Parental InvolvementWhy Get Involved?
Research reveals many benefits when parents are involved in their child's education, including:
- Higher grades and test scores;
- Better attitudes and behavior;
- Better school attendance;
- More homework completed;
- Less chance of placement in special education;
- Greater likelihood of graduating from high school; and
- Better chance of enrolling in postsecondary education.
Showing an interest in your child's education, setting high expectations for achievement and letting your child know you believe in his or her abilities sets a positive context for growth and achievement.
How Do I Get Involved?
Make school important
You can reinforce the importance of school if you:
- Speak positively about your child's teachers and counselors.
- Talk to your child about the benefits of education.
- Make sure your child gets to school on time.
- Attend open houses and parent-teacher conferences.
- Answer notes and calls from your child's teacher.
Encourage reading and writing
You can help your child perform better at school if you:
- Keep books, magazines and newspapers in your home.
- Take your child to the library.
- Discuss what your child reads.
- Read with your child.
- Encourage your child to write notes to grandparents and other relatives.
- Suggest that your child keep a journal.
What Can I Do at Home?
You can foster school success at home if you:
- Make sure your child arrives at school well-rested.
- Make sure your child has a good breakfast before school.
- Set a regular time and ensure a quiet place for your child to do homework.
- Ask your child what he or she has learned in school each day.
- Limit his or her television, computer and video game time.
- Praise and encourage your child.
- Celebrate your child's successes.
You can turn ordinary time together into teachable moments if you:
- Use car time to talk to your child (about what you see from the car, about his or her day, about your day).
- Plan to eat at least one meal each day as a family and use this time for positive family discussions.
- Let your child help prepare the meal, and talk about each step.
- Look for things to do together as a family.
What Can I Do at School?
You can strengthen the connection with school if you:
- Attend open houses and back-to-school nights.
- Attend school programs.
- Read the school newsletter.
- Join the parent-teacher association.
- Take part in after-school events.
- Get to know your child's teachers.
- Support your child in school activities.
- Spend time at the school as a volunteer or visitor. By doing so you can find out:
- How your child is doing with class work;
- How your child interacts with other children; and
- Whether the teacher is having any discipline problems.
If you can't spend time at school because of work and other commitments, you can still connect from home. For example, you could:
- Offer to call other parents to notify them of school events.
- Help edit the school newsletter.
What About the Teenage Years?
Teens are developing a sense of self and independence, but parents still have a strong influence in these years. You can provide positive support if you:
- Keep the lines of communication open.
- Set fair and consistent rules with your teenager's input.
- Support his or her future and continue to show that education is important.
- Set a good example through your own involvement in school and community.
- Continue to make time for family activities.
For More Information
- For more information, visit the following websites:
No Child Left Behind - Choices for Parents
- Helping Your Child Succeed in School, U.S. Department of Education, 1992, revised 2002.
- Questions Parents Ask About Schools, U.S. Department of Education, 2003.
- Parents Make the Difference!, The Parent Institute, 2003.
- Parents Make a Difference!! Teens and School Success, University of Wisconsin-Extension, 2002. PDF
- Learning in Your Home, Florida Partnership for Parent Involvement, University of South Florida.
- Parent Involvement=Student Success, Indiana Career and Postsecondary Advancement Center, 2002.
- Parent Involvement in Education: A Resource for Parents, Educators, and Communities - Chapter 6, State of Iowa, Department of Education, 1998.
- Selected Parent Involvement Research, John H. Wherry, The Parent Institute, 2003. Middle School/High School Parent Involvement, National PTA, 1999.