WHEN parents are involved in their children's education both children and parents are likely to benefit.
Researchers report that parents who participate in their children's schooling frequently:
lEnhance children's self-esteem;
lImprove their children's academic achievement;
lImprove parent-child relationships; and
lHelp develop positive attitudes towards school and a better understanding of the schooling process.
Despite these advantages it is not easy for parents to find time to become involved or to coordinate with schedules for school events.
Some parents perceive a visit to school as an uncomfortable experience, perhaps a holdover from their own school days. Others might have their hands full with a job and other children.
One kind of parental involvement is school-based and includes taking part in parent-teacher conferences and functions, and receiving and responding to written communications from the teacher.
Parents can also serve as volunteers for the library or lunchroom, or as classroom aides.
In one survey almost all teachers reported talking with children's parents - either in person, by phone or on open school nights - and sending notices home.
These methods, along with requests for parents to review and sign homework, were most frequently used to involve parents. Parents can participate in their children's schools by joining parent teacher associations and getting involved in decision-making about the educational services their children receive.
Another kind of involvement is home-based and focuses on activities that parents can do with their children at home or on the teacher's visits to the child's home.
It is important for teachers to keep the lines of communication open. This involves not only sending regular notes but also obtaining information from parents. Phone calls are a greatly under-used technique for keeping in touch.
A teacher usually calls a parent to report a child's inappropriate behaviour or academic failure. But teachers can use phone calls to let parents know about positive behaviour and to get their input.
If teachers accustom parents to receiving regular calls just for keeping in touch, it is easier to discuss problems when they occur.
Teachers can encourage parents and children to do these activities together, and can focus on the opportunities that the activities provide for learning.
Busy parents can include children in such everyday activities as preparing a meal or grocery shopping.
Teachers can also suggest that parents set aside a time each day to talk with their children about school.
Parents and children can discuss current events using teacher-provided questions. Teachers often suggest the activity of reading aloud .
Reading to children is an important factor in increasing their interest and ability in reading. Teachers can also encourage children to read to parents. - From Eric Digests