Last week, I came across a blog post called Why Your Teacher Is Asking for 45 Glue Sticks, and I loved it. You see, last year, I think I bought about 300 pencils for my students to use, and I do not believe I had many left. Where did they go? I’m not quite sure really. I just know that we had to have them, and that’s just one item. We also used tons of post it notes, highlighters (in all colors to color code information), dry erase pens, and so much more. Well this post got me thinking about how parents support their kids, and about other ways they can help us make this a phenomenal year. It will be, right? So, here are just a few thoughts I have on parental involvement. I hope you find these tips helpful as nothing is more important than helping your child be successful from the beginning and throughout his/her educational journey.
Make Expected and Unexpected Appearances at School
Children want and need to know that school is a high priority to you, and when they feel this, the level of concern for their work, their effort in class, and their behavior is raised. They want YOU to catch them doing well. If they know you are coming, of course they are at their best, but we need that all the time. Plus, this gives you an opportunity to see how your child is learning and what is expected for his/her grade level. Drop in lunch dates are always lots of fun and only take 20-25 minutes of time. In fact, if you have an interest in tutoring, you might even check about running a lunch bunch book club.
Ask Your Child’s Teacher if he/she Needs Your Help
A teacher’s job is challenging and exhausting. Most days, teachers barely get a bathroom break or lunch, and there are always materials to cut out, work to display, or most importantly, children who need tutoring. If you have the time, there is always room for you to help in some way. This too shows your child that his/her education is valuable, and just think how helping a young child read will make you feel.
Take a Moment to Review Papers with Your Child
Have you ever gone through a child’s backpack and found bundles of papers in a wad from three months ago? Most likely those papers came out of your child’s desk after a classroom desk cleaning. Sadly, the review time was lost because the work is so old. If you make a routine of going over checked work together, then you will get an opportunity to reinforce great effort and achievement and correct errors. Plus, there are often very important messages sent home that you may miss! If you do not see papers, be sure to ask your child’s teacher. There may be an issue to resolve.
When your child is working on homework, guide him/her, but do not correct every error he/she makes.
It is pretty easy to see when a parent watches over homework and when the child is working independently without the parent around. Believe it or not, some parents believe that doing the child’s homework for them is helpful. Sadly, it means the child misses out on the necessary practice. When your child has homework, supervise, but with some distance to allow your child to figure it out on his/her own when possible. If the child truly needs you to model it for him/her, then give some direction, but again, do not do it for him/her. Kids do need supervision with homework though because some children need help to stay on task. Without supervision, some will sit forever and not start. That just frustrates everyone. If you find your child is completely lost with the work, then let the teacher know so that he/she can correct the errors and help. Keeping a regular homework routine
helps your child build stamina and helps him/her work out the kinks with skills he/she is learning.
Make Reading a Routine for the Whole Family
Want the most growth possible for your child this year? Of course you do! If that’s the case, let him/her see you reading, writing, and doing math, and set aside time where all electronics are turned off and everyone reads. Can’t do that? Then, make sure books are carried along wherever you go so you are prepared for reading at any time such as when you’re at the doctor’s office, while you wait in the drive thru line, or when you’re traveling around town on errands. Every minute counts, and if you challenge each other on the number of books you can read this year, you will see that your expectations will be far exceeded. By next summer, that routine will be in place, and Summer Slide will NOT be an issue for your child.
Have a wonderful back to school, and I hope that your child blossoms this year. (and I hope the same for my own too. 🙂 For more thoughts on Parental Involvement, check out this freebie I put together last year. Teachers might print and keep it handy, but parents might see ways to get involved too. I like to post it outside of my classroom by the door. Parents see it each time they visit.