How parents can help their children succeed and stay in school

Aug 27, 2014
How parents can help their children succeed and stay in school
Kimberly Greder encourages parents to set goals for their children to help them succeed academically. Credit: Wyeth Lynch

(Phys.org) —Students are back in school and now is the time for parents to develop routines to help their children succeed academically. Kimberly Greder, an associate professor and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach family life specialist, says parental involvement, more than income or social status, is a predictor of student achievement.

Creating a home environment that encourages learning is the first step to guaranteeing success. Greder says parents need to set high, but reasonable, expectations for the children. Those expectations should not only apply to school achievements, but their future careers. Parents should also be involved in their children's education at school and in the community.

"Involvement means many things, including asking your children regularly about their school day and homework," Greder said. "Make sure your have a regular place and time to study. Visit with teachers and school counselors to understand how your child is doing in school and what you can do at home to help them succeed."

These steps are not only important for overall academic success, but can also help students who may be at risk for dropping out of school. The dropout rate for students ages 16 to 24 was 6.6 percent in 2012, the most recent statistics available from the National Center for Education Statistics. Latino students had the highest drop rate of 12.7 percent, followed by black students at 7.5 percent.

Greder says youth who are most at risk of failing a grade or dropping out of school commonly have parents who have low levels of education, low income, are a racial or ethnic minority, and live in a neighborhood that experiences high poverty. Signs of students who are at risk of dropping out include:

  • High rate of absenteeism, truancy or frequent tardiness
  • Limited or no extracurricular participation
  • Lack of identification with school, which may include feelings of not belonging
  • Poor grades, which includes failing in one or more school subjects or grade levels
  • Low achievement scores in reading or mathematics for two years or more

Greder suggests parents take these proactive steps to avoid problems in school or potential dropout:

  • Regularly talk with your child about his or her school day
  • Encourage reading at home and be a role model to read regularly
  • Talk to your child's teachers and school counselor for updates on grades and behavior, and identify resources available to help your child at school
  • Watch who your child hangs out with and make sure they are doing healthy activities
  • Get your child involved in activities or sports to develop leadership skills and positive communication and conflict resolution skills.

Greder recommends a program such as 4-H that helps youth develop skills to help them at school and throughout life. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach also offers a program that helps Latino youth who are at risk for not completing school successfully graduate from high and pursue higher education. You can learn more about this program, Juntos: Together for a Better Education, at: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/humansciences/juntos.

Explore further: College education not always about what you have

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

College education not always about what you have

Aug 19, 2014

Students who have books and computers at home, who take extramural cultural classes, and whose parents give advice and take part in school activities are most likely to enroll for a four-year college degree. Also, more American ...

Company aims to transform reading instruction

Jun 16, 2014

Just as students receive report cards at the end of each school year, so too does the United States – and the country's most recent report card paints a bleak picture of the current state of reading instruction. According ...

Recommended for you

World population likely to peak by 2070

Oct 23, 2014

World population will likely peak at around 9.4 billion around 2070 and then decline to around 9 billion by 2100, according to new population projections from IIASA researchers, published in a new book, World Population and ...

Bullying in schools is still prevalent, national report says

Oct 23, 2014

Despite a dramatic increase in public awareness and anti-bullying legislation nationwide, the prevalence of bullying is still one of the most pressing issues facing our nation's youth, according to a report by researchers ...

Study examines effects of credentialing, personalization

Oct 23, 2014

Chris Gamrat, a doctoral student in learning, design and technology, recently had his study—completed alongside Heather Zimmerman, associate professor of education; Jaclyn Dudek, a doctoral student studying learning, design ...

User comments : 0