Many studies have shown that children whose parents are involved in their education perform better in school. However, with today’s hectic lifestyle, it is becoming increasingly difficult for many parents to do so. The good news is that no matter how little time you have, you can be a part of your child's education.
Parental involvement does not only mean attending the school’s Open House, parents-teacher conferences, and helping with the PTA. There are many other ways parents can support their children’s education. Below are nine suggestions to help you get started.
1. Create a homework center
Designate a comfortable, well-lighted place for completing homework assignments. The "place" can be a separate room or the corner of the kitchen table, as long as it meets your child's needs. In addition, it should be well stocked with supplies such as paper, pens, pencils, and reference material.
2. Establish a homework routine
Establish a set time for doing homework. Whether your children have their playtime first, wait until they come home from after school activities, or work on homework after dinner, it is important to begin doing homework at the same time every day.
3. Promote good attendance
Talk with your child about the importance of attending school regularly and support school rules and consequences for skipping class and being tardy. Also, try to avoid scheduling family trips or doctor appointments during school hours.
4. Monitor your children’s progress
Review your child’s returned tests and graded assignments on a regular basis. If you discover that your child is having problems in school, don’t wait to be contacted by the teacher. Take the initiative and set up a meeting.
5. Spend time together
Talk with your children everyday. Encourage them to share what they did and learned in school. Give your children opportunities to initiate conversations.
6. Read aloud every day
Reading together is a wonderful way to relax at the end of the day and spend time together. Reading stimulates the imagination and creative thought, and instills the love of reading and learning.
7. Communicate with your child’s teacher
Establishing and maintaining a good working relationship and open communications with your child’s teacher will help both of you work together as a team to support your child’s learning. Write a note or have informal conversations with your child’s teacher about how your child is doing in class.
8. Be supportive, encouraging and positive
Children who have support, who are encouraged, and who understand the importance of education are more likely to succeed in school. Be patient with your children. Give them positive feedback in all areas of their lives. Children learn better if they know they are doing things right.
9. Attend parent -teacher conferences
Parent-teacher conferences are one of the most important ways you can learn about your child. In these conferences, you can meet the teacher face to face and find out how well your child is doing. You can also ask for suggestions that will make it easier for you and the school to work together throughout the year.
Staying involved in your child's school life will encourage him to work harder and will show him that you care about him and his future.
Elizabeth Hamilton, M.E., MA, is a teacher with 31 years of professional experience. You can write to her at email@example.com with your questions or comments.