Sunday, November 06, 2005

Encouraging parent involvement in schools

Tips for the busy moms and dads

All parents want their children to succeed in school. But some moms and dads may feel as if they are not equipped to take an active role in their children's education. Nothing could be further from the truth. Family involvement is key to a child's academic success - from early childhood through high school and beyond.

Do you think you child spends most of his waking hours at school? Think again. On average, an American child spends more than 120 hours a week at home and less than 40 hours at school. As a parent, you have more time with your child than his or her teachers, meaning it's your responsibility to ensure your home is a learning environment that complements the classroom.
Keep education a priority in the home. Stay in touch with your child's teacher. Visit the school.
Remember that you, as your child's first teacher, can put him/her on the path to success.

Did you know . . . ?

  • 80% of 12th graders agree that one of the main reasons they go to school is because the teachers are interested in them.
  • 56% of nine year-olds report reading every day for fun.
  • The most common barrier reported to parental involvement is lack of time. The second most common is parents feeling that they have nothing to contribute.
  • Family participation in education is twice as influential on learning as family socioeconomic status.
  • Teachers say children in quality after-school programs become more cooperative, learn to handle conflict better, develop an interest in recreational reading, and get better grades.

Given the many challenges and time restraints facing today's families, it makes sense for school to redefine or expand their definitions for parental involvement. More and more parents are working long hours. For those parents working second shift (3 p.m. - midnight) or rotating shifts, it's tough getting time off for parent-teacher conferences or other evening school events.

Many parents don't realize that they have the right to request a meeting with the teacher at an alternative time - before school, during the teacher's planning period or immediately after school. Another way for parents and teachers to keep communication lines open is to exchange messages by email or to have brief phone conversations at a mutually agreeable time.

Remember two thoughts. One is a quote from a famous philosopher; the other is a proverb:

Do not train youth to learn by harshness, but lead them to it by what amuses their minds. Then you may discover the peculiar bent of the genius of each.
-- Plato

Not to know is bad; not to wish to know is worse.
-- Nigerian Proverb

Relevant: Parent Involvement Gets Results, National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education , Parent Information and Resource Centers

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Shirazi said...

Wish allparents in the world listen to this. They will be able to buid a much better generation.

Brea said...

Thanks for sharing this - I don't think a lot of parents realize the lasting impact they can have on their child's education.

Deb Sistrunk said...

Shirazi, I wish the same. Consider me the "parent involvement evangelist"!

Brea, thank you for your comments. And spread the word to your friends who have kids, even those who are pre-schoolers!

Rose said...

I just did three workshops on parent involvement, 2 at the university level and one this Monday in Kansas CIty, Kansas at the Parent Involvement conference. Parents seemed to want to get involved but doesn't know how to. I teach them how and the why....from my research most parents want the best for their children-many just don't know how to give it..Great post-timely.

DCS said...

Good for you, Rose!