Supporting success in school
If school is important to you, it will be important to your child. If your child feels good about his or her schoolwork, the chances for your child to succeed in school increase.
Your involvement in your child's education is also one of the best investments you can make. Research shows that when parents get involved, their children:
- Are better behaved and have more positive attitudes.
- Are more likely to pursue higher education.
- Earn better grades and test scores.
- Graduate from high school at higher rates.
Some parents have the time to become involved in many ways. Others may only have the time for one or two activities. Your involvement might be as simple as asking your children, "What was the most interesting thing you found out today?" or "What did you learn today that you would like to know more about?" By asking something about their day, each and every day, you will be communicating the message that their school life is important to you and that you expect them to learn. If you become involved and stay involved, you will make a big difference.
Becoming involved in your children's education can be reading with your children regularly, taking time to listen to your children reflect on their day, or encouraging their efforts to learn. It is also important to:
- Attend as many school meetings and activities as possible.
- Attend parent conferences requested by the school.
- Read all newsletters that are sent home from school and feel free to call if you have any questions.
- Talk to other parents about their perceptions of school.
- Support your children's learning by helping them complete their homework.
If you have time, you can also support school in other ways:
- Volunteer at your child's school. The help is always welcome.
- Get involved with your schools' PTA/PTO, Site Council, or School Improvement Team.
- Attend school board meetings to find out about the kinds of issues the schools are facing and who is making the decisions.
Elementary school involvement and student success
As your children begin school, find reasons to praise them every day. Each child has unique talents and strengths. Help each one focus on what he or she does well by reinforcing these assets. Let your children know that you think they are valuable, capable people and that you know they can succeed.
Have high expectations for your children's learning and behavior, both at home and at school. When you expect the best from your children, they will rise to your expectations. Help your children take responsibility for their choices. Teach your children how to set and achieve goals. Be a good role model for getting work done before play.
Make sure your children are getting the best education possible by working directly with your their school and teachers.
Talk with your children's teachers:
- Introduce yourself at the beginning of the school year.
- Attend parent-teacher conferences.
- If possible, arrange a time to observe the teaching in your childrens's classrooms.
- If you use e-mail, find out if your children's teachers use email to communicate with parents.
- Send the teacher a thank you note when you notice your child has learned a new skill.
Talk with your children about their schoolwork:
- Ask about homework and check to see that your children have done all the work assigned.
- Ask your children to show you their schoolwork and note comments made by the teachers.
- Ask to see papers sent home by the school.
- Discuss how the skills your children are learning in school are an important part of everyday life.
- Let your children see you reading, writing, and using math.
Help your children develop routines:
- Have regular homework or reading time.
- Make sure your children have a regular bedtime that allows for plenty of rest.
- Give your children age-appropriate chores.
- Make sure your child has a nutritious breakfast before school.
Teach your child to love to read:
- Read to your children from an early age.
- Let your children see you read.
- Listen to your children read.
- Limit T.V. viewing and video games.
- Take your children to the library to check out books of interest to him or her.
- Provide your children with books and magazines written at his or her reading level.
Create a study environment in your home:
- Do not allow the T.V. to be on while your children are doing homework.
- Make a "study area" that has paper, pencils, pens, erasers, a dictionary and other materials your children use to do schoolwork.
- Stay nearby when your child is doing homework in case your help is needed.
- Check your children's homework when finished.
Spend time with your children at home:
- Ask your child about his or her day.
- If you have multiple children, try to spend one-on-one time with each child.
- Use car time to talk with, and listen to, your children.
- Take walks or ride bikes together.
- Look for things to do as a family. Once a week, have a "movie" night or a "game" night.
- Eat dinner together. Use this time to talk about the day's events.