The modern day parent is usually busy juggling various assignments. From caring for the children to tending to your own personal needs, sometimes it seems like there’s never enough time in a day. Be that as it may, it is imperative for parents to be as involved as possible in their child’s educational experience. No matter what age they are, as a parent, it is your job to ensure that they fully comprehend what they’re learning and that they get the best educational experience possible.
If you’re like me and have multiple children, a spouse, and a 9 to 5 you clock into every day, finding the time to get it all done can seem impossible. That’s why I’ve provided you with some tips on how to get more involved in your child’s education.
Improved Involvement with Your Kids
Once your kid stops asking you for help with their homework, that doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook. Whether your child is in the first grade or their freshman year of high school it is very important to stay on top of things. Below are a few ways in which I learned to be more involved with my kids as it pertains to their education:
- Set Aside Time – I know, I know…what time? However, finding time in your busy day to help your children with their schoolwork is a must. The best approach would be to review your schedule. Determine which activities can wait until the weekend and which ones can be delegated to your support system (i.e. significant other or family member). Try to set at least an hour every day aside strictly for educational purposes. Whether its helping them with their homework, playing an educational game, or even just talking about school in general, it is important for your kids to know that you care.
Work Late Hours? Not every parent has the ideal schedule that would allow them to be there on the regular basis for their children. When your children get home from school, have them record what their day was like, any concerns they may have had, and what they learned throughout the day. This allows you to listen to the recording in your spare time and still address any issues.
- Communicate During Meal Times – There is at least one time per day that most families get together and talk about various topics – meal time. Whether you typically gather at breakfast or dinner time, this would be a great opportunity to start an open dialect about school. Talk to them about what they learned, where they’re having difficulty, and about ways in which they could use your help.
- Integrate Learning Into Family Time – Whether you pencil in family time on the daily basis or on the weekly basis, family time can be a great occasion to integrate learning. Whether it’s watching a movie with a valuable lesson or playing games that involve problem-solving and critical thinking skills, it’s a great opportunity to see how you’re children are progressing academically without the added pressure.
Improved Involvement with Teachers
Teachers are a key factor when it comes to giving your child the best educational experience possible. Finding unique ways to interact with educators is a great way to ensure that your child is on the right track. However, with school and work schedules often being conflicting, finding a way to stay involved can be complicated. Here are a few suggestions I’ve tried.
- Attend Conferences – Parent-teacher conferences are a great way to involve yourself with your child’s education and their teachers. These conferences are typically held between 2-4 times per year. Find out in advance when these conferences will be and make sure that you or someone from your support system attends the meeting. Be sure to write down any concerns you have at home and also take a pen and paper so that you can write down any solutions or resources provided to you by the teacher. Also, jot down any issues the teacher may address.
Tight Work Schedule? Not all of us can make it to the parent teacher conferences as we’d like. In this instance, it works to have other methods for reaching out to their teacher. Some suggestions might include: sending an email, scheduling a meeting after hours, sending notes with your child, or even contacting them by phone at a time that is convenient for you both.
- Consider Technology – Technology has become a big influence on the way children learn today. As more and more schools look to prepare their students for the increased demand of colleges, many programs are adopting common core state standards into the classroom. These standards, formulated by a group of educators and specialists, provide guidelines/standards on where children should be academically at each grade level.
- A Day in the Life – This last bit of advice was one that I found to be very interesting. I scheduled a vacation day and visited my child’s class. I got to sit back and observe what happens throughout the day, and even volunteered my services. Whether you read to the class, help them with a project, or just observe, putting yourself in the shoes of your child allows you to learn a lot more about their educational experience.
These six tips certainly helped me to be a more involved parent when it comes to my child’s education. I was able to work around my busy schedule and find other avenues that allowed me to be engaged on the regular basis. I was able to understand what they were excelling in, what their immediate needs are, and how I could be of assistance.