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Parent-School Partnerships: An Education Must

October 10, 2017

By Dr. Bruce Machiafava

Parent-School Partnerships: An Education Must

Parent involvement is an essential element in education today. Whether your child attends a public or private school, principals, teachers, and administrators devote much time and energy to involving parents in their children’s schools. A strong partnership between parents and the school leads to a higher rate of student success.

What makes parent engagement so crucial to student success? As Sunny P. Chico, the author of the YOU: Your Child's First Teacher 3-book set explains, "Over 92 percent of a child's life from birth to age 18 is spent at home or doing parent-approved activities. Only 8 percent of a child's life in the same time period is spent at school." With so much of a child's life influenced by parental decisions, our children will learn from our actions.

This learning begins at birth and continues right up to kindergarten. During these years children acquire an amazing amount of knowledge. They learn to walk, run, and play games and sports. They acquire a language (sometimes two), they learn to read, and they develop social skills. They explore their world, starting with what they see in their cribs and continuing through their home and neighborhood. 

This is quite a curriculum. It can be very challenging for many parents. Unfortunately, most schools don’t become involved with these children until they are officially enrolled in school. So parents need to seek help in being the first teachers from social agencies, formal and informal groups of parents, family members and whatever help books and videos they can find.

Once the child enters school, the parent is largely relieved of the responsibility for formal education; the professional teachers take over. The parent’s role shifts to two major responsibilities: supporting the child in learning what is taught at school and advocating for the child with the school.

Supporting learning at home involves such activities as:

Insuring good health, seeing that the child eats properly and sleeps enough, making sure the backpack has the required books, pencils, assignments due, etc.

An Environment for Learning

This environment can be a room or a desk in a corner or the kitchen table. It must be free from TV, music, phones, and other distractions. Multitasking rarely works for studying.


Parents should guide and supervise a child’s homework but not do it. Know the assignment and the due date and check to see what grade the teacher gives.


Speak with the teacher on a regular basis, not just when there’s a problem. Advocating for one’s child may require intervening when grades are suffering or if a behavior problem has occurred. This doesn’t mean a confrontation with the teacher or the principal. Most issues can be resolved if the parent and the teacher or principal work together.

When parents partner with the school to continue classroom learning at home, students benefit. Reach out to your child's principal and teachers today to see how you can help at home.


How to help your teen build confidence

September 26, 2017

By Jessica Vician

How to help your teen build confidence

Building confidence isn't easy—even as adults we must to pick ourselves up and remember why we're awesome. Sometimes it takes a reminder from a friend, other times it's the perspective of what we've accomplished that gives us confidence.

That perspective isn't as accessible for a teenager, who has just started figuring a little bit of life out, but it's important that they start to build confidence to help them succeed in their next life adventure—college.

When your child goes to college, they won't have you or their high school friends to prop them up. They'll be alone, for maybe the first time ever, and need to learn how to harness motivation to go to class and study and summon confidence to make new friends and make good decisions.

How can you help them build this confidence now, while they're in high school? Extracurricular activities are a great first step for three reasons.

  1. Social
    Your teenager will meet people they might not otherwise interact with through these activities. By finding an activity that they're interested in, they will make new friends who share the same interests. That skill will accompany them to college when it's time to make new friends and try new activities.
  2. Academic
    YDuring meetings or activities, your teen will build skills that they might not build in the classroom. From teamwork to finding an outlet for creativity to developing leadership skills, your child can become a better student because of the skills they develop in extracurricular activities.
  3. Prepare for College
    Colleges and universities seek well-rounded students who have demonstrated a strong academic record and participate in extracurricular activities. The extra work shows a dedication outside of school and that the student can still earn good grades while doing something outside of the classroom.

If your teenager is initially hesitant to join clubs or other extracurricular activities, remind them how important they are for college applications. If they are looking forward to going away to school, the motivation to boost their chances of getting into their school of choice should encourage them to join one or two organizations. As your teen participates more frequently, they will build those skills and in turn, build confidence.


It's National Hispanic Heritage Month!

September 19, 2017

By Jessica Vician

It's National Hispanic Heritage Month!

Since 1988, the United States has celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. Most of the time when we honor a specific heritage over 30 to 31 days, it takes place within one month, but not National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Why does this celebration occur during the last half of September and the first half of October? The answer lies in what we are honoring in that 30-day period.

Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on September 16. But National Hispanic Heritage Month doesn’t only honor Mexican-Americans. We also celebrate the histories and cultures of Americans with ancestral backgrounds from Spain, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

Many of the countries in those areas celebrate significant days that fall between the 15th of September and the 15th of October. For example, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Costa Rica all celebrate their independence days on September 15. Chile celebrates on September 18.

On October 12, many of these Spanish-speaking countries celebrate día de la raza (Day of the Race), which is referred to as Columbus Day in English and the U.S. On this day, we remember what happened after Christopher Columbus landed in the now-Bahamas. Notably, the multi-cultural society we live in today is the result of the blending of European and indigenous cultures throughout North, Central, and South America.

These are just four dates in Hispanic history, but due to the importance of each of them and the celebrations we hold around them, the United States observes National Hispanic Heritage Month in this unique manner as the 30 days between September 15 and October 15.

At YOU Parent, we encourage you to share these stories of independence and celebration with your children. How have you honored National Hispanic Heritage Month? Tell us in the comments below.

Tags :  holidaysculture

How can you monitor your college student's grades?

September 12, 2017

By Judy Razo

How can you monitor your college student's grades?

When your child goes to college, your engagement with them changes. You can’t volunteer at the school, they won’t be living at home, you can’t keep track of study habits, and the academic advisor is not allowed to share your student’s academic information.

That’s right. By law, the only person allowed to receive your child’s grades and GPA is your child. Now that they are in college, the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) classifies your child as a responsible adult and therefore protects their right to privacy.

So how can you check grades when your son or daughter doesn’t have to show them to you?

  1. Trust your child.
    Start by acknowledging that your child is now considered an adult and therefore respect them as one. This will only strengthen your relationship and keep the lines of communication open between you, which in turn will make your child feel comfortable enough to show you his or her grades, no matter what they look like.
  2. Agree to share grades.
    Before your student leaves for college, make an agreement for when he or she will share grades. This will set expectations and help keep your child on track as he or she keeps in mind the agreement to share grades after midterms and at the end of the semester.
  3. Offer incentives.
    If you are able to, you could offer to pay tuition in exchange for a strong GPA. You could also incentivize your student by offering to increase the monthly stipend or upgrade their living or lifestyle arrangements each semester contingent on academic progress.
  4. Understand their degree plan.
    Take your parent engagement level a step beyond just grades—ask your student to walk you through their degree plan and sit down at the end of each semester to check off the completed classes. Stay open-minded to your child’s choices and always be supportive if he or she chooses to change his or her major or area of study.

Remember to be confident that you raised a well-rounded and prepared child. This is the opportunity to allow all of the things you taught him or her to kick in; you just have to be patient, open-minded, and give it some time. Your child will apply what you have taught him or her and learn new techniques that will hopefully pay off.


Back to School Resolutions

September 5, 2017

By Jessica Vician

Back to School Resolutions

It seems that we celebrate the New Year twice a year—once on January 1 and once when school starts. After all, a new school year affects our annual calendar more than the official holiday. As we change our routine with the new school year, it's a great opportunity to reflect on the previous school year and set goals for the upcoming school year.

This year, I challenge you to sit with your children and discuss their "Back to School Resolutions." Think about and ask these questions:

  • What does your child want to accomplish this year? 
  • What were the best parts of the last school year? 
  • What were the hardest parts? 
  • What are they excited about this year?

It's a great time for your family to reevaluate priorities and form resolutions to keep everyone organized, happy, and healthy for this school year. Here are some suggestions to consider for your resolutions:

  • Physical fitness—Are your kids getting at least 60 minutes of exercise a day? Are you getting at least 30 minutes a day?
  • Nutrition—Is everyone eating whole foods with vitamins, protein, and fiber?
  • Sleep—Most kids should get at least 10 hours of sleep a night and adults should get eight hours.
  • Study goals—Do your kids have a specific place to go for quite, uninterrupted study time each day? 
  • Music—Which instruments are your children learning? Are you exposing them to a new style of music?
  • Teacher partnership—Have you introduced yourself to your children's teachers and communicated a desire to partner with them for your child's success?

What is your family prioritizing this school year? Tell us in the comments below.

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