Parent’s involvement, is the first prerequisite to the desired academic success of children. Once you decide to make use of this ‘Parent Power’ and choose to stay involved in your child’s education, the next question is to decide, ‘How much should you be involved from cradle to career? The phrase ‘parent power’, here simply refers to the strong positive involvement of parents in their child’s education.
Once your child begins school so does your duty as a parent to help and support him/her at school. Staying in touch with the teacher is a great way to keep track of your child’s progress and every parent/guardian must try their best to do this. Most schools encourage parents to discuss any concerns they have and provide them with different options to contact the teacher. The options often include talking with the teacher before or after class hours, contacting via email or by attending the scheduled parent teacher meetings per semester. Discussing and knowing your child’s performance with the teacher is quite beneficial as it lets the teacher know that you are keen to know about your child’s learning; and together you can work to improve the child where needed.
Another easy way to stay in touch is to read the school Newsletter regularly. This will keep you updated of upcoming events in school and enable you to make note of the key dates. Parents who are well informed are more likely to provide any documents, within due dates, that are required for school activities or events. Staying informed and responsive not only assures your child that you care but also teaches him to recognise the importance of being responsible. If parents are oblivious of ongoing school activities then, the child time and again, may find it embarrassing. Children are very sensitive so making them suffer for things that are lacking on your part is not fair. Parents therefore should make sure not to fail their kids and act responsibly. They can stay positively involved by providing their kids useful books and materials as well as encouraging them to participate in co-curricular activities; in order to help the kids learn and explore at school.
There are other ways for being involved at schools such as volunteering as teacher’s helper in a class room or helping in organising school events. Some parents reckon they can get a better insight into child’s education by volunteering as class helpers. A few join ‘Parent-Teacher Associations’ at the school, which hold regular meetings to discuss and raise any parental queries with the school administration. However, truth is that all parents can’t commit to be involved at this level as they have their own time limitations and commitments. It is perfectly OK if you are not being able to involve at such greater degree.
At homes parents can definitely spare some time to help their kids accomplish learning milestones at school. Parents should check the communication folders daily and should let the kids know that they (parents) are there to help them (kids) in their home study tasks. Some parents are really eager to help their children, but before they know it, they are actually doing it for them instead of assisting them. For instance, an art craft project should be done by the child with some guidelines and encouragement from parents; leaving the rest on the child. As John W. Gardner, a man of great pragmatic wisdom explains that objective should be on ‘teaching them grow their own plants.’, so the key is to wind them enough with ideas and then see them go after their goals.
Establishing a regular home study routine is a good way of putting your child in a habit of daily studies. Encouraging bed time reading in little ones is sure to bond you together not only as a parent but also as a friend, a mentor and a helper. Parents can also set different activities for each day to make learning at home simple and fun especially for their younger kids. You, definitely don’t want to dull your bright child by making him ‘work all day’ and allowing ‘no play’; so make sure home study hours are kept flexible and stress free. There are great educational programmes online and at markets such as Leapfrog learning pads, websites like Reading eggs and Mathletics etc. that you can get for your child to make learning a playtime fun.
Some parents might not have the money to buy the resources/games or some might not be educated enough to help their kids even if they want to; but they can do a lot of other things to help and support their kids. They can take their kids to local libraries that offer free weekly activities for kids, lots of interesting books and often have online school homework support programs. Teachers at school are also happy to guide parents on how to make learning fun for kids at home.
In general, parents should take care of their child’s emotional and physical needs at home to ensure good learning at school. Providing nice atmosphere at home and eliminating domestic violence is a condition that must be fulfilled to develop healthy personality in any child; parents who ignore this are equally responsible for the bully behaviour of their child at school. Discipline is not meant for schools only as learning at home and learning at school goes hand in hand. If parents stay involved they are more likely to teach their child about approved behaviours and well manners.
Parent power, can result in boosted self-esteem and immense confidence in kids. An average child who receives proper attention and guidance at home is able to perform better in a class room. On the other hand a child with the same potential but with very little or no support at home might struggle to cope with the class room learning. Children thrive well on appreciation and rewards and a genuine interest and appraisal from parents encourages them to reach for skies.
Lastly, there are two approaches that parents take in order to be involved in their child’s education. Some take a back seat and depend on teachers to bring the dream success in their child’s life while others act like tiger-parents and become too decisive and indulgent. Excessive use of ‘parent power’ is not a healthy way of being involved. Setting high expectations make the failures more bitter and discouraging for your child. Parent must find a balance between the two extremes. Parent’s involvement is good but too much or too less can have a negative impact as the saying goes, ‘Children have to be educated, but they have also be left to educate themselves.’ (Ernest Dimnet)