Recently, the U.S. Department of Education conducted a study that focused on the impact that a parent’s involvement with their child’s education has on their success at school. The data made it clear that single dads’ efforts have a big impact on grades and attitude when it comes to education, regardless of how much parenting time they have. Now that kids across the country are headed back to school, be it in-person or online, it’s the perfect time to consider how you can help make a difference.
Your child will think school is more important if it’s important to you. So do what you can to make that happen. Sometimes one parent has sole decision-making authority for education, but that is not the same as saying the other parent can’t be involved. Unless there is a court order barring you from contacting the school, call the principal. Introduce yourself to your child’s teachers. Learn how to visit and volunteer. Show up for special events and show your child that their education is worth the effort.
Many school districts have online websites with parent portals. Parent-Teacher Associations and Organizations (PTA/PTO) have newsletters and online groups. Communities sometimes host their own school-related pages on social media. Call the district and school secretaries to find out about the options available to you.
Your child’s teacher isn’t the only staff member who may need your help throughout the year, but talking with him or her is a great place to start. There are several things parents can do in the classroom, including reading to students, running drills, making snacks or providing extra supplies. Parents often coach extracurriculars with teacher oversight too. It’s okay if sports aren’t your strong suit. Kids today are involved in all kinds of clubs, from foreign languages to robotics.
Prioritize Your Child’s Interests
Some parents are too wrapped up in what their kids are “supposed” to do and ignore the promise found in what their kids like. Children learn so much through natural curiosity. Teaching them how to be excited about learning away from the classroom is just as important as working on homework. Those hobbies can be the key you need to unlock academic achievement when lessons get tough. Just think about how much physics plays into things like skateboarding or playing guitar. Having a practical connection to those lessons can help kids figure them out.
Help Your Child Build Scholastic Support
Helping with homework can be a big help, but you might not be able to do that every night. Encourage your children to seek out resources that will help them on your nights off. Study groups provide important social and scholastic contacts. Online tutors and classes on platforms like Outschool can help provide your child with a social network that prioritizes school success.
And remember, the 2020 – 2021 school year could be quite different from those your children have experienced in the past, so the ways you get involved could be quite different too. Don’t be afraid to ask your kids what support they need from you.