When they think of education, most people focus on the interaction between teachers and students, but parents are another crucial element. When parents work with children and teachers to prioritize education, student outcomes improve, from grades and test scores to mental health.
Importance of Parental Involvement in Education
Parental involvement is more than checking in on homework. Parent engagement includes volunteering at school, cultivating relationships with teachers, and helping students reach their goals.
Parents’ involvement in their children’s education closely correlates to student success. In fact, more than 50 studies have found that students with involved parents have better grades, self-esteem, graduation rates, and attendance, according to Waterford.org.
Studies have also found that parent engagement leads to better attendance. For examples, when teachers and parents engaged with each other through visits, student absences dropped by 20 percent, according to Waterford.org.
Another study found a direct correlation between student test scores and parent involvement. After analyzing high-, medium-, and low-involvement parents, the study found that student test scores increased with involvement, according to Frontiers in Psychology.
Creative Ways Parents Can Encourage Learning at Home
Many parents became actively involved in their students’ education during the COVID-19 pandemic, but effective parent engagement goes beyond troubleshooting Zoom calls with teachers. Additionally, it is important for parents to stay involved as schools reopen and return to normal post-pandemic. Here are seven creative ways parents can encourage learning at home.
1. Learn Math While Cooking
Everyone needs to eat, so why not make it a math lesson? While preparing meals, parents can help put their children’s math skills to work through counting, measuring, and recognizing shapes for younger children. Brookes Publishing also recommends asking children to measure ingredients, count the table settings, and portion out servings. For older children, ask them how the amount of ingredients would differ if a recipe was halved or doubled this will aid in their fraction, division, and multiplication abilities. This gives students a real-world learning experience and allows them to apply the skills they learn at school in a fun way.
2. Read Books
Parental involvement in education can be as simple as parents reading their students’ favorite stories—and it can go beyond a single read. Repetition may help children develop their literacy and vocabulary skills. It also provides children an opportunity to find comfort through familiarity during unpredictable times. Older children can read a story to their parents out loud. This will not only help develop their vocabulary skills, but also their narration and public speaking abilities.
3. Set Up a Writing Center
Organizing a dedicated writing space enables students to explore their creativity. Parents can set up a table with different colored paper, markers, dry-erase boards, and pencils that encourages students to have fun with writing. This area could also double as a study space, providing students a way to get away from distractions.
4. Premier a Play
Supplementing a student’s theater and art education with at-home performances allows them to apply the skills they learn in school. Students can put on a performance for the family either using puppets or performing as the actors themselves. This helps them understand storylines and character development and offers a safe space to explore their theatrical talents. At the end of the show, parents can ask questions about characters, plot, and storytelling techniques to deepen their understanding. Students who are performing in a play at school can pre-perform their role at home or run lines with their parents for practice.
5. Set Up an At-Home Classroom
Establishing a dedicated school space at home can help students feel a sense of normalcy during a pandemic, and provide an additional space for them to go to to study.. Let them choose the materials they want in the space, from multicolored sticky notes to zebra print notebooks—this is their space to be creative and learn. For younger kids, educational toys like counting blocks can also be added. With their favorite school supplies around them, they’ll be more motivated to “go to school,” work on homework, and study after school each day.
6. Organize Assignments
While organizing school assignments may seem less exciting than putting on a play, it’ll help students feel in control. Parents can help their children create an organization system, from different folders to binders with dividers. Having assignments and school papers lined up, so they can find them and complete their homework efficiently will increase academic success, according to Scholastic.
7. Explore Subjects Outside of School
Parents can encourage their students to learn outside of school. If students have an interest in design or computer science, parents can help them find the resources to explore the subject, from articles and books exploring design to websites that teach code. For younger children with an interest in a particular animal, parents can help them research fun facts. Parents can continue to check in on students’ extracurricular learning and monitor their progress and interest.
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