Back-to-school season can be a chaotic time of year. With students getting back to classes in the time of COVID-19, it probably feels more stressful than ever. While the pandemic leaves many of us unsure of what will unfold in the 2020 academic year, there are still things parents can do to help ensure student success.
School-Family Partnerships Improve Student Learning
Some of the benefits of teachers and families partnering to support students include better attendance, higher grades, and greater motivation to take advanced courses. Students with involved parents also tend to complete more homework and have higher enrollment in educational opportunities after high school. And the benefits don’t end with academic achievement. Students report higher levels of self-esteem and motivation when they have parents and teachers who work together.
How to Get Involved
There are plenty of ways for parents to get involved that don’t require taking a trip to school. Here are five things you can do to support your child’s education, regardless of whether they are learning in a schoolroom, an online virtual classroom, or a newly created format!
1) Participate in school orientation and parent organization meetings.
Get to know your teen’s teachers and school administrators, including the principal and guidance counselor early in the year. Whether through virtual meetings or in-person, these events serve as another way to connect with them and other families in the school community. Contact your school to see what is being organized. At many schools, parents meet regularly to discuss school issues. Join the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) or PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) to stay informed and work with other families towards school improvements. If you can’t attend the meetings, have the notes sent to you or check your school’s district’s website.
2) Ask your teen’s teachers for their preferred ways to communicate.
In the current climate, teachers have a lot on their plates, and time is at a premium. If you want to communicate most effectively with them about your child, you’ll want to determine how each teacher prefers to communicate. Ask whether phone calls, emails, or texts are the best way to stay up-to-date on progress or talk if a problem arises. Don’t be afraid to speak up for your adolescent’s needs.
3) Promote reading.
Helping your tweens and teens develop a love of reading is one of the most important things you can do to help them succeed both in school and in life. Model this vital style of learning by reading books yourself. Take it one step further by reading the same book and discussing it together afterward — a family book club of sorts!
4) Help manage the homework process.
Let your teen know you value learning and that homework is a priority. Establish a special place for them to study and encourage them to stick to a homework schedule. If your child needs it, help them stay organized, and ask about daily assignments. Notice and praise effort, especially for assignments that your children find challenging. Watch as doing homework becomes a successful habit.
5) Encourage active learning.
Young people need to be encouraged to ask questions, solve problems, and explore their interests. Have regular conversations about what they are learning. Listen and ask them questions about what they tell you. When you encourage this type of learning at home, your teen’s participation and interest in school may increase.
Communicating Your Values Makes a Difference
While the reality is that not all schools have the same resources, parental involvement can make a real difference at schools everywhere. Whether your school has all it needs or deserves much more, parents’ participation can help schools make the most of existing resources and make a difference to both your family and the broader school community. You motivate young people to be resilient when faced with challenging educational tasks by communicating your values and attitudes regarding education and the expectations you hold, even with the new norms in place due to schooling during a pandemic.
Supporting Your Teen’s School Success
When parents are involved in schools and support learning, young people are more successful. Click through to review benefits of getting involved with your child’s education.
The Benefits of School-Parent Partnerships
When teachers and families partner together, teens develop important social and emotional skills and have better academic performance. Look for ways to partner with your teen’s school. This may include volunteering, meeting teachers and administrators, or supporting school events.
Provide Support at Home
You can be involved in your teen’s education from home. Talk regularly with your teen about school and learning. Make it clear you value their education.
Build a Strong Relationship with Your Teen’s Teacher
Meet the teachers in the beginning of the school year. Learn how they best communicate. Share important information that may affect your teen’s school work.
Help Your Teen Manage School Work
This doesn’t mean doing your child’s homework. It means empowering your teen to come up with a routine to effectively complete assignments. It also means helping develop time management and organizational skills. And encouraging healthy eating, sleep, and exercise habits to keep your teen focused and prepared for school.