6 Reasons Why You Are Not Involved In Your Kids Education

And Why You Should Get Involved Anyway

Phil Boorman/Cultura/Getty Images

Parental Involvement? Isn't that something for stay at home moms only? Think you won't fit in at the PTA/PTO meetings? Do you think there is no way you can get more involved with your child's education, that you just don't have the time or the right skills? Stop doubting yourself like that! Researchers have been saying for years that parental involvement leads to improved student success for all students, not just children of volunteers.

1. You Are Busy, Really Busy  

Parents today are busy. There are many single parent households, and in households that have two parents, both parents work outside the home. Daily demands require getting the children up and making sure they get to school, ensuring adequate before or after school care as needed, work and career, meal preparation and all other household tasks, and much more. How are today's busy parents supposed to "get involved" with their children's school on top of all this?

Just remember, you don't need to do everything. Being involved includes being aware of your child's schoolwork and other activities like fundraising, chaperoning, coaching or political advocacy when you can. Find quick ways to keep up on how your child's school work is progressing. Read emails or school newsletters to find out about volunteer opportunities that you can do. By staying abreast of your child's school progress and pitching in, even just a little bit, when you can you send a clear message to your child that school is important and make a valuable contribution to the school community as a whole.

2. You Think The Pros - Teachers and Administrators - Got All Of This, Totally.  

Maybe you are intimidated by all of the fancy educator lingo that you overheard teachers using with other teachers. Maybe you come from a background where school teachers had total authority during the day, and parent input wasn't appreciated where you grew up.

Maybe you know that teachers are professionals, and believe that means you should step out of their way to let them do their job.

Research has shown again and again that parental involvement increases student learning. The teachers may be the ones designing and giving the assignments, but your role as a parent gives you the ability to make sure homework is completed. By getting involved, you are not taking over the teacher's role, you are enhancing your child's educational experience. Whether you are a PTA member or classroom volunteer, when you come into the school you bring a greater sense of what your family is like with you. Teachers and others who work at the school can see first hand what your unique culture and family values are all about. Parents bring to schools what teachers cannot bring into the schools - a sense of the greater community outside of the school walls. School children learn that adults value education enough to come to support their school. Teachers learn more about the families they serve, and can tailor instruction to get the best results.

3. You Think You Have Nothing To Offer  

It is easy for parents to dismiss or overlook skills they do have that could be useful in the school environment. All parents can get involved in some way at their child's school. You don't have to be a math whiz or a reading expert. The fact that you have been supervising your own children since they were born shows you can probably do just fine as a field trip chaperone, homework supervisor, carnival booth attendant, and dozens of other tasks that come along. Stop doubting your abilities. Parenting is a tough job that uses many different skills. You have a lot to offer.

4. You Don't Know What To Do  

Feel intimidated or like you just stepped into a different world when you walk past the school doors? Yes, your child's school may be another new place with new names and faces for you to get to know. School teachers and staff often hear during their training about how important parents are to creating a successful school environment. If you know you want to get more involved, but don't know what to do start, you can start by letting your child's school teacher know you would like to help out or by contacting your school's PTA/PTO.

5. Your Child Has Been In Trouble At School  

Even children of the best parents sometimes act out and get into trouble at school. Do not worry that your children's teachers are not going to want you around to help out at the school or school related activities. Your involvement will show your child that school is important to you, and send a message to your child they should value it as well. This might even help alleviate some of the bad behavior. By getting more involved with your child's school you will also learn more about your child's day. It can help bring you a little closer to your child when you understand and have first had knowledge of what your child does and is expected to do all day. If you are still worried about being judged by the teacher and the school staff, perhaps all they need is the chance to get to know you better.

6. You Are Worried You Will End Up Doing Everything

Are you afraid of going to a PTA/PTO meeting because you think you might get elected to lead it for the whole year, or be coerced into taking on more than you can possibly handle? It is true that there is always work to be done at schools and with the many groups that support schools. If you are concerned about this, be clear with yourself about how much time you really have to offer. Be prepared to explain to others that you are giving the time that you can. Small acts by multiple people build up into a huge effect. Large school events are usually made up of multiple volunteer hours, with a few volunteers putting in regular hours and many volunteers doing much shorter activities. Delegating tasks is a key skill of successful volunteer coordinators - if you are someone they delegate a task that only takes a small amount of time to, you are still important in making sure all of the work gets accomplished.

The truth is you don't have to be June Cleaver or Superwoman to be involved in your child's education. Simply be who you are. Today's families are a diverse mix. Every parent has something to offer. Fathers are getting more involved in schools, setting great examples of how men can support education. Single parents and parents from a  wide variety of cultural and social backgrounds each bring their own individual abilities into the school environment when they get involved. You are as unique as today's school students, and you bring an understanding of your families world that only a parent can offer.

Continue Reading