With school starting, there's no better way to send your kids a positive message and show them you are interested in their education, than by volunteering at their schools.
“Volunteering benefits not only the school, but you and your children as well," said Karen Lindflott, president of the Home & School Association. "To your children, you demonstrate how important their education is to you, and you provide them with an example of the importance of being a community contributor. Besides, they just love seeing you around!”
Lindflott, a mother of three students in , has been volunteering since her oldest, a 7th grader, was in grade school.
“By volunteering for School Family and Community Partnership, I gained a new perspective of some of the methodologies and philosophies behind teacher lesson plans as I worked with teachers and administrators to plan activities to support our school's improvement goals and encourage family fun while learning,” she said.
Lindflott offers the following suggestions for getting involved with your children's school:
- If you are new to the school, volunteering in the LRC (library) or as a Partner Reader gives you a reason to come to school regularly, so you can get to know the teachers, staff and routines of the school. Ask to volunteer with the grade ahead of your oldest child so that you can see what is around the corner for them.
- If you still have young children at home and time is limited, volunteer for a committee such as Teacher Appreciation or Spirit Wear, in which most of the planning and preparation is done at home.
- For parents who work full-time and still want to help, consider taking a late, long lunch in order to be a room parent at a holiday party or arrange to come in late in order to help with an activity occuring earlier in the morning.
You can also stay involved after school hours. This Family Education website recommends the following:
- Create an environment at home that encourages learning.
Provide children with many different opportunities to become excited about learning. Encourage them to have a regular time for studying, and provide a study place that is free of distractions.
- Provide a well-balanced life. Set up routines, make sure your children get enough sleep, eat regular nourishing meals, and receive sufficient exercise. Limit excessive TV-viewing and the playing of video and computer games.
- Encourage kids to read. The more children read, the better their reading skills become. Make sure there is a wide variety of interesting reading materials in your home to feed their reading habit.
- Encourgae them to be organized. Children who are organized find it much easier to succeed in school. Show your children how to make the most of their organizational tools such as assignment pads, calendars, notebooks, binders, and backpacks.
- Ask them about their day. Your children spend hours in school every day. Ask questions about what they did, talking with them about the papers they bring home. When problems occur, work with your kids to find solutions.
“I know it's not my original saying, but 'many hands make the work light' is so true, especially in the school setting," she said. "Whatever you give in your time and talent to your school will be paid back to you and your children in many ways.”