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Helping Your Child Succeed | Children’s success in distance education depends on active parental involvement

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HAGÅTÑA — In study after study from leading research universities such as Harvard and Stanford, researchers have discovered that in order for children to perform well in school and succeed academically, parents have to be actively involved in their child's education.

Furthermore, these studies have discovered that parents’ involvement in their children’s education is the most important factor for academic success.

In a time of PCOR1 school closures, parental involvement is more important than ever. Here are some of the findings of major research into parental involvement reported by 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 — and the schools they go to are better.
  • The family makes critical contributions to student achievement from preschool through high school. A home environment that encourages and supports learning is more important to student achievement than income, education level or cultural background.
  • Reading achievement is more dependent on learning activities in the home than is math or science. Reading aloud to younger children is the most important activity that parents can do to increase their child's chance of reading success. Requiring older children to read at least one book of their choosing per month improves vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension. Talking to children about books and stories read to them also supports reading achievement.
  • 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.
  • Creating a study area in the home that is well lighted and has ample supplies is important for children learn new material and to be able to complete their assignments. In addition to a study area, children should follow a set schedule of daily school activities even though they are at home. Having a set schedule keeps children in school mode where they are more open to learning at home.
  • When children and parents talk regularly about school, children perform better academically. These talks show children that their parents interested in and place importance on what they are learning in school.
  • Positive results of parental involvement include improved student achievement, reduced absenteeism, improved behavior, higher student interest in education, and a more positive student attitude towards school and education.

Unfortunately, with today’s hectic lifestyle, many parents feel that they do not have the time to be actively involved. The good news is that no matter how little time you have, you can be a part of your child's education because the term parent involvement includes several different forms of participation in education and with the schools. Parents can support their children's schooling by providing encouragement, arranging for appropriate study time and space, modeling desired behavior (such as reading for pleasure), monitoring student work daily, actively tutoring their children at home, reading to them, and limiting T.V. viewing on school nights. They can also discuss their children's progress with teachers whose emails are available on each school’s website. Or, they can simply ask their children, "How was school today?" every day, and asking for two examples of two successes or challenges. By asking the question daily, children will get a clear message that their schoolwork is important to you, and you expect them to learn.

The research overwhelmingly demonstrates that parental involvement in children's learning is positively related to achievement, and the more intensively parents are involved in their children's learning, the more achievement occurs. This has been found true for all types of parental involvement in children's learning and for students of all ages. While some parents and families can be involved in a child's education in many ways, others may only have time for one or two activities. Whatever the level of involvement parents can have, they should be consistent and stick with it because it will make an important difference in their child's life.

Elizabeth Hamilton, M.E., MA, is a teacher with 31 years of professional experience. You can write to her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your questions or comments.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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