The busy parents' guide to keeping up with your child’s schoolwork
Are you a parent who works long hours? A single parent? A parent with several children? Or just one of the many busy parents trying to keep up with the demands of everyday life? Busy or not, a child’s schooling is important to every parent. Educational research documents an undeniable connection between parental involvement and a child's academic achievement. We all start out with the intentions to keep on top of what our kids do at school, but life just seems to come crashing in, and we can easily fall behind.
No matter our child’s age, keeping informed about how and what they are doing in school is our duty as parents. But how can a parent keep up? Luckily, technology has provided tools to help us. Here are a few tips that can help make staying in in the loop much easier and less time consuming.
- Many school websites now post the weekly newsletter. Save the link to favorites on your computer and take two minutes to check it out once a week. Most newsletters go out on Fridays. Mark your calendar to remind you to check it. Or better yet, put the link on your computer calendar as a repeating item and you will automatically go to it once a week. Make note on your calendar of any upcoming events or requirements found in the newsletter.
- Some teachers use a homework hotline or a class website; save it to favorites and make it a repeating “meeting” item so you will be prompted to check it weekly.
- Some schools also use a program called Schoolology, which allows students to access assignments, take quizzes and get immediate feedback. A parent can be given a password to access this as well. These are most often available in middle and high schools. Ask your child's school if this is available.
- Consider volunteering at your kid’s school. You can learn a lot from just one day at your child's school. When your child tells you something about his school day, you will better understand him if you have experienced a day there. Time spent now will save you time later.
- DoDEA schools use an internet based program called Gradespeed. This program provides parents with a password they can use to pull up their children's grades anytime. Attendance can also be pulled up daily. You can even set it to email you if your child’s grades dip below a certain point allowing time for intervention at home before dipping grades become a trend. Some teachers also post assignment information here. Save the link as a favorite on your computer for easy access. Or better yet, post the link as a repeating item on your computer calendar so you only need click on the link and you won't forget to check it.
- Have your child pack his/her backpack in the evenings. You can verbally check off with him/her what he/she has done. An added bonus is a faster morning departure since the pack is ready to go!
- Place a special bin or basket in your home for your children to place notices or forms sent home from school. This way, they are less likely to be found crumbled a week later and can be quickly located when needed.
- Every elementary kid will need a parent to help him work on learning basic math facts. Instead of flash cards, consider having musical CDs of facts in your car. That way you can get that review done with your child while running errands.
- Luckily, the on post Child Youth & School Services Youth Clubs and School Age Care centers offer homework help. CYS Services has dedicated staff available to assist the children with homework. To register contact Parent Central. You can also sign up for youth sports and instructional programs at Parent Central.
- Access a FREE online tutor 24/7. Two kids BOTH with homework troubles at the same time? No worries! Online live human one-on-one tutor support is available to students through Tutor.Com.
- You can request a conference at the school with your child's teacher at any time. Contact the school guidance office to set this up if you feel you are falling behind in understanding what and how your child is doing in school. This is especially helpful if your child has multiple teachers because you can get the scoop from all of them at one meeting.
We can't all be "super parents." (Do they really exist?) However, with a little planning and the use of some great tools, we all can be connected to our children and their schools. Your child will thank you for it (in about 20 years).