A Parent's Guide to Helping Your Child Do Well in School

— National Education Association
Updated on Dec 16, 2008

Your child has a right to attend and succeed in a great public school.

Regardless of income, ethnicity, family circumstances, disability, or school readiness, all children are entitled to an education that will help them reach their full academic, professional, and personal potential. As a parent or guardian, you are the best advocate to ensure that your child receives a quality education.

Help your child succeed in school

While all parents want their children to do well in school, many parents don’t realize that the role they assume in personally monitoring and guiding their child’s schooling is essential to academic success. Today, parents can no longer afford to take a hands-off approach to their children’s education. Unlike a generation ago, students are facing an increasingly complex and challenging world that requires a more skilled workforce with an education or training beyond high school.

Parents and guardians have a legal and moral right to demand that their child receive a quality education. You have a right to expect that your children have up-to-date textbooks and computers that will prepare them for today’s globally competitive economy. The quality of the tools and resources available in your local school is a good indicator of how much administrators and the school board are investing in their education. So, examine your child’s school books and ask for new or replacement books if necessary.

But new books alone cannot guarantee achievement. Students need a safe and nurturing learning environment and small classes with a low teacher to student ratio. Unfortunately, too many school districts have allowed school buildings to deteriorate over the years and failed to keep up with increasing student enrollment. In fact, the condition of school facilities shows students how much adults really value education. School buildings should be welcoming and well-maintained with a modern cafeteria, gymnasium, hygienic rest rooms, a well-stocked library, and a wellness room. Communities must hold politicians accountable for the condition of their local schools by demanding adequate funding for schools.

Families have a major role in encouraging academic success. Adults must grab every opportunity to let children know that they have high expectations for their education. During daily conversations, adults should help children set goals and encourage them to create a plan of action to meet those goals— whether it is getting up in the morning on time or perfect classroom attendance, every small step taken helps build momentum to academic success.

Encourage learning at home

Parents must not only supervise homework, but create a comfortable location for doing homework. For starters, turn off the television set and eliminate any other distractions such as loud music. Simple steps like making sure there is sufficient work surface to spread out books or providing proper lighting, school supplies, and having a dictionary on hand can make homework easier to complete.

Helping your child develop organizational skills is the foundation for academic success. Make sure your child has a schedule planner for school and writes down homework assignments daily. Parents should help their child prioritize homework by deadline and by the amount of time required to complete an assignment. By breaking large tasks into smaller ones, assignments become more manageable and your child is less likely to become overwhelmed and procrastinate.

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