Ways to Stay Involved in Your Child’s Education
After having taught in the classroom for many years, I know that there’s a hesitancy for parents to get involved. They worry that they’ll get roped into running the PTA or suddenly be in charge of planning the Halloween party. While both of those things can be wonderful; if you don’t have time for them, they can quickly become an added stress.
Or the opposite- parents worry that they will be in the classroom too much and the teacher will get bothered by it.
Don’t worry about either one… you are your child’s biggest advocate & you need to do what works for you.
I understand their concern, but there are a lot of ways that parents can stay involved in their child’s education without worrying about overstepping their boundaries and without committing to big projects or a lot of time.
How to help in your child’s school and with their education:
Volunteering in the classroom is a great way to stay in-the-know about what’s going on in your child’s classroom. Not only will teachers appreciate your help, kids usually love when their parents are part of the classroom activities. Don’t worry if you’re not sure what to do, your child’s teacher will have plenty of things she needs help with!
Teachers often have volunteer sign-up sheets during back-to-school or meet-the-teacher nights too. Check your school district’s website for information on how to volunteer. Many districts now require state clearances and fingerprinting in order to volunteer in the classroom.
When I was teaching, one of my favorite ways to help parents stay connected to their child during the school day was to invite them in as guest readers. I would schedule a guest reader once a week and keep it a surprise so that the kids never knew whose parent would be showing up that day.
It typically takes about an hour to be a guest reader, so it’s not a huge time commitment. Sometimes guest readers can also be scheduled to correspond to parents’ work schedules and lunch times. If your child’s teacher doesn’t have a guest reader program, don’t be afraid to suggest it to her!
If your child’s school allows it, visiting during lunch is a fun way to connect with your child and their friends. Be prepared to be the center of attention and laugh a lot. Kids are funny! My friend, Deanna, had a rule: each time she ate with her child, they had to pick a NEW friend. By the end of the year, she had met each one of the classmates.
Assisting with Classroom Projects
Teachers work on things after school and weekends, so an offer to help is always welcome. Ask your child’s teacher what you can take off her hands, and you’ll have a list of everything from cutting out bulletin board letters to laminating artwork to fixing broken books. These easy tasks are perfect for doing at home after the kids have gone to bed, so you don’t even need to go into the classroom. Better yet… ask your child to help you with these little jobs. 🙂
Not only do teachers work during their time off, they also buy a lot of the supplies they use in the classroom with their own money. They usually have a “wish list” of things that they need for science experiments and projects that they would be happy to pass along to a willing volunteer. Don’t worry about spending your own money, because teachers always need help with collecting free things like cardboard tubes and other recycled materials.
The more you volunteer at your child’s school and classroom, the better it will be for your child’s success. The value you place on education will help shape how your child perceives school. He’s looking to you to see how important it is!