The Classroom Connection

Kids whose parents are involved in their education do the best in school. So what can you do to stay connected to your child's schooling?

Q: My job prevents me from spending time in my 7-year-old's classroom. How else can I stay involved in his education?

A: No matter how little time you have, there's always something you can do to strengthen the home/ school connection, according to Pat Dingsdale, former chair of the commission on education for the National PTA, based in Chicago. And it's worth the effort: Studies show that kids with involved parents do best in school.

Here are some ideas for busy parents from the National PTA:

  • Ask your child to tape-record some impressions of his day soon after he gets home from school (before he forgets them!). When you return from work, listen to the tape and then use it as a springboard for conversations about school.
  • Set aside the time after supper for school talk. Ask your child about his favorite classes. Have him show you any papers he's written or artwork he's done so you can discuss and admire his efforts. And, of course, don't forget to check his homework.
  • Let your child's teacher know about your time schedule, talents and interests, and desire to help out. Even little things, such as handling the class's book-club orders or cutting out hearts for a Valentine's Day project, will make a difference and be valued.
  • Spend about 10 minutes talking to your child's teacher by telephone every few weeks so you can stay up- to-date on his progress.

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