The Importance of Parental Involvement in Education
Teachers work tirelessly to help students learn new skills and concepts at school. But learning shouldn’t stop there. Parental involvement in education is crucial to reinforce new classroom ideas and further develop student growth. Keeping parents and guardians on board can promote positive behavior and strong academic performance during school time. Even the smallest teachable moments at home can make a big impact.
Why Does Parental Involvement in Education Matter?
Studies have shown that increased parental involvement results in fewer behavioral issues and better academic performance. One reason for this is that involved parents are quicker to identify these issues and intervene. They’re also more aware of what their children are currently learning about, which means they’re better able to provide supplementary learning outside the classroom.
This link between parental involvement and student achievement means that getting (and keeping) parents involved is more important than ever. It’s also essential to note that parental involvement doesn’t have to mean sitting down with a textbook or flashcards. There are plenty of ways that parents can extend their child’s education that fit into their daily schedules—and some of them may even answer the age-old kid question “when will I use this in my life?”
The Effects of a Lack of Parental Involvement
Parents are busy and can’t be expected to volunteer for everything, especially those with several children. But a lack of involvement can lead to unresolved behavior issues and difficulty with academic performance. Children need their parents to champion education to reinforce the importance of learning, knowledge, and yes, even homework.
Without this encouragement, children may fail to see how crucial education is to their growth. When students see school as all work and home as all play, they may start procrastinating on homework or even become anxious about going to school.
How to Increase Parental Involvement in Schools
There are a number of ways to encourage parental involvement in education after school hours without breaking the bank or requiring a major time commitment. Check out these easy, affordable, and textbook-free at-home learning ideas!
Letter Learning and Reading Skills
Reading skills are some of the easiest to teach at home because they’re a functional part of everyday life. While we can’t understate the importance of parents reading books with their children, here are a few other ways to incorporate letter learning and reading skills into the day:
I Spy and The Alphabet Game: While in the car or on a walk around your neighborhood, search for each letter of the alphabet. Go in alphabetical order or ask the child to find them as you “spy” them.
Reading in the Kitchen: From finding spices to reading instructions and recipes, practicing reading in the kitchen can help kids understand the importance of knowing how to read. Plus, parents will get a sous chef to help them cook!
Magnetic or Wooden Letter Blocks: As simple as it sounds, sometimes being involved means simply providing kids with toys and tools for open-ended free play. From writing their name to spelling out an entire story on the fridge, toys like letters can provide endless opportunities and allow children to create their own games and activities.
Practicing Math Skills at Home
Math can be a daunting topic when it comes to parental involvement in education. Even the most involved parents can be hesitant to tackle new math methods that they weren’t taught when they were in school. Check out these fun ideas that are easy and useful for kids when learning math at home.
Board Games: Board games with a counting aspect can make math more fun, especially for students who struggle with numbers. Yahtzee, Rummikub, and Uno can all teach number recognition and basic mental math.
Talk Tips: When tipping a waiter or delivery driver, let your child help do the math. If percentages are too complex, have them help you type in the numbers on a phone or calculator or represent the situation with blocks to help them divide up the total and determine the tip. This task not only sharpens children’s number skills but is also a life skill they’ll use for years to come.
Math in the Kitchen: From counting the number of people for dinner and setting the table to helping measure while cooking or baking, there are endless opportunities for math in the kitchen. Practice fractions by doubling a recipe together—and then share the treat you’ve made!
Science & Social Studies Skills At Home
While a homemade volcano or crazy experiment can make you the coolest parent on the block, there are plenty of ways to teach science without making a mess.
Create a Neighborhood Map: To practice navigational and directional skills, help your child create a map of their neighborhood. Include landmarks like your house, friends’ houses, playgrounds, or anything else meaningful to your child.
If you want to take the activity further, pace your neighborhood to create a key, and then use your map to create a scavenger hunt with instructions like “40 paces forward and 10 paces left”. This teaches not only how to read a map, but how to follow directions accurately.
Backyard Treasure Hunt: Have children search out in the yard or garden for rocks, insects, and animals. Take pictures and collect the rocks, then help them research what they’ve found using books or the Internet.
Go Somewhere New: Brainstorm a list of places the child would like to travel. Look them up on Google Earth and explore them together. Talk about differences in their geography, culture, climate, and more!