Being there for your kids ought to extend to the classroom. Surveys support that, and so does common sense. Hopefully, your child’s teacher believes that as well, and welcomes involvement and interest.
To borrow a phase — it does take a village.
Research shows that parent involvement can make more of a difference in educational success than the quality of schools.
Henderson Collegiate Charter School is one example of a school that involves many people in its educational process. Teacher Caitlin Dietrich said the approach is helpful to students, especially for those with fewer resources at home.
“With low-income students, the problems for education is really just so much more complex, so you have to reach into each aspect of life to really make the impact that they need,” said Dietrich.
The Henderson Collegiate school recently held a Parent Pride Night where students were invited to share special skills or talents they’ve learned in the first half of the school year.
Research from the University of New Hampshire found that school systems would need to increase their per-student spending by more than $1,000 to achieve the same results gained in parental involvement. Dietrich, who came into education through the Teach for American program, said it’s a fact she sees played out daily at her school.
“As important as it is everywhere, we find that it’s even more essential with our students because they come to us with a deficit of resources,” she said.
At Henderson Collegiate and schools around North Carolina, parents are participating in after-school programs and community gardens and as classroom volunteers.
There is a lot of value in that awkward crayon drawing you proudly taped to the front of the fridge so long ago, but being involved in your child’s life ought to include more than a pat on the back and a pizza party for all A’s and B’s on a report card.
It’s a chore, sometimes, to make time for this, what with our crazy busy lives. But the dividends realized from your investment of time and interest will be priceless.
Take the time to be involved in your child’s schooling — read a book with them. Get your own copy of a book they’ve been assigned to read and follow along; ask questions, discuss the plot, the characters, the moral of the story.
If your kids are young and the reading material is a bit below your advanced level, pretend to be interested. It’s so much easier than you think. Chances are you’ll get into the book no matter what and surprise yourself.
That short little book about a bear named BoBo who learns how to ride a bicycle might turn out to be pretty entertaining after all, and it could give you the chance to laugh with your child.
And that is valuable beyond measure.