School Involvement – Without Going to School!? 10 Clever Ways Busy Parents Can Stay Involved

By: Michele Timmons

Yay! School is back in session. Boo! I want to help out at school, but between work and keeping my family together, I just don’t have the time. Is this thought rolling through your brain right now? I bet you received at least one request (if not many) from the school to volunteer or help out on an upcoming project. I am sure you also feel a twinge of guilt when you don’t sign up as a volunteer. You are a “good” parent and all “good” parents volunteer, right…? Good news! Here are 10 creative ways to share your talents without ever even entering the building!

1. Are you a tech geek? Create a podcast or YouTube video about your work, hobbies or other subject matter important to your child’s class. Have your child's teacher share it with the class. If you are a wanna-be geek, check out this YouTube video to learn how to make a podcast.

2. Are you a great cook/baker? Offer to support the social studies curriculum by making food from different cultures when they are being studied at school. Need recipes? Check out the Easy-Kid -Recipes site (listed below) for a bunch of international recipes you can make for kids and with kids.

3. Are you into photography? Ask the teacher to email you photos they take in school. Create a scrap book to share at the end of the year.


5. Do you have access to a copier or laminating machine? School budgets have been cut so much over the years that your child’s teacher may be very limited in how many copies or how often he or she can use a laminator. My former employer would allow me to make copies on our office copier and I would write a check to the company for $0.04 per copy. Ask your child's teacher to email you a copy of the document he or she needs printed and you can send copies back with your child.

6. Do you like to do internet research? Volunteer to keep an eye out for grants that your school might be able to write for to get additional funding. Ask your teacher if there is any specific research she needs to help her plan future lessons or projects.

7. Do you love to sew, paint, or draw? Many schools have plays and music productions. Props and costumes are a must. It might take a quick visit to school, but most of the work can be done at home.

8. Do you like to shop? Volunteer to purchase some school supplies for a needy family or some extra supplies for your child’s class.

9. Is your job interesting to kids? Consider working with your employer to create a field trip opportunity for the class or a job shadowing for 1-2 students.

10. Do you love gardening? Create a terrarium for your child’s class. Create a guide to help the students learn how to care for it and to create their own. If you really love gardening, consider stopping by the school one evening and doing a little weeding. Most schools have cut back on maintenance, so weeding is something that just doesn’t get much attention.

I also found two great websites with more ideas for getting involved in your school.

  • 10 Easy Ways to Help at Your Child’s School
  • Staying Involved in School
  • What are your ideas for helping your child’s school when you can’t go to the building? Please share them with us too.



    1. How to Make a PodCast

    2. Easy Kid Recipes

    3. 10 Easy Ways to Help Your Child’s School

    4. Staying Involved in Your Child's School

    As a High School teacher, I would say that it is critical that parental involvement not decrease once students reach high school. They make so many small, yet important decisions. In many instances, the parent doesn’t realize the ramifications until much later. I know it is difficult, but it is very necessary to stay engaged, but not hover and enable once students get to high school.


    Great ideas! I sometimes feel guilty that I can’t do volunteer days for parents at my daughter’s school and these tips have given me a new way of thinking about what it means to stay ‘involved’.

    Glad this resource is helpful. Please share it with others.


    I find myself feeling extremely guilty for not being able to volunteer as much as I would like to. I have a high schooler and then elementary schooler so finding enough time to volunteer at both schools plus work is impossible so having these great ideas are awesome. I want my children’s teachers to know that I am an engaged parent interested in support my kids and their classrooms. Thanks for providing me ideas on how to do that!


    Great post! I’m going to share this on our PTO facebook page!

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