By: Phoebe Gohs
Can you guess what parents can do to impact their child’s academic achievement, in a way that has more effect than socio-economic status, race, or parent’s education level?
Research has consistently shown that families who get involved at school have children with higher grades; higher graduation rates, and who develop attainable goals for their future.
Even more, children who have fallen behind in their education have more chance of getting back on track when their parents become involved in their education.
So what does this involvement look like?
First, it means that you communicate to your children that their education is important to you. This is done by monitoring homework, asking what is happening at school, what tests are coming up, what they are learning.
Elementary students will love to answer these questions and have you showcase their work on the refrigerator.
And, while teenagers will likely roll their eyes and grunt a response (mine do), they’ll eventually answer, and know that what happens at school is important to you.
Next, communicate with your child’s teacher. Both of you are interested in the education of your child, so stop in at school and ask how your child is doing.
Send an e-mail if you have questions about an assignment or classroom expectations.
Attend conferences to hear about your child’s progress.
Remember teachers and parents are working on the same team to educate your child.
Working together will make sure you are aware of ways you can help him or her in their learning, and it will help you know when big projects have been assigned so you can help ensure the work is getting done in a reasonable time frame.
Finally, attend school events.
This can be sporting events, musical concerts, or classroom performances.
It’s a great and fun way for you to show your child that you are interested in what they are doing.
While attending, you will be proud of your child’s accomplishments.
You may even find yourself being one of the parents posting pictures on facebook to be sure everyone you know sees some of the great things your children can do.
So for your 2012 New Year’s resolution, why not make a commitment to your child’s future?
Commit to asking about schoolwork every day.
Become involved in your school’s parent-teacher organization.
Attend conferences, e-mail the teacher to check up on your child’s progress.
Volunteer to be a classroom helper for literacy stations, or to chaperone a field trip.
Attend your child’s sporting events, musical concerts, or special classroom events.
It is an investment in your child that will help build and maintain a positive relationship with your child, and it will pay dividends as your child succeeds in school and into their future!
For more information on how you can get involved in your child’s education, visit the Michigan Department of Education’s website for a parent involvement toolkit at: http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,4615,7-140-5233—,00.html
Phoebe Gohs is a local educator, school library director, adjunct professor, and recognized literary specialist. Her column, “Inside Education,” appears in The Boyne City Gazette bi-weekly.