How involved are you and your partner with your child's school?
In what ways do you participate with your child's school? Are you and your partner equally involved? What is the best way to stay active in the school community when you don't have much spare time?
I work for myself and even though it is around 25-30hrs a week, it's flexible so I can be there when needbe. Having said that, I think it's extremely important to allow children a bit more independence. Don't put them in your pocket every single day. Let them have something to tell you when they come home. I volunteer one hour weekly to help out with class activities and always contribute to fundraising events etc, I keep in regular face to face contact with my sons teacher and I feel that what I do is plenty. We attend special events etc as a family and are as involved as we think is fit. It's important for our children to understand that much as Mum and Dad WANT to be involved in their life, that the entire family doesn't always revolve around their wants. Not to mention the fact that you run the risk of interfering in their social development by ALWAYS being right next to them. We have two children, our daughter is 2.5 and our son is 6 (so in his second year of fulltime schooling) and we need to be involved for her too as well as having family and individual pursuits. I do roller derby, my son participates in one extra curricular sport per week (it varies with the season), we spend a lot of time playing as a family at the local swimming pool, skate park whatever and my husband likes to get out fishing when the weather is good. Too many commitments is hard to manage and makes life a whole lot more stressful than it needs to be. You do what you can, and give yourself a pat on the back for doing something cos' there are a hell of a lot of parents (even some of the full time stay at home ones) that are not involved AT ALL and have no excuse.
My children attend a small Jewish day school and I have been the president of the school for 1-1/2 years. My term is up in June. With very few families, the volunter base is very small, so several of us wear many hats. That means Board of Trustees meetings, Board of Ed meetings, and committee meetings, since I'm on a few of those, too.
I have my own home business, and while that could easily keep me plenty busy, I use the scheduling freedom I have to attend all the school events, volunteer once a month in the library, drive on field trips, and stay in touch with faculty and parents, as well.
My husband works full-time, and since I'm so often involved with the school, he takes a much less active role. He goes to all the events after school and loves to be the grillmaster at the picnics.
After stepping down from being president, I will continue to serve on committees and be very active with the school, but I'll get a break from some of the board meetings. I do it because I love the school, the students and the teachers.
As far as what others can contribute to their children's school, I have this to say: Everyone has something to offer. Some of us have money. Some of us have time. Some of us have skills. (The lucky have them all.) Money, time and skills are all valuable resources you can donate, and they are all needed. Never think less of your contribution, no matter what form it takes, and never leave it up to someone else to cover. Too many do.
I have health problems so I'm not able to do everything I want to do, but I talk to all her teachers through email and I'm always checking her grades on their web site. I always know what's going on in her school and life. She's 13 1/2 years old and finishing up 8th grade. Up until 2 years ago she had ALOT of problems in school and her grades where C, D, and F's. When she started middle school last year she did a complete turn around. Now she's on the A, B honor roll and I'm so proud! She has ADHD and Bi-polar, she takes meds in the morning, afternoon and evening. She has worked her butt off....now she wants to be a doctor! You go girl!!!
I do what I can, when I can. I have five kids, twelve years span. I figured once that I would have children in grade school for twenty years, so I decided it would be best if I pace myself. My kids' grade school has 300 students, probably about 200 families. With numbers like that, no mom should feel she must do all things. Sometimes, by saying yes to everyone, we train them to always call us first, without trying another parent who maybe hasn't been asked before. I don't want to overbook my schedule so much that my responsibilities and commitments at home, church, and the community suffer. So, with that in mind, I decide at the beginning of the year what kind of time I have to volunteer at school and during the Open House I sign up to help the teacher and PTO in areas of my abilities and interests.
My favorite thing to do at school, and not every teacher welcomes this, is to come in weekly and help with center time. I love to facilitate reading groups the most. Reminds me a bit of being a little girl and playing school with my friends. Currently, my child's school needs volunteers to serve lunch, so that's what I do once a week. I love being around the kids and getting to know them.
I was very involved until they kicked me out for being TOO involved, which I didn't think I was, because I worked, so I could only go in 2 times a week. So now I am doing virtual school, and I'm more active than before, and they love me for it.
I used to be quite involved with the school - but after 7 years in a row I decided to take a step back. On P & F Committee, School Council, Parent Helper and also involved in pretty much all fundraising events, as well as attend all sporting events. Now I have cut right back. I help out with the Primary School - parent helper and am on the P & F for Secondary College now my son has started there. I am also Secretary for the Motorbike club AND basketball club. We live in a small town so getting the help isnt always there. I also do the footy training runs into town (we live out of town) and off to the footy each weekend. I have to say that Yes - I do get exhausted - as I also work 3 days a week - but I try to be there for my kids as much as possible. They know I cant be there all the time - but if I can - then I am there. My husband works long hours - so he doesnt get to help out like I do - but is there when he can be. I think its nice when a parent or parents can be there for their kids - and I also agree with another comment - where there are families who do not work - who are at home all day - and still help out with nothing. I know their kids feel it when other parents go to watch. I barrack for all of them to try to make up for what they are missing. The smiles on their faces make it all worth while - even when I do lose my voice.
We homeschool. I do all the curriculum selection, lesson plans, scheduling, and teaching, but my husband is helpful and supportive. He takes time to let my daughter show off what she has learned and then adds little helpful tips of his own, which she likes. He also spends time outdoors with the kids regularly and takes them 4-wheeling and for walks. He's especially helpful in doing things with our preschooler to keep him busy if my daughter and I are working on a project.
We homeschool our 5 children and they are with us all the time they also learn how to sell at craft fairs and make items to sell they are brilliant in the ideas they come up with
I'm on the PTO, and I volunteer in our daughters class one day a week. I love it, its a great way to see what their class is learning and a great way to help out her teacher.My husband works so he tries to do events like the school family picnic,field day,and PTO family fun nights. Our school has a group on Facebook and classroom web pages to help moms and dads who can't come in stay connected with whats going on in class ,and up coming events so people can plan ahead.All the teachers send home weekly news letters too that list when home work is do,what their working on in each subject,spelling words, spirit days ect.
I try and go to all of my son's honor roll ceremonies! I can't make it to much else since I am full-time. The other thing I try to make it to is at least see him march in the band once or twice. My husband who is my son's Step-Father, picks him up from school every day and he goes to all of his baseball games in the Summer. However, it's very hard for him to go to anything during the day because he is sleeping from working at night. It is very difficult, but we do the best we can! Also, my husband is always helping my son with his math homework if he has any problems. He has also attended a couple of his Spring concerts!
I was on the PTO Board of my kids' school a few years ago, and I go to all the meetings that are held in the evenings. (Some are held in the afternons, and since I work full-time, I can't go to those).
For Teacher Appreciation Week, we have different activities like bringing them breakfast, lunch, fowers, thank-you cards, and decorating their classroom doors. I have decorated 6 doors every year since the school opened five years ago. I have done them for the teacher's aides, computer teacher, music teacher, office staff, principal, school counselor, librarian, and the janitors. Everyone should feel appreciated for all they do for our children!
Our school holds a huge Spring Fling fund-raiser every year, with bouncers, dunk tanks, food and snacks sales, and every classroom makes a carnival game. I help run the classroom booths for both my kids, schedule volunteers, buy prizes, set up and clean them up every year. I donate to the silent auction baskets, and buy raffle trickets so the kids can try to win special time with their teachers. My aunt, uncle, sister, brother-in-law and nephew attend ours every year, becaue it's a lot of fun! (My aunt and uncle drive over an hour to attend).
I go to every end of the quarter party that my kids' classes have ever held, and help with games, supplies, and taking pictures. I have attended every Kindergarten graduation, second grade patriotic celebration, Muffins with Mom's, and my husband goes to the Donuts with Dad's. Two years ago, he was in Afghanistan, so my uncle drove over an hour to have donuts with my daughter's class before school. I also go to every Student of the Month, and Donuts with the principal my kids have earned. Our school shows free movies in the cafeteria every other month, and we always go to those, too.
Studies have shown that the more involved you are with your child's school, the better their grades. Even working full-time, it's worth it to take the time off to be there as much as I can, and it can be done.
The first thing is to join the PTA and do everything I can to support it financially. Next I try to be visible. I volunteer to help out with the carpool in the mornings. That does not interfere with work and only requires that I get up about 20 minutes earlier on those mornings. I try to attend the PTA meetings. Usually, I can either get someone to cover for me at work of simply tell a client I will schedule them for the following day. It takes a little planning but most of the time I can swing it. Its important to be there. You meet other parents, teachers, and keep up with what is going on. You also have a voice. Its easier to be heard if you show up. Find out what the teachers need from you and provide it wherever possible. Help out in whatever way your schedule will permit. We all have different gifts and different ways to provide. The most important thing is to communicate with the school and the PTA and do what you can. This is not a time to be saying, "Oh, someone else will probably take care of that." If you can help out, DO IT!
My husband works very hard so that I can stay home. I stay home so that I can be and do what ever I can to help at school. I try a few days a week to ask my childrens teachers if there is anything I can help with. I am one of the few parents that is allowed to use the copy machine. So I make copies for all the kinder teachers when needed. They make copies of books often that need to be put in order and stapled. If I cant stay at school and do it I take it home with me. I cut things out. Hang stuff up. Run errands.
I am a PTA member, I have choose at this time not to be one of the board member so that I could help a friend with her children after school. However most events that happen during school hours I make sure I open all my time up for because we have few parents that give of their time. So in Feb. I will be spending a week in the library managing the book fair.
I volunteer my time and car for field trips in both my kids classes. I hope to read for love of reading week. I try and help the evenings that I am not taking care of my friends chilldren.
I love doing what I can to make the teachers feel loved and appreciated. I bring them their special coffee order at times. I do a survey to find out what they like and try to suprise them from time to time. I buy and donate books to their classes, as well as supplies that may be needed.
I help out during special class events. We baked cakes, made turkeys out of cookies. We had a Christmas Polar Express in my daughters class and I even wore my jammies. I also read with children that need extra help as well as figuring out what levels they should be on. I love being able to give of my time and talents.
I now know many of the parents. All of the staff know who I am so I have no problems going into classes to get children for the office, nurse, other teachers and events. I am even food certified, so in a pinch I can help in the cafeteria. I encourage all parents to be involved in your childs school as much as you can. You could be the deciding factor on weather their education is ok or excellent.