Educational consultant Ashley Hill works with parents on the importance of being actively involved in their child's education. Hill encourages parents to talk with their kids about their day at school. Ask questions about classes, homework assignments and upcoming tests. Armed with your child's daily feedback, you can now talk to the teacher to get his or her perspective on your child's education.
Parent-teacher conferences enable parents to get an assessment of how their child is performing in school, says Hill. If your school does not have regularly scheduled parent-teacher conferences or school open houses, request one from your child's teacher.
Many teachers welcome help from parents during the school day, especially in the primary grades. You may be asked to read to the children or do crafts with them. Or you may find that you can contribute by helping the teacher with cutting, stapling, photocopying and other tasks that take up valuable teaching time.
Mother-of-four Anne Fenske served as room mother, joined the PTA/PTO and took on volunteer teaching assignments. "It would vary from school to school and year to year and included things like the Picture Lady program in which we taught lessons on fine art to students once a month."
Throughout their 13 years of school, your kids will be involved in any number of school and extra-curricular activities. You, too, can participate by attending sporting events, band concerts, plays, spelling bees, academic decathalons, art shows, field trips and countless other school-related functions.
You may find yourself chaperoning a school dance or a class trip to a museum. Perhaps your love of sports will lead you to help out on the sidelines or behind the scenes with meals or uniforms. You can lend a hand to much-needed fundraisers by selling, collecting money, organizing and distributing.
The school board, that is. "The highlight of meaningful involvement came from being elected to the school board," says Fenske. "The types of input and the decisions were far-reaching and long-lasting and impacted my children, their friends and the community for years to come."
Jacqueline Edelberg, author of How to Walk to School: Blueprint for a Neighborhood School Renaissance, joined seven other moms to turn their urban neighborhood's "underutilized and struggling school into one of Chicago's best, virtually overnight." See their story on You Tube.
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