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Tips for Parents: Your Role in School Success

By Donna Wilson, Child & Youth Development Program Supervisor, with special thanks to teacher Susan Bulloch and retired teacher Donna Moyer for their contributions.

Studies show that children’s academic achievement is directly influenced by their parents’ involvement in their education. Learn how you can bolster your student for success.

A Teacher’s Expectation of Parents

Students, teachers, and parents all share responsibility in the education of a child. As a parent, here’s a minimum level of involvement most teachers expect:

  • StudentHelp your student by developing a routine or specific time for homework where you are available to help or listen if needed. You are vital to his/her success.
  • Ensure your child is at school, on time, every day possible. Arrange for vacations, trips, etc. during days off school.
  • Make sure your child eats a healthy breakfast each morning so they can function in class.
  • Make sure your student is getting adequate sleep at night to support his/her growing body and mind.
  • Be a positive role model in your child’s eyes—show interest in reading and learning new things.
  • Notify the teacher of any concerns or questions you have regarding their learning or treatment in school.

Questions to Ask Your Child about Their Day

Get a sense of your child’s life at school by asking questions that elicit more than a one-word response. Try one of these conversation starters:

  • Tell me about the best part of your day.
  • What was the hardest thing you had to do today?
  • Did any of your classmates do anything funny?
  • Tell me about what you read in class.
  • Who did you play with/hang out with today? What did you do?
  • Do you think ________(insert subject here) is too hard?
  • What’s the biggest difference between this year and last year?
  • What rules are different at school than at home? Do you think they’re fair?
  • Who did you sit with at lunch?
  • Can you show me something you learned or did today?

The DOs and DON’Ts of Homework

Make the most of your child’s learning time at home.

Do:

  • Provide quiet study time in a well-lit place.
  • Be available to encourage, praise, advise, and supervise.
  • Monitor your child’s understanding of concepts and skills.
  • Check work for accuracy, neatness, and completeness.
  • Provide related home-learning experiences to reinforce concepts learned at school.
  • Cooperate with and be supportive of the child’s teacher.
  • Help your child make education a top priority during his/her school years. Show by example that learning can be exciting and fulfilling.

Don’t:

  • Don’t do the child’s homework for him/her.
  • Don’t make excuses or allow the child to make excuses for incomplete or sloppy work.
  • Don’t change, criticize, or belittle a teacher’s assignments. If there’s a problem, talk to the teacher.
  • Don’t allow the child to skip an assignment he/she doesn’t like.
  • Don’t fill the child’s schedule with so many non-school activities there is no time left for homework or play
  • Don’t relieve the child of the responsibility for getting homework back to school on time.

Team up with your child and your child’s teacher to work together for your child’s academic success. It’s a winning team.