Families, we need your help. Research repeatedly confirms that student achievement is positively related family involvement in children’s learning. That seems obvious when children are young, but it doesn’t stop when they become teenagers. Studies show a strong and positive relationship between family involvement and students’ attitudes toward school, self-image, classroom behavior, time spent on homework, absenteeism, motivation and expectations for the future.
At HFM BOCES, we have exceptional teachers, an outstanding facility and innovative programs. What makes ensures success is the right attitude, and families play a critical role in helping to shape their child’s attitude toward school.
So we need you, and want to help you do the best you can to help your child succeed. This page is dedicated to you, to encourage you as an important player in your child’s success at HFM BOCES, and to bring you valuable resources to help your student navigate high school and prepare for college and a career.
How parents can help their student succeed
Children’s need for parental involvement in their lives doesn’t diminish with age.
As children get older and shoulder more responsibility on their own, we may tend to back off from our role as coach and instead become a rather silent cheerleader. But school counselors say it’s as important for parents to nurture their children when they are older as when they were in elementary school.
“Parents can start to feel the message they’re getting from school and sports as children get older is, ‘We’ve got this now,'” said Maura Friddle, guidance counselor at Amsterdam High School. “It’s important for parents to know it’s OK to take a step back, but it’s still important to be involved and engaged with your child.”
Asking teens about homework shows them we’re interested in what they’re doing, said Friddle. “Looking at homework doesn’t mean you have to correct it. You’re telling your child, ‘Education is important and I want to know what you’re working on.”
Rebecca Pauley, school counselor at Mohonasen High School in Schenectady, suggests parents reach out to a school counselor if their child is struggling to find learning strategies that work.
“When a child knows the school and parent are in partnership to support that child’s effort to be successful, that goes a long way,” said Pauley. “It trickles down to the student, and they’re more empowered because they have this dual support system.”
And, while parents may not be able to help their child with something specific to their classwork, there’s someone else who can.
Pauley agreed. “Teachers would jump for joy to get kids staying after school for extra help.”
In addition to better understanding the course material, a student can build a relationship with a teacher when he or she asks for help.
“If you struggle with material, the teacher will see you are reaching out and doing what you have to do to be successful,” said Pauley. “If a student is there multiple times a week, they see a child who is determined and makes it happen, who keeps going until they are successful.”
TALK ABOUT GOALS
Students benefit when adults model and talk about short- and long-term goal setting.
Take baby steps, suggested Pauley. “It doesn’t have to be ‘I want to be a lawyer.’ It could be, ‘I’m going to stay after school with a teacher at least once a week.'”
Setting short, achievable goals helps students consider longer-term goals. “Maybe it’s, ‘I want an advanced Regents diploma,’ and then we can talk about an actual plan to get there,” Pauley said.
It’s healthy to talk about career dreams as well, with a focus on finding a passion. A student should look at what they like to do rather that what they think they’re supposed to do. “Find something you love and turn that into a career,” she said.
Pauley said it’s important to encourage a child to dream. “Don’t close the door on anything. Don’t extinguish the fire.”
If we consider that learning can happen anywhere, there are many ways to be involved in our children’s education.
“Find common ground to have a discussion about life issues in a non-threatening way,” said Pauley.
Friddle said while there is natural separation as teens get older, they still need to know the adults in their lives are there for them.
“It’s important for them to pull away so they learn independence and how to advocate for themselves, but they still need that support behind them. We’re still teaching and holding their hand in a different way,” Friddle said.
Adapted from “Parents’ role important throughout the school years” Copyright ©2015 by Parent Today and Capital Region BOCES; Used with permission.