With school back in session, parents are cheering, gulping, and scurrying. On one hand, I’m relieved to get back into a school routine with my kids, but on the other hand, I’m wondering how they’re going to do this year while trying to keep on top of the long to-do list.
To many parents (and their kids) the beginning of the school year is stressful. This is my second year in a row of having high anxiety. Last year I dropped off a college freshman in another state where he didn’t know anyone (and I didn’t either). This year, my 14-year-old is starting high school for the first time and is apprehensive about it. I remember when my sister started kindergarten. She cried all the way to school—and then cried all day for the first week. My parents were a wreck! I wouldn’t be surprised if my mother howled the entire time as well.
Although there is a lot our kids have to figure out on their own at school, research shows that parents who stay involved in their child’s education are more likely to raise kids who do better in school and make bigger strides in learning.
This is true whether your child is starting preschool—or is going to college. Unfortunately, research shows that parents tend to become less involved in their kids’ education as their kids go up in grade. The most dramatic drops occur when kids go to middle school.
That’s why the start of the school year is busy for me. Besides getting kids up and going and doing their homework, I’m going to the senior high open house. I’m taking an online class through my son’s college on how to be an effective long-distance parent to a college student. (The college offers it for free.) I’m filling out the large piles of papers that come home from the school and each teacher. It’s exhausting, but I know every bit of it matters because we value our childrens’ education.
When our kids have a good start to the school year and settle in well to school, they tend to be more interested in school and doing their best. Our involvement in school as parents is just as important as our kids.
How well are you and your kids settling into this school year? Share your story with us!
NEA Policy Brief, Parent, Family, Community Involvement in Education , 1.