The idea and act of parent involvement has been a much discussed topic by parents, and teachers. The question which arises; is parent involvement more than just a confidence booster for a child or is it also a key for scholarly success? This paper explores evidence that shows the major role parent involvement and school-family partnerships play in improving children’s learning and behavior. To go even deeper we need to define what parent involvement means.
It isn’t just a parent asking their child if they’ve done their homework but rather a parent actively participating in meaningful communication involving the students strengths and weaknesses in school. Also, sitting down with their child helping them understand their homework, encouraging when needed, challenging them, quizzing them and showing unconditional support are the bases of parental involvement. On the parents plate, there are three types of involvement points; one, involvement at home, two, involvement at school, and lastly, communication between home and school.
Communication is a vital component in a parent’s relationship with their child, through communicating with the child one builds a strong home-school relationship which produces an ongoing productive and trusting relationship between child and parent thus increasing the possibility of the child to succeed in school. Through this one key, communication, all three involvement points are met. Some of the outcomes, which arise out of meeting these key points are as follows; a head start academically, less risk of delinquent behavior later on in their life, broader understand of material, and more confident, academically and emotionally.
It’s been shown that high school students want their parents to be actively involved in their academic career, this misconception that teenagers don’t want their parents involved in their school work is in large part false. There were many students who we, as a group, surveyed that told us, they feel more capable of doing better when their parents showed an interest in their schoolwork. Many out of those students who didn’t have their parents involved with their schoolwork admitted to not being very motivated, not only in their current schoolwork but also, in pursuing education past high school.
Curious as to why parents don’t get involved in their child’s schoolwork led us to the following question; what hinders the involvement of the parent to not show interest in their child’s schoolwork? A study done by the Academic Development Institute made us realize that we were asking the wrong question. Rather than the question stated above, a more precise question would be; what are the barriers that prevent the communication between home and school? The study done by the ADI brought forth three main barriers that prevent involvement from the parents side.
First, life demands are too great as is and time constraint is too much therefore not allowing time for the child. Second, lack of knowledge of what is expected and needed to be emphasized. Finally, different factors in the environment at school. We made a survey asking students, at the high schools we individually attended, a series of questions relating to their schooling, based on the three barriers outlined above. It was important to us to get good feedback from students in different grade levels and age groups so we decided to survey more than one class.
The survey consisted of questions like, “do you have support from your parents on your schoolwork? Are you planning on going to college? How long do you usually spend on homework/studying per week? How often do you attend class? How often do you have positive interactions with your parent(s)? How many times per week do you sit down with your family and have a meal? do you feel you could do better in school? ” among other questions to get a feel for how students say they’re doing in school and at home.
These questions show us important facts about the students and their habits, and using this information we can easily draw strong conclusions based on the collected responses. Upon reviewing the results, it quickly became apparent to us that schooling, and the students academic achievement directly correlate with parental involvement. From the survey we have learned that 66% of students have support from their parents on their schoolwork when they need it and 98% of those students plan to go on to college.
This shows us that when the parents show an interest in their students schooling that the student generally wants to proceed on to college. We also learned that the average student spends 6-10 hours per week studying or working on homework. Out of the students surveyed, most attend class regularly. The few students that do not regularly attend classes are the interesting cases here. When students do not regularly attend class 50% say that they do not have support from their families on their schoolwork or homework.
The other 50% say that they do not sit down and have family dinners regularly, and do not regularly have positive interactions with their parents. Of the students that do not regularly attend class, 80% say that they could do better in school. I believe, had the survey requested GPA, that an overwhelming number of students who do not attend class regularly would also be failing, or not doing well in their classes. This shows us that when parents do not get involved with their children, they have a far lower chance of success than those who have parental support.
The survey results overwhelmingly point to the conclusion that the more time spent with the students parents, in an open and free environment, the higher the chance of success in the students academics. We then interviewed a local high school counselor with a few questions and the results of our survey to gain insight into our results. “What is the most common reason that students come to you to talk? ” we asked. Her response did not shock us. The most common reason was for existing emotional trauma and the second was what she described as sudden emotional distress.
The most common cause for the second reason being stress and anxiety brought on by either the school or the home. We inquired further as to what she had seen in the student body, whether it be, an overwhelming course load, not enough time to finish assignments, or trouble completing assignments due to lack of motivation. It turns out, there are many more reasons that contribute to stress and anxiety in students so we had to be more specific. We then asked about whether it was common for a student who was failing classes to have a poor home life, or social life at school.
She said more often than not, that she found stress and anxiety in the home life contributing negatively towards the students learning in class. She also went on to theorize that social strife within the students social groups could just as easily cause enough stress and anxiety to create difficulties learning in class. We set out to learn whether parent involvement affects how well a student does in school. After gathering our surveys from each of our chosen schools, we found that parent involvement generally does affect how a student does in school.
Students who ate dinner as a family, and had help from their parents tended to do better in school. Unfortunately, students who don’t have as much family involvement are also affected. They don’t do as well in school, and sometimes don’t attend school. This is not necessarily the parents’ fault, sometimes work is too difficult, but this is bad for the future of the students. Students who had more parent involvement also tended to seek an education after high school, more so than the students with less parental involvement.
In the present day, an education beyond high school is necessary to do well in life, and so parent involvement is very important. It affects a student’s future, the next generation. Parents need to make sure that they put time aside for their children, whether it is eating dinner together, or just sitting down, and talking to their child about school, homework. It may not seem like much, but as we learned with our research, it can definitely make a difference in the child’s future.