“Although parents conscientiously send their children off to school every day and expect them to do well, they can add an important extra ingredient that will boost their children’s success. Parent participation is the ingredient that makes the difference. Parents’ active involvement with their child’s education at home and in school brings great rewards and has can have a significant impact on their children’s child’s lives. According to research studies, the children of involved parents:
- are absent less frequently
- behave better
- do better academically from pre-school through high school
- go farther in school
- go to better schools
Research also shows that a home environment that encourages learning is even more important than parents’ income, education level, or cultural background. By actively participating in their child’s education at home and in school, parents send some critical messages to their child; they’re demonstrating their interest in his/her activities and reinforcing the idea that school is important.
In adolescence, children become more independent and usually don’t want their parents in school. In secondary school, students have to deal with more courses and more teachers in a more impersonal way, so parent involvement, although less direct, is still critical. Parents can participate in events at school, monitor homework, provide experiences and materials that supplement course work, and help children with organizational strategies. Parents can influence their children’s academic progress by encouragement, reinforcement, and modelling. Children learn from their parents’ own learning styles and activities, such as discussions, newspapers and other reading materials, television habits and quests for information and knowledge. When parents contribute effort and time, they have the opportunity to interact with teachers, administrators, and other parents. They can learn first-hand about the daily activities and the social culture of the school, both of which help them understand what their child’s life is like.
The child and the school both benefit, and parents serve as role models as they demonstrate the importance of community participation. In addition to improving academic progress, parental involvement pays off in other significant ways. Numerous studies have shown that parents’ involvement is a protective factor against adolescent tobacco use, depression, eating disorders, academic struggles, and other problems. By staying involved with their child and/or teenager, parents can be a source of support, create a climate for discussing tough issues and serve as role models for responsible and empathic behavior.”
From book: “Involved parents: The hidden resource in their children’s education” by Anita Gurian