Every parent who has ever attended a parent-teacher conference, a back-to-school night or any other school event has probably heard the plea for parents to get involved in their child’s education. But did you know it is statistically proven that parental involvement is a consistent predictor of children’s academic achievement?
In his book, “Parental Involvement and Student Achievement” (Cambridge, MA: Routeledge, 2011), which is a meta-analysis of 52 parental involvement and student achievement studies (involving more than 300,000 students), William Jeynes, professor of education at California State University, Long Beach, discusses the most important findings about parental involvement in school.
Here are a few key points from his analysis:
- Achievement scores of children with highly involved parents was typically higher than those with less involved parents.
- Time-intensive activities, such as reading with a child, as well as subtle types of involvement, such as parental style and expectations, had a much greater impact on student educational outcomes than other more obvious types of involvement such as parental attendance and participation at school functions.
- The parental style most associated with school success was that of strong structure and a high degree of love and care toward the child.
- The positive influence of parental involvement transcended socioeconomic factors.
With these facts in mind, here are some great ways for you to be a part of your child’s education:
- Practice reading together every day to boost your child’s reading ability.
- Maintain a structured household with a consistent daily routine that includes homework time.
- Uphold high, but realistic expectations for your child.
- Talk about school at home and maintain open lines of communication about school issues.
- Get to know your child’s teacher—at parent-teacher conferences, through regular communication, by helping in the classroom and more.
- Gain an understanding of the teacher’s expectations of your child and work with your child on goal-setting.
- Communicate with your child’s teacher about the best ways to support your child at home—through homework help, skill building and other activities.
- Continually work with your child to develop his or her organizational and time management skills.
- Attend school events as a family and get to know the principal, staff and other teachers at your child’s school.
- Approach your child’s teacher early if you notice your child struggling with a particular subject or skill.
- Communicate to your child—both explicitly and through your actions and attitude—that school is an important part of life.
- As your child gets closer to high school (and throughout high school), talk about college and work with him or her to plan for it.
- Stay informed—through good communication with your child and his or her teacher—about what your child studies at school each day.
- Create a home environment that is conducive to learning and education.
The research is clear: parental involvement in school has a tremendous impact on students’ self-esteem, enthusiasm to learn and overall success. Conversely, children whose parents are disengaged and uninvolved in their education typically are schools’ lowest-performing students. Your participation matters. When you get involved in your child’s school endeavors, he or she is apt to develop a good attitude about school and learning, earn higher grades and become a lifelong learner.