parent involvement

While I was teaching, I was surprised to find how many parents (for whatever reason) weren’t helping their children with their school work, and quite a few of these parents were blaming the teacher’s for their child’s poor grades in school. The teachers, on the other hand, blamed the parents for not being more involved. After all, it’s very difficult to teach a subject and make sure that all of their students, especially math and science, to more than 25 students.

Teachers are well aware of this epidemic. They try their best to help teach a national class average of 25 students in 2015 (According to the U.S. Department of Education), and that number has been growing. If you’re a math teacher, you know how hard it is to help teach math to 25 students, let alone 30+, especially if they just don’t like it.

I often compare this to the idiom, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it.” That saying holds true to some students. They just don’t care about school, and educators try their best to engage them in a way to get them to enjoy the subject. That’s primarily the reason why I have, “Education begins with a desire to learn.” You can’t learn if you simply don’t want to learn. It’s as simple as that. Learning may come easier for some students, but I’ve seen A students get Cs and C students get As because of the effort that they put in.

I decided to conduct a study and find out if there was a relationship between parent involvement and their children’s grades. Although it was a small sample size, I found that there is at least a 20 grade point difference between students whose parent’s were involved in their child’s school work and those students whose parents were not.

Perhaps a reason why these students don’t care about their school work stems from their home environment, and that’s just my opinion. For example, if your mom and dad didn’t care if you were doing your homework, studied for tests, etc., then why should you care? It’s not like they would punish you. Also, if they couldn’t help you, then why should you bother asking them for help? What would you say?

“Yea, I have homework mom and dad, but you can’t help me, and I’m already frustrated, so I don’t care if I finish it. What do you want me to do? You can’t figure it out, so how do you expect me to?”

Before you bite my head off regarding the above statement, please read on! Also, I’m not saying that it’s always mom’s and dad’s fault, but according to my study, it matters a great deal if you at least try to keep them on track!

The Survey

I conducted a simple survey in the school district that I worked for several years ago. Out of 100 students that I asked to participate, approximately 70 agreed to do my survey. I asked them if their parents helped them with their schoolwork such as making sure that they did their homework, studied, and helped them when needed. Afterwards, I asked them what their overall grades were in math, science, history, english, and elective classes like gym and music. The results of my survey are shown in the bar graph below.

 

The red bar represents parents who weren’t active with their child’s performance at school. Some reasons they gave was that they were too busy to help their children, too lazy to care what their children did at school, or whether they simply didn’t discipline or monitor their children’s progress at school. Not all parents are good parents, just like how some teachers aren’t good teachers. There’s always going to be both good and bad things everywhere. Regardless of the reasons, these students averaged a C-, or a 70. Some failed while others passed, but no one reached above a B+, or an 89.

The blue bar shows the relationship between strong parent involvement with their children, whether they helped them with their homework, helped them study, or made sure that they were doing the work, these students’ grades averaged an A-, or a 90! None of these students failed, and no one reached below 70. That’s not to say that there are students in this category who fail a class or get below a 70 in another. Remember, everything was averaged out.

Become More Involved

Parenting can be stressful, tough, and time consuming, but if your child isn’t doing well in school and you aren’t for whatever reason helping them, then please, for their future, try to become more involved and help them with their school work. It is clear that if you do not help them, keep them focused, and show them how important it is to do their best in school, then they won’t be motivated to do so. It’s also possible that they may even develop bad habits in school that will stick with them for the rest of their lives.

You must help them with their homework, make sure that they understand the material for the next day, help them study for tests, and encourage them to do better in school. Some parents offer their children rewards for doing better in school, some take them out, go on vacation, etc., whatever they can think of to motivate their children to care about school.

If you do not understand what they are learning, then take the time to learn! You can borrow their books, notes, look up the answers online, or even call your student’s teacher and ask them to help you to help them to help your child! I know a lot of parents that needed to learn how to do common core math instead of the old standards of adding and subtracting.

You can also hire a tutor (in person or online) to help your child do better in school. It’s not the best scenario, but at least they know that you are trying to help them out even if you can’t. I would recommend you do some research and ask around to see who the best tutors are. If you are looking for a tutor online, then you should definitely check those reviews, too!

The worst thing a parent can do is give up on their child. Unfortunately, I’ve seen in too many times while being a teacher. If you are an involved parent, but not too strict, then I commend you! You should pat yourself on the back and your child(ren) should treat you to something nice! If you are not, then please, it’s time to stop making excuses and start being involved in your child’s life!

Let’s Hear From You!

What do you think? Have your parents helped and motivate you to do well in school? Did it work? Perhaps they were more laid back. Did you do well in school? Do you think that your parents were either too strict or too laid back? Does it still affect you today?

I remember how my parents would make sure that I finished my homework every night, completed my projects on time, and answered every question the best that I could. If I didn’t know an answer, or if I needed to research a topic, then they would break out the old encyclopedia, dictionary, or Encarta CD and pop it into the computer for me to figure out. I believe that by doing so, it made learning and school a lot easier for me. It also made me never miss a due date for a research paper, because I’d always hear my mother’s voice in the back of my head telling me to get it done! It’s amazing how the little things your parents do carry with you for the rest of your life.