Five Easy Ways to Ensure Your Child Gets a Quality Education
By Kevin Chaveous
Among many school leaders, the ‘crazy parents’ are the bane of their existence. Crazy parents are the ones who are always at the school, questioning the staff about things and sometimes stretching the limits by obnoxiously fighting for their child. As young parents consider how to best provide a quality education for their children, they need to adopt many of the ‘crazy parent’ approaches, minus the obnoxiousness.
All parents want their child to receive a quality education, and in today’s ever-changing educational landscape there is no shortage of options. From public schools and private schools to charter and parochial schools, parents have lots of choices. But no matter the type of school, how do you really ensure that your child is getting a good education?
There are the obvious ways, such as: researching your child’s school, checking academic performance and meeting with their teacher, but parental involvement is key. Even when your child is considered to be a good student, it’s important to be engaged, involved and informed in their educational experience.
Here are a few important things that you can do to make sure that your child gets the best education possible:
1. Instill a love of learning. Children who have a broad foundation of knowledge and background on a variety of subjects will find school easier and more interesting than those who don’t. As a parent, you are the first teacher in your child’s life and have both the privilege and responsibility to expose your child to the world. While activities like going to the library or museum are educational, there is also value in your everyday routine. Find out what your child likes and incorporate that into their learning regimen so that your child will love to learn and value education.
2. Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer. There is nothing more eye-opening then going into your child’s school to volunteer. Parents who participate in school activities and events will have added opportunities to communicate with teachers and provide input into decisions that may affect their child’s education. In short, be present at your child’s school.
3. Maintain communications. Research shows that children do better in school when parents talk often with teachers. There are a number of ways that you can communicate with your child’s teacher throughout the year. Open the lines of communication by keeping in touch, getting to know who’s who at your child’s school, and consistently touch base to find out how your child is doing.
4. Be inquisitive and informed. Simply put, in order to ensure that your child gets a good education, you must be inquisitive and informed. Read the information the school sends home, talk to other parents and ask questions. If something concerns you, take the time to ask the teacher or principal about it and seek their advice. Also, be sure to periodically read relevant information that extends beyond that provided by your child’s school.
5. Realize that one size does not fit all. Understanding your child’s behavior and learning style will help you find the perfect school setting in which they can learn and thrive. Do your research and look closely at each school’s culture, structure and curriculum to make sure it aligns with the way your child learns. Don’t try to force your child to fit into a school that doesn’t work for them.
Remember, you can’t count solely on the school to educate your child. Positive and involved parenting can improve your child’s success in school. You are your child’s best advocate. If you want your child to get a good education making the investment will make all the difference. And don’t worry about being the crazy parent.
Kevin P. Chavous is Sr. Advisor of the American Federation for Children.