If you have a child in school, you may have heard that it’s good to be an “involved parent.” While this is conventional wisdom, sometimes parents don’t understand why this is important, and they might not know how to get involved. There are varying degrees of parent engagement in schools, and here are a few ideas to get you started and why it matters…
Ideas for Parent Engagement in Schools
1. Help with homework
You don’t always have to be on the school grounds to be involved. Helping your child with his or her homework puts you in a supportive role where you’re working with the teachers and the school to help your child achieve his or her educational goals. Take time each night to sit down and help your child with homework, whether you’re drilling spelling words and math facts, listening to him read, or helping him to complete an assigned worksheet or project.
Sources say that even three hours of volunteer time in the classroom over the course of the school year (that’s right – three hours a year!) can make a big difference in academic performance. Ask your child’s teacher if you can be a “class parent” this school year, or find out if the library needs an assistant. There are lots of different ways to volunteer your time during your child’s school day.
3. Other jobs in the school
Your child’s school probably has lots of activities and programs outside of simple academia. From music and sports to fundraisers, there’s almost always a need for parents to help out with these activities. Find out where your participation is needed, particularly in your child’s areas of interest.
Why Parent Engagement in Schools Matters
Many different studies point to the positive effects of parent engagement in schools. Here are some specific ways in which your involvement matters:
1. A Sense of Support
Your child is likely to feel supported if you’re around at school, especially if he or she is in grade school. Your involvement also shows support for the teachers and school in general. This goes a long way in helping kids apply themselves to their schoolwork.
When you get involved in your child’s school, you’re helping to bridge the gap between your child’s school life and home life. It can open up doors for communication, because you have a better idea as to what’s going on at his or her school. Your child may feel less like you’re “out of touch” or “just don’t understand.”
3. Staying in School
Did you know that kids whose parents are involved in their school are more likely to stay in school? When you get involved, you’re helping to keep your child in school… and possibly others.
Are you involved at your child’s school?
What are some of the ways you are an engaged parent at your child’s school? How might you be more engaged in the future?