent, parents must be involved in helping children make sound decisions about their high school career and beyond. Parents cannot be too hands off too early otherwise you leave room for children to make child-like decisions regarding their future.When we think parental involvement, I do not want to exclude anyone based upon number of jobs, composition of the family or educational level because all parents can and should be involved in their child’s education. There really is no excuse not to be involved.Parents should attend each and every meeting where decisions will be made regarding any aspect of your child’s education. This includes conferences regarding your child’s behavior or quarterly parent teacher conferences.Before enrolling your child in a school, schedule a meeting with the principal in order to introduce yourself and set forth your expectations. At this meeting, find out who you need to contact regarding volunteer opportunities.Be sure to attend events where your child will be showcasing talents or work. If for some reason your job or other commitments prevent you from attending, be sure to arrange for someone to represent you. Imagine the boost to the self-esteem when your child can look out and see that they have someone in the audience witnessing this special moment.Create a schedule for yourself indicating the times that you will contact the teacher to obtain an update about your child’s progress. This ensures that even if your child has a teacher that is not big on initiating feedback, you can still stay up to date on your child’s progress. This communication can be done via email, telephone or a form note that you create that provides a space for the teacher to include feedback.Even if you cannot make it to the school sponsored Parent Teacher Organization meetings, be sure to request a copy of the minutes so that you can stay informed. If there is an issue that you would like to discuss, schedule an appointment with the officers of the organization at a more convenient time.Lend your talents to the school. Take an inventory of tasks that you can do well and offer your services. You can either offer your services during school hours or offer to contribute from home. Avoid being a bystander. As a former educator, I really appreciated parents who shared in the work for special events.Each and every day communicate with your child about the school day. Even in cases where a parent is at work when the child gets home and the child is asleep when work is done; leave a special note for your child where he or she has to respond about the school day.In short, parental involvement does not have to be such a daunting task. It simply requires parents to play an active role in helping their child succeed. Regardless of your schedule, the number of children you have or your educational level, make parental involvement a priority this upcoming school year. If you do not know where to start, begin with one or two things off of my list of suggestions above. The results that parental involvement yield make it worth every ounce of inconvenience you may encounter.