You probably already know that home involvement is a crucial part of any child’s successful school experience. What you may not know is why this is the case, and what a parent can do to help maintain that critical home-school connection.
Study after study and long years of research have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt: In order to succeed to the best of their abilities, children need their parents or caregivers to be involved in their educations. While the occasional (and unusual) child might be able to rise above a lack of home support, that is not the norm. Family involvement is key.
Family Involvement Prepares Students for School
School success begins long before school attendance. Children whose parents emphasize the importance of hard work and learning are far more likely to develop the grit required to achieve higher education and career goals. Those who are read to at home recognize the alphabet earlier and have a significantly easier time transitioning to full literacy.
After children start school – whether in preschool, Kindergarten or even later – a parent’s role is to check in with the child about homework, encourage and enable reading and learning, and prove to the child that they will answer to the parent for poor performance in school. Kids whose parents model disinterest, on the other hand, will likely become disinterested themselves. That’s no good.
Getting Involved: For the Busy Parent
Many homes have two working parents, rushed evenings and jam-packed weekends. Luckily, parents don’t have to make school involvement a part-time job. A daily homework check is important, but this need last no longer than 5-10 minutes unless the student is struggling. Participating in school activities, such as concerts or field trips, provides a nice sense of continuity for the child.
And regularly attending parent-teacher conferences fosters unity between teachers and parents, improves children’s social skills and increases their chances of academic competence. Moreover, as you move into the adolescent years, parental involvement and family dinners significantly lower the chances of delinquency.
The Educator’s Role
Of course, parents can’t be expected to carry this out on their own. The educator’s role is to make parental expectations clear; to give them defined, actionable opportunities to participate in the classroom; and to communicate their expectations of the child’s behavior. Though a teacher has no real power to influence parents in the home, they can and should convey the ideal environment: lots of bedtime reading, homework checks and talking about school. Some parents just don’t know, and it’s a teacher’s duty to make sure they do. Check out these 3 Tips for Fostering Parent Collaboration.
Parental involvement isn’t a cure-all. But it does go a long way toward fostering capable, hardworking, healthy and decent children. Let’s all do our part to get them there.