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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Cadence

The Importance of Being Involved in your Child's Schooling

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

Academic success is one of the many positive outcomes parents want for their child/children. That is probably why you clicked on this blog. Parents might often think and ask themselves; ‘How can I improve academic motivation in my child? How can I help them be more engaged in their learning? What can I do to help them succeed academically?’ There is a fine line with positive parental involvement in supporting your child in schooling. If, as a parent, you become too involved in your child's schooling, the child may quickly get discouraged and feel as though you are not giving them enough freedom. If you are too relaxed, they may not take school seriously and not be as motivated or engaged in their education.

This post is meant to help parents understand the importance of parental involvement in school, the current research findings, and its possible outcomes on children’s adjustment and academic achievement. In the end, there will be final thoughts/recommendations section for parents on how to apply the research findings in regard to their child’s schooling. When many parents think of being involved in their child’s education, they may only believe that helping them with homework and attending their Christmas concerts will suffice, but there is much more parent involvement needed.

What is parental involvement?

It is a multidimensional construct that refers to parents/caregivers engagement in the school education of their child, like communicating with the child’s teacher and supporting their child’s schooling at home, like helping them with homework. It consists of three forms school-based involvement, home-based involvement, and homework involvement.

School-based involvement is the parents direct involvement with the school. There are two components in school-based involvement: school-based participation (which directly affects your child), and school-based governance (which indirectly affects your child). Examples of school-based participation would be attending parent-teacher meetings, direct communication with the teacher, attending school events such as Christmas concerts/plays, volunteering for school field trips or in the classroom, or attending other school events like open houses. Examples of school-based governance include being on the parent council and attending school board meetings.

Home-based involvement takes place outside of school and has two components: Discussion and encouragement and Cognitive-intellectual involvement. Discussion and encouragement include talking with your children about school and encouraging them in their academic endeavours. Cognitive-intellectual involvement is the arrangement of cognitively stimulating activities or environments, such as reading a book to them, helping them read, or taking them to the library.

The aspect of parental involvement in schooling is homework involvement as the name suggests parents help their children complete homework this can be having a quiet space for them to do homework, encouraging them to do homework, directly helping them with homework or having rules about doing homework.

Recommendations for parents:

  • Get involved in your child’s school! Join the parent council, go to those school board meetings, attend parent-teacher meetings!

  • Often, children become overlooked by their teachers when they child is doing decently well in school. If you would like to have teachers keep an eye on your child, become an active member within the school. This shows teachers that you care about their schooling and so should the teacher. The teacher will, therefore, spend more time and attention on your child (Barger et al., 2019, p. 858-859).

  • Participation in school-based activities also allows you to model for your child the need for them to commit time and energy in their own learning. This allows the child to internalize the value of school, which allows them to be motivated in academics leading them to have a higher level of academic engagement (Barger et al., 2019, p. 859).

  • Being involved in your child’s schooling provides you, as a parent, a way of motivating your child, showing them that you are interested in their schooling and that they should be too. By being involved in your child’s academic activities you show your child that they are academically competent (Barger et al., 2019, p. 859).

  • Parental school-based participation helps your child regulate their behaviours, as once again, you are a model of how to interact in a social context. When attending parent-teacher conferences, the teacher will not only inform you of their academic success but will also inform you about any challenges your child is facing in his/her learning, if there are any. This happens because your involvement shows the teacher how serious you are about your child’s academic success. Your child’s social adjustment relates to their academic outcomes, so if they are any behavioral issues, you can model and teach them more appropriate behaviours to help them achieve better academic outcomes.

  • Ask your child what they are learning in school. This gives you, as a parent, a better idea as to how and what your child is learning (Barger et al., 2019, p. 859). It also allows you to know if your child is struggling with a certain subject and the steps you need to take to help them improve. You can work with your child to help them acquire that skill as you have a better idea what they are struggling with.

  • Another benefit of having conversations about school is that it allows you to know if there is anything else happening in the classroom like bullying that could be a negative factor in their learning experience.

  • Homework Involvement should be more direct for young children and more conversation based for older children. Discussion and encouragement work better with older children and more direct interactions help scaffold for younger children which allows you to segue from close supervision to conversational as they get older. Be careful with direct homework involvement during early adolescence. It is seen as less effective than other forms of involvement during this developmental stage as preteens/teens want to establish their independence (Barger et al., 2019, p. 861).

  • If your child is struggling in school, homework assistance may be needed. Be careful as homework help may motivate your child but, it may negatively affect their academic outcomes if you, the parent, end up doing the homework as opposed to your child (Barger et al., 2019, p. 868).

  • Set rules and boundaries when it comes to homework and be cautious with constant monitoring. There is a positive association found between homework rules but a negative association for homework monitoring (Barger et al., 2019, p. 860). This is likely because setting rules regarding homework supports their autonomy and builds responsibility, teaching your child that in order to be academically successful they must do homework. They would therefore learn the consequences of not doing their homework which would be having bad grades.

  • Begin partaking in cognitive-intellectual involvement with your child at a young age. Read books/stories to them, have them read books/stories to you, take them to the library, and talk constantly with your child. These types of activities help build upon their receptive language and phonological awareness which will in turn improve their academic achievement (Barger et al., 2019, p. 859).

Parental involvement in schooling: Research Findings

  • Parental involvement directly affects emotional adjustment (Barger et al., 2019, p. 859). This is because parental involvement can have a validating function for the child, where they feel that you care about them, which supports their feeling of worthiness, which may protect the child from developing problems such as depression and anxiety, and protect against delinquency (Barger et al., 2019, p. 859).

  • Parental involvement in children’s homework had a negative association with children’s academic achievement (Barger et al., 2019, p. 868).

  • Parent's help with homework did have a positive association with motivation and engagement, but was only significant for engagement (Barger et al., 2019, p. 868). Helping your child with their homework has a significant positive impact on their engagement with their schooling, but very little with their motivation.

  • Parents school-based involvement had a significant positive effect on children from preschool to high school (Barger et al., 2019, p. 869)

  • Home-based involvement is more important than school-based involvement for academic motivation (Barger et al., 2019, p. 869).

  • School governance is related to children’s academic achievement and participation (Barger et al., 2019, p. 869).

Parental involvement in schooling affects multiple domains of your child’s adjustment such as academic outcomes, social and emotional adjustment. This is why it is so important for parents to start getting involved with their child’s schooling at a young age. Parents are modelling the behaviours/actions they want their child to exhibit. Therefore, if you are an active participant in their schooling, they will be active participants in their learning.

Source: Barger, M.M., Pomerantz, E.M., Kim, E.M., Kuncel, N.R. (2019). The relation between parents' involvement in children's schooling and children's adjustment: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 145(9), 855-890.


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