According to a report by America's Promise Alliance, 1 in 4 public school students in the U.S. drops out of high school. However, numerous studies have shown that when parents are involved in their child's education, that child is more successful not only in school, but in her career and life as well. Not only does she earn higher grades, she also has a more positive outlook on school. Getting more involved in your child's education isn't complicated. All it takes is a bit of your time.
1. Start Young
When your child is still young, talk openly about education and school - even college. Speaking about school casually and without pressure helps children understand that education is a normal, happy, and expected part of life.
2. Foster Her Talents
Our children each have a talent and areas of study that interest them more than others. When you notice that your child is interested in a particular subject, try and nurture that curiosity. Allow her to be involved in activities, events, part-time jobs, classes, and research on the topic that intrigues her. Those of us who are able to turn our talents and gifts into a career are usually happier and more successful.
3. Help With Homework
Don't assume your child is doing her homework or doesn't need or want your help. Sit down with her while she does her homework. Ask her if she has any questions. Make sure she isn't feeling frustrated, or isn't skipping out on assignments or procrastinating. Teach her not to give up. Be on top of her schoolwork so that you can ensure she doesn't get left behind.
4. Talk to the Teachers
Take the time to meet your child's teachers. Talk to them about how your child is performing in school and any areas of concern the teachers may have. Having an open line of communication between you and your child's teachers will contribute to her success.
5. Be Present
Even if your child denies your request to help with homework, make sure she knows that you are there if she needs you. Talk to her about her day at school and ask questions. The more you know, the more you are able to guide and help her.
6. Get Involved in School Activities
Students who are involved in extracurricular groups at school have a more positive outlook on school in general. Plus, being involved in activities that she enjoys will help build her self-esteem and may help her narrow down a course of study for college.
7. Join the PTA
The Parent-Teacher Association is a group of families, students, teachers, administrators, and community leaders who come together to advocate for students and help ensure educational success. The National PTA is the oldest and largest child advocacy group in the world and you can be a part of it. Being a PTA member will allow you to be aware of what is happening at your child's school, create a network of fellow parents, foster change in the school, and gain access to valuable resources.
8. Talk About Career Options
When your child is in high school, talk to her about what fields of study interest her the most and what careers she is drawn to. Discuss her goals and the steps she will have to take in order to meet those goals. Help her make the connection between a good education, solid grades and test scores, and a successful future.
We know that parental involvement makes a big difference in a child's success in school and life. As a parent, do everything you can to participate in your child's education, support their dreams, and guide them on the path to success. You can also help their school by voting for your favorite school and district in the Dream School Challenge sweepstakes from Lifetime Televison's The Balancing Act.