Island Academics

An educational column for parents and students

by Local School Officials

Parental Involvement Fundamental to Education

By Benjamin Biddle, GHS Headmaster

Parent involvement is crucial to the success of a child’s education and to making the school experience all that it can be. Not only is a committed parent body a huge boon to the school environment (assisting with projects around campus, helping teachers in their classrooms, tutoring, reading to younger students, chaperoning field trips, volunteering at fundraisers, participating in the PTO), parents who engage with their child’s schooling also encourage their child to see school in a more central, more positive light.



Consider these findings from the National Education Association:  

– When parents are involved in their children’s education at home, they do better in school. And when parents are involved in school, children go farther in school.

– The family makes critical contributions to student achievement from preschool through high school. A home environment that encourages learning is more important to student achievement than income, education level or cultural background.

– Reading aloud to children is the most important activity that parents can do to increase their child’s chance of reading success. Talking to children about books and stories read to them also supports reading achievement.

– When children and parents talk regularly about school, children perform better academically.

– Three kinds of parental involvement at home are consistently associated with higher student achievement: actively organizing and monitoring a child’s time; helping with homework; and discussing school matters.
The earlier in a child’s educational process parent involvement begins, the more powerful the effects. Many parents, however, do not quite know how to help their children with their education — and many parents are of course busy with their own work and responsibilities. The key is to do what you can. Below are ideas that have been proven in study after study to accelerate learning; even if you only have time to see to one or two of these suggestions, be consistent with your effort and you will have a significant impact on your child’s life.  

– Establish a daily family routine. Provide time and a quiet place to study. Also, assign responsibility for household chores and be firm about bedtime.

– Keep track of out-of-school activities. Set limits on TV watching and arrange for after-school activities and supervised care.

– Set an example for the value of learning and hard work. Communicate through questioning and conversation — and demonstrate that achievement comes from self-discipline.

– Recognize and encourage special talents. Inform friends and family about successes.
At the least, show interest in your child’s progress, help with homework and stay in touch with teachers. The more you care about your child’s education, the more your child will care to succeed.