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Parental involvement in academics is more powerful than you think

Caroline Duda is a Senior Marketing Coordinator for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized experiences to accelerate academic achievement.

While your student must maintain responsibility for her schoolwork and academic success, it is key for you, as the parent, to stay involved as well. Here are some prime reasons your involvement could greatly enhance your child's success in school.

At times, earning a competitive GPA or (eventually) securing admission to the college of your student's choice can seem like a quest marked by an infinite number of challenges. Truth be told, most academic achievement begins with one factor: parental involvement. Parental involvement is powerful, and it affects school-age children in a number of ways. Below, for example, are four reasons parent involvement can be key to academic success. As the new school year begins, keep them in mind for the best results.

Education occurs outside the classroom and the school

Despite seven-hour (or longer) school days, children spend a great deal of time outside formal classrooms. In 1990, R.M. Clark stated that 70 percent of students' waking hours occurred elsewhere. While this statistic does not reflect recent movements to lengthen the school day, its sentiment holds true; children learn in environments other than the classroom, and they do so often. Your emphasis on academic exploration, as well as your focus on responsibilities like homework, can mean the difference between reinforcing a math skill on a Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. or watching television.

Attitude is a key factor in academic achievement

Do you often hear phrases like, "I don't want to do my homework right now," or "I hate math"? How do you respond? Do you allow your student to focus on other activities after school, or do you prioritize your child's schoolwork? When a parent values her student's education, the student is more likely to follow suit. Rather than saying, "I hate math, too," teach your child to approach challenges with a positive attitude. Sit down beside her and assist her with the homework she is keen to avoid. Your student will follow the example you set.

...as are clear parental expectations

Sometimes, parents who fail to set academic expectations for their students do so out of fear of overwhelming their children. Unfortunately, it sends a different message that your student may hear, namely, "Mom doesn't care about school, so why should I?" The simple act of identifying goals with your child can signify your interest in and involvement with her education. Encourage your student to continually push for new heights, whether those heights are a B in Chemistry or detailed notes for every lecture in American Literature. Your "Great job!" may be motivation enough to unlock hidden potential.

Involved parents can better recognize potential issues

Even the brightest children struggle from time to time. Parents who review projects and homework assignments, who encourage academic exploration outside school hours, who attend parent-teacher conferences, etc. are ideally positioned to note issues as they arise, instead of some time later, when they may be more difficult to correct. These issues may be academic, behavioral or social in nature. Foster open communication with your student's teacher, and speak with your child often about her experience at school. A question as simple as, "How was today?" can shed a great deal of light on her perception of her education.

For more tips and strategies to help your student succeed in school, visit www.varsitytutors.com.

Photo credit: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/360/Getty Images
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