You Can Get Involved!Submitted by: Dr. LaTonya Wyche
Submitted by: Dr. LaTonya Wyche
No matter your situation, as a parent, it is imperative that you become involved in your child’s education. Children benefit when their parents are actively involved and engaged in their learning. Glen Olsen and Mary Lou Fuller, the authors of Home-School Relations indicate that when parents become involved in their children’s education, the children achieve better grades, test scores, and attendance. (Olsen, Fuller 2010) It increases your child’s motivation about their education, it also increases their self-esteem and it can certainly prove helpful in ensuring your child stay on track. Every parent wants their child to be successful. Your on-going support and commitment to their success will provide them with the encouragement and motivation to succeed.
No matter how difficult or challenging your situation, you can be involved. Here’s an example of a parent who is currently incarcerated: Shannon is 35 years old and has three children. Their ages are 6, 11, and 14. Shannon will not be released from prison for at least 3 more years. However, during this time, she has dedicated herself to staying involved in her children’s lives and has continued to be actively involved in their education. Shannon is fortunate enough to be able to speak to her children each week. They also mail her a copy of their progress, behavior reports, assignments, study guides, tests. She is very proud of their achievements and cherishes all that they send. Shannon encourages her children to study and work hard in school. She praises them when they earn high marks. She reviews the study guides with them and quizzes them over the phone. Shannon has written comments on progress reports which the children share with their teachers. All of the teachers willingly provide feedback for Shannon and her children mail the feedback to her. This process would not be effective if the children’s father was unwilling to cooperate. Thankfully, their father keeps the line of communication open between the children and their mother. Their father understands the importance of being cooperative and allowing the children to have a positive relationship with their mother even though they are no longer together and she is incarcerated.
Here’s another example. Chris is divorced and has a seven year old daughter. Chris does not have physical custody of her. However, he does have joint custody and his daughter stays with him every other weekend. He is able to meet with his daughter’s teacher and discuss her progress. Unfortunately, he does not have a positive relationship with her mother. He is unable to communicate with her because she refuses to be respectful towards him. Chris says that she is very angry with him for breaking off their relationship and she refuses to be cooperative. She does not share any information with him about their daughter. She often violates their custody agreement and uses their daughter to get back at him for ending their relationship. This is unfortunate and it is an extremely challenging situation. However, Chris has been able to be fully involved in his daughter’s education. Chris was able to do this by seeking the assistance of a family social worker. Chris has not sought the assistance of a lawyer due to financial difficulties. However, he does not allow his financial situation to hinder his abilities to remain involved in his daughter’s education. Chris also met with the principal, teacher, guidance counselor, and social worker at his daughter’s school to discuss his situation. He says that they have all been very helpful and regularly keep him informed of his daughter’s progress. He also volunteers at the school and is an active member of the Parent Teacher Association. Chris says that he has a positive relationship with his daughter and she does not understand why her mother says mean things about him. Chris revealed that he meets with a therapist once a month. He says his therapist has helped him learn how to cope in this situation. He has learned to refrain from reacting to his ex-wife’s antics and to remain calm at all times. Chris says that it is very difficult but has learned that remaining positive is the best way to deal with these challenges. He continues to meet with the family social worker to encourage his ex-wife to be cooperative and adhere to their custody agreements.
I hope that the two situations that I provided prove helpful to you in your endeavors to become more involved in your children’s education. If you would like more information on how to get involved, start by contacting your local social service department for resources. Here’s a few useful links to get you started:
Home School Relations by Glenn Olsen and Mary Lou Fuller (2010)
Dr. LaTonya Wyche is a mother of three children. (Jada is eleven years old and twin sons, Ezra and Micah are 16 years old.) She has been an educator in the Coastal Virginia area for over 18 years with an interest in helping parents become more involved in their children’s lives when facing challenges.