According to The U.S Department of Education, adolescents do significantly better in school when their parents are regularly involved in their educational endeavours. This is furthered when the parents of these children make an effort to work together and get involved together in the early development of the child.
In their study, entitled “Parent-School Involvement in the Early Adolescent Years”, Jacquelynne S. Eccles and Rena D. Harold suggest that the fundamental issue when it comes to a child’s academic success lies in the relationship shared between the parent and the teacher. Research makes clear that this communications link is highly beneficial to children of all grade levels. Side by side with this, Eccles and Harold are clear that the level of parental involvement within school is not as high as teachers would like.
Ways to Get Involved
The U.S Department of Education has recommended that parents really try to be as involved as they possibly can be. They also published a few helpful suggestions on how to best do this. Certain “strategies” were brought to light, including learning all you can about the child’s school. Get your hands on a handbook, study what the semesters involve, talk to the teachers and get to know what your child is studying and when. Another hint involved providing a school-friendly environment at home. This might involve providing your child with a desk of his own, encouraging him to do his homework, minimize the noise in the house at certain “home study” hours.
A Child's Point of View
Professor Jianzhong Xu of the University of Mississippi in his publication entitled, “Do Early Adolescents Want Family Involvement in Their Education? Hearing Voices from Those Who Matter Most” carried out an interesting survey that involved adolescents, who rated what they deemed to be the most important aspect of parent-teacher involvement. It was revealed that 90 percent of the survey’s participants answered “very important” to setting up a personal workspace at home. On the other end of the spectrum, only 48 percent of the participants thought the setup and attendance of PTA meetings were very important.
The Root of the Problem
Of course, there is always a reason for a lack of involvement, which both parents and teachers must try to overcome. Eccles and Harold state that the primary causes of a lack of involvement for parents are lack of time, economic resources, education, knowledge and energy. Involvement can also be affected by the school in question, either through poor reporting practices or hostility or indifference toward the parents.