Back-To-School? Get Involved!

Do you have children returning to school? Take time and get involved in their education. Be there for parent night. Attend PTA meetings. If you are fortunate enough not to be employed outside the home, volunteer in the school library or become a teacher’s helper. Call the teacher if you have concerns about your child at any point during the school year, whether those concerns are about assignments or about behavior changes you see in your child. Working with the teacher and school can help ensure your child’s academic success or stave off problems down the line.

How do I know? Educational research shows us that there is a very strong and direct correlation between parental involvement and a child’s grades. Of course, not all school involvement has to be direct. Talk to your children about their school day, their assignments, their friends, their school and after-school activities. Make certain your child knows you are there to help him succeed. Help your child with homework. Review your child’s essays and help her correct spelling or grammar–even the spelling checker can miss a homonym. Encourage your child to do better by suggesting how to make an essay more colorful or stronger. If needed, brush up on your writing or math skills so you can help your child, or hire a tutor for his weakest areas. If tutors are not affordable, check your community for free tutorial services offered by the school itself, community centers, and youth groups. Or start a study club for neighborhood children.

The most important things you can do is keep communication open with your child about all school and school-related tasks and activities, and know your child’s behavior, mood patterns, and friends. Changes in her behavior or general mood can be an indicator of problems with classmates, the teacher, bullies, drugs or alcohol, or a host of other difficulties. Caught quickly, such problems can be dealt with before they grow out of hand.

Your child is important to you, and you want him to get the most out of the education the school provides. To ensure that, know your child well without smothering. Your child will thank you one day.