September 19, 2013

Parent Involvement in School: Why It Matters

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.

Here are some ideas on what it means to get involved, and why it matters.

How to Get Involved

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. So sit down and help your child with homework, such as drilling spelling words or math facts.

2. Volunteer

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. So see if you can be a “class parent” this school year, or find out if the library needs an assistant.

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 It Matters

All kinds of studies point to the benefits of parental involvement in schools. Here are some specific ways in which your involvement matters.

1. 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.

2. Communication

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.

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Alexis Rodrigo