A study conducted with over 10,000 teenagers from 1,000 randomly selected schools in the United States has made a shocking discovery: Nothing can beat parental involvement when it comes to academics.
Parents who regularly checked their kids’ homework, talked about their school days with them, and attended parent functions contributed more to their child’s academic success than students that went to better schools but had less involved parents. Schools were rated based on conducive classroom learning environments, as well as on rates of truancy and disruptive behavior.
Dr. Toby Parcel, who led the study published in the journal Research and Social Stratification and Mobility, says, "Parents need to be aware of how important they are, and invest time in their children -- checking homework, attending school events, and letting kids know school is important. That’s where the payoff is."
It makes sense. We know that kids are better behaved and perform better in school when they participate in regular family dinners. We all remember being teenagers and trying to get away with doing as little as possible. Having mom or dad there to ‘remind’ you to do your homework or no movie night with your friends was sometimes the only way it got done.
Teachers have our kids for six or seven hours a day, and classrooms around the nation are experiencing overcrowding. Even the best teachers will not be able to give a single student the dedicated attention they’ll need to excel like a parent can. We know these young people. We know when they’re struggling with a concept, when they’re hiding something, and what they’re good at.
The best opportunity we can give our kids to succeed is to work together as a community to educate them. It can be through homeschooling and resourcing with others, or in public or private schools where parents are involved in their kids’ lives and regularly communicate with their teachers.
It’s also encouraging to know that even if you don’t live in the best school district or have charter school options or a voucher system in place, your kid isn’t totally screwed. Ultimately, it’s up to you, the parent, to make sure your offspring have the best opportunities.
Image via j.o.h.n walker/Flickr