As parents, we have responsibilities beyond that of the CEO of a company, a director of a major motion picture, or a political leader. Although some days you may feel you are all three! Fortunately, if you take initiative, parenting can be rewarding and fun. In essence, as parents we own the education of our children. Knowing that gives us an incentive to maximize its effect in our children’s lives.
Parenting and education go hand in hand because you, as the parent, are the first teacher your child knows. Parental involvement in school is something that is welcome, contrary to some beliefs that educators may not want “meddling” parents. On the contrary, anything you can do to supplement what your child’s teacher is already doing, will make your child more interested in his or her school-time activities. Following are some practical ways to start a movement of parental involvement in education that will create rippling effects long into the future.
First, volunteer in the community and make an effort to communicate with other parents, even those in other schools. You will stay well informed on current curriculumand events as well as future plans. You will then be prepared to shape what you do at home with your child so that they can be more knowledgeable when the time comes to contribute at school.
Second, start a community group involving other parents who would be willing to take the Parental Involvement Pledge, and start making some advances in a learning environment that may seem stale to your children. Together, parents can commit to taking turns volunteering at the schools, spending time reading to their own children, and brainstorming together on how to enrich their child’s education. Some parent groups can plan field trips together outside of the normal school outings, which may address specific interests and fields of study. Create your own pledge.
Finally, talk it up. Have lively discussions, in-person or online about parenting and the pledge to do more. Start a blog or a coffee group. Encourage other parents with your enthusiasm and passion for your community. It is not necessary to have a degree or even professional work experience. Having a desire to see your children and your community excel is more than enough to thrust you and your peers into action.
Amelia Orozco is the senior editor and writer at the Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo and a community and entertainment reporter for TeleGuía Chicago. A mother of three, Amelia also maintains an active role in her community and church by working with youth and promoting education and diversity through her writing and volunteer efforts.