Working Together For Children

By Carmella S. Harmon

Most parents understand the importance of being actively involved in their children's education. For some, however, it's difficult to take that first step. Just how do you become positively and actively involved? Following are a few simple ways to be a positive force in your children's education.

Communicate with your children's teachers.

You don't have to wait for Open House at the school to meet your children's teachers. You can take the first step in August, during school registration. Periodically telephone your children's teachers throughout the school year to find out how your children are performing in their classes. Use Family Access to check grades and attendance.

Find out whether or not your children are:

    Schedule periodic meetings: 

If you have concerns about how your children are doing in school, you don't have to wait for parent-teacher conference. Consider having your child attend the meeting with you. This provides an opportunity for your child to hear comments directly from the teacher rather than filtered through you, thus preventing any miscommunication. These meetings are a two-way street. Just as you're there to learn more about how your child is performing in the school setting, teachers are interested in learning about any issues at home that may be affecting the child's school performance.

    Work with your children at home:

No matter how old your children are and how well they are doing in school, they could probably still benefit from your active participation at home as well. Many schools require planners of some sort for students, providing the students with one central location to write down all homework assignments, upcoming test and projects. Check your child's planner on a regular basis to see whether or not your child has homework due. If your children haven't written their assignments in their planners, encourage them to keep this book up to date.

    Attend open houses:

Far from one more useless activity in an already over-scheduled life, open houses can actually provide a wealth of information for parents. This is a great opportunity for parents to again meet their children's teachers, the school counselor, the principal and other staff. You'll follow your children's schedules by actually going to all their classes during an open house, allowing you an ideal opportunity to meet all the teachers in one fell swoop.

    Become active in the school:

Is your school constantly beating the bushes for chaperones for dances and field trips, room mothers and Parent Teacher Association officers? This is your chance to make further inroads into becoming more closely involved with your children's education. If you've truly involved in their school lives as well as their home lives.

Active parenting takes time, but the time you spend helping your children be personally and academically successful will return benefits to you tenfold. Your positive involvement and time, your child's time and your child's teachers' time are all directly related to helping today's students become tomorrow's successful adults.

Carmella S. Harmon is a professional school counselor.

Tucson Unified School District

Townsend Middle School