Get/Stay Engaged in Your Child’s Education

It’s that time of year again!  Homework, exams, science projects, essays and the seemingly endless list of resources and supplies children need for a successful education.  How do busy single parents balance work and taking care of their families with the overwhelming but necessary responsibility of taking an active involvement in their child’s education?  Busy single parents who work full time and have multiple children often find themselves at wits end.  They often count themselves lucky just to survive each school/work week from weekend to weekend.  Guilt becomes a familiar emotion as the school year slides by with well intentioned thoughts but unfulfilled actions of being more involved this year, being more active in education, joining the PTA, joining your child on at least one field trip, volunteering for at least one book fair or bake sale, attending more athletic events, attending open house, parent teacher conferences, school board meetings and the list goes on and on. Where does one find the time to do all of this?

First of all, RELAX.  Stop driving yourself crazy.  You don’t have time to do all of this but you can find a way to do some of this.  Today’s busy single parent must find creative ways to stay involved in their child’s education.  Research shows that the most successful children are those that come from homes in which parents are involved and supportive of their education.  Here are some tips for ways you can stay involved:

1. Support begins in the home.  Show your child that you support education by turning your home into a good place to learn.  Set up a study center.  Make sure it is well lit and stocked with an assortment of school supplies.  Set aside a specific time for homework, study and reading time.  Choose a time that works for everyone – when things are quiet and there are few distractions.  Turn the radio and television OFF.  Use this time to write letters, read, organize your bills, relax in peace or other quiet activities.

2. Attend school functions.  You may not be able to make every meeting at your child’s school but make your best effort to attend at least one Open House per school year.  Try to schedule parent teacher conferences at a time that is convenient for both you and the teacher.  You may be able to meet before or after school if your work schedule does not permit conferences during the day.  Visit your child’s class as your schedule permits. Lend your talent to be involved behind the scenes if time does not allow you to be present for school events.  Support fund-raisers by either purchasing or helping your child sell.

3. Be creative.  Traditional means of communication may not work in every instance or for every person. Take advantage of the available technology to stay in touch. Try email to contact your child’s teacher.  It is often difficult to converse with teachers during the school day but teachers may get a break during the day or before or after school to respond to an email.  Ask your child’s teacher which method they prefer for staying in touch.  Stay abreast of school activities by keeping tabs on the school website and posting the school calendar both at home and at work.  

4.   Be involved. Quiz your child for tests.  Read progress reports. Review homework.  Ask questions.  Know your child’s teachers name(s).  Even during the Middle and High School years, it is important to be involved in what is going on. Talk to your child about what is going on.  Ask about their favorite subjects.  Know who their friends are.  Talk positively about school.  Model appropriate behavior and teach by example. 

Show your child how much you care. It really does make a difference.

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Get/Stay Engaged in Your Child’s Education