The Latest
April 24, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

Back to School: Involvement at Home is KEY

Swapping ideas for snacks, designing class T-shirts, supervising lunch and volunteering matters, but do you know what works best for your kids?

"What sound does the "k" make?" a mom asks her kindergarten-age child.
"K-k-k like kitty!" her little one responds.
"And what are other 'k' words we know?" her mom asks?
"Kite!" the litte one replies without hesitation. "Mommy, can we fly a kite?!"
All of this enthusiasm is nothing new for this mom. She's been leading her child's education from day one.
"I read to her as a baby and then started learning what I could teach her to eventually get her ready for school," the mom says. "We have a ton of fun together. I use a reading log so we can talk about the books we read  — and she just loves getting a sticker each time we read a book."

Yes, You're Going Back to School, Too
While sounding out letters and learning their sounds is the begining of reading, one major key that holds up along the entire educational route of a kid is a parent's continual interest and presence. Given the limited amount of time a teachers can spend with any one child, mom, dad or both need to be actively involved in their child’s learning for academic success. 
    But why is your involvement so important? The U.S. Department of Education says parents who show interest in their child’s education can spark a stronger enthusiasm in their child to learn as well as leading their child to the reality that learning can be enjoyable as well as rewarding.
    So, how do you go about it?
    In the U.S. Department of Education‘s publication, Helping Your Child Succeed in School, the basics include encouraging your child to read — start early! — and have plenty of reading material in your home; talk to your child about his school day and what he is learning; make routine outings (shopping trips, dining out, going to the park, etc.) an opportunity for learning experiences; monitor and help organize your child’s homework and have a special place for your child to study at home; limit TV and video game time; encourage your child to use the library; help your child learn to use the Internet properly and effectively; encourage your child to be responsible and to work independently; and encourage active learning.

It’s no surprise that homework is a kid’s least favorite part of school. Stacy DeBroff, author of The Mom Book: 4,278 of Mom Central’s Tips For Moms from Moms (Free Press, 2002) and founder of, suggests, “Set a schedule that includes study time for everyone in the house. Don’t allow TV or phone calls during this time. Even when children don’t have homework, make this a time in which reading or extra studying is done. Involve even the youngest children in the house so they get used to the routine.”

John Beaulieu and Alex Granzin, authors of Working Parents Can Raise Smart Kids: The “Time-Starved” Parent’s Guide to Helping Your Child Succeed in School (Parkland Press, 1998), agree: “Set aside a regular, scheduled study time for your child to do his homework assignments. Younger children who may not have homework every day should still have daily study time. They can use this time for related activities that help them practice academic skills, such as reading or writing. Encourage older children (middle school and high school) who don’t have assigned homework on a particular day to use study time for similar activities.”

3 Giant School Success Tips

ESTABLISH A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE TEACHER (S) – Get in there and make sure the teachers know who you are. Basically say, "I want to work with you over the course of the year to make sure my child does well." When you establish that you are at the ready, the teacher will have a higher expectation for your child and work with you to meet it.

ASK GOOD QUESTIONS – Ample evidence shows parental involvement at home increases a child's performance. Avoid the empty question, "How was school?" and change it to "Tell me something interesting you learned in math today," or "What are you doing in science?" Get your child to say, show and share about what he is learning

INSIST ON BED TIME – Make sure kids go to bed on time and come to school on time with homework complete.

Source: National Education Association


About the Author

Susan Swindell Day

Susan Day is the editor in chief for this award-winning publication and all-things Nashville Parent digital creative. She's also an Equity actress, screenwriter and a mom of four amazing kids.