Fall has begun, Halloween is looming, and most students are finishing their first quarter of school.  In my house, that means we are preparing for parent-teacher conferences, both as the parent AND the teacher.  My husband and I wear both hats.  Between our own school’s conference schedule, and our kids’ conference schedule, we are going full speed.

But it is also one of the most important weeks of the school year, in my opinion.  I truly enjoy having dedicated time to sit with my students’ parents and discuss their performance – the highs and lows.  I also like hearing how things are going at home with practicing sight words and reading.

Conversely, I like having time to sit with my children’s teachers and find out what is happening in their classroom.  When I ask how my children’s days were, I’m often met with the one-word answer of “fine.”  This is my chance to find out if “fine” truly means “fine.”  Is there more I can be doing to help my kids be successful in the classroom?

So, as both a parent and a teacher, I strongly encourage you to make time to attend these conferences, whenever they may be. It shows the teacher(s) that you view education as a priority and want to be involved in your child(ren)’s schooling.  You can find out what you can do at home to help your child be a successful student.  Please don’t take advantage of the non-school days and turn it into a 4-day mini vacation, asking the teacher to reschedule your conference.

Being involved in your child’s education doesn’t have to be extensive or time-consuming, and the benefits are amazing!  Here are some simple, yet effective suggestions:

  • Make homework a priority and establish an after-school routine
  • Foster a discussion about their day instead of peppering them with questions – sharing something you liked/disliked about your day will encourage them to tell you about theirs
  • Monitor the work that comes home – ask them which assignment they liked the most
  • Get to know the teacher(s)
  • Attend back-to-school nights, open houses, and conferences
  • Volunteer in the classroom if allowed

A student who has an involved parent is more likely to have higher grades, attend class regularly, have fewer behavior problems, and exhibit more positive self-esteem.  And really, isn’t that what we all want for our kids?