What's the biggest factor in your child's school success?
It's important to be involved in your child's school. Whether you have an hour a week or just an hour a month to spare, the time you give will not only help the school or teacher, but it tells your child that his or her education is important to you.
Children whose parents take the time to be involved usually do better at school. They work harder because they sense it's important to their parents. Also Mom or Dad has a better idea how to help with studying and homework because they're familiar with the classroom, the teacher, and what's being taught. Being in the school also allows parents to have an influence on students other than their own children, instill values, and speak to school personnel about troubling issues.
Whether you are at home or work outside the home, there are ways you can help. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Xerox tests and worksheets. This frees the teachers and office staff for more important jobs.
2. Staple together papers that go home with the students. Stapling 25 sets of papers per class can take up a lot of valuable time.
3. Stock the teacher's boxes with memos, flyers to go home with their students, and other papers they need.
4. Offer to decorate the front hallway. You can put up seasonal displays, and information about school events, Red Ribbon Week, D.A.R.E., and sports events. You could also ask teachers for student work to display.
5. Take photos of school events, field trips, and life around the school. Put together a bulletin board displaying those. Students will enjoy seeing themselves.
6. Take charge of the soup labels and box tops for education. Cutting and counting those is an overwhelming job for an overly busy teacher or office staff member. If your school doesn't take part in these programs, get the information and present it at a PTO meeting.
7. Take part in fundraisers. Help count money, tally orders, and figure out prizes.
8. Organize a school clean up day to pick up trash, repair or paint playground equipment, fix up the grounds, weed and mulch outside garden beds, and make minor repairs to the classrooms.
9. Take your talents into the classroom. If you can draw, offer to teach a weekly or monthly lesson to your child's class. If you're a writer, hold an in-class seminar or talk about your work. If you're a computer whiz, take your computer into your child's classroom and teach them or offer to teach computer lab once a month. You could also design a school or class webpage. If you're a carpenter, build a small stage or treehouse for your child's classroom.
10. At the middle school or high school level, offer to hold an enrichment class in your area of expertise before school, during lunch hour, or after school.
11. Host a teacher luncheon once a grading period. Send home notices with students asking them to send in food on a certain day. If that's too much, have a donut or muffin day for the teachers and staff.
12. Help with lunchroom or playground duty. This is a good way to get to know the students, meet your children's friends, and have an impact on many children at one time. A smiling face and friendly attitude will draw them to you.
13. Organize a pen pal program. Do you have nieces or nephews in another town or state? Pair off students in that classroom with students in your child's classroom. Letters could be written once a month and sent to the school to be distributed to each student.
14. Grade tests or check homework assignments for a teacher so they can spend their time with the students.
15. Tutor a student who is struggling. This will help the student improve and free the teacher from trying to work with a child who can't stay up with the class.
16. Read to the students. Dress up like a character in the book, give background information on the author, and make the book come alive for the students. It'll encourage them to read it again later on their own. Consider doing hands-on activities such as reading "Stone Soup" and having the each child in the classroom bring in vegetable to add to your own stone soup. Cook it in crockpots during the day to be shared at the end of the day as a follow-up activity.
17. Cut out and paste together projects for a teacher. Getting projects ready for the younger grades can be very time consuming.
18. Find out what special supplies teachers will need during the year such as baby food jars, plastic butter tubs, strawberry cartons and so on. Make up a notice and send it home with students asking parents to save and send in those supplies. Organize them until they're needed.
19. Call the local paper about special events taking place so that they can send a photographer and represent your school in the newspaper.
20. Support the teachers and send them notes of encouragement. Everyone needs a boost once in a while!
What ways have you been involved at your child's school?