Education Success Starts At Home
A Guest Column by State Senator Jay Hottinger
August 14, 2015
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A new school year is beginning for students across Ohio. As the weather cools and school buses return to the roads, my own daughters start getting ready for their first day of class. At this time every year, I am reminded of the importance of parental involvement in each child’s education.
Each new school year brings fresh challenges and responsibilities not only for students, but for their parents as well. Widely-published research has shown that students whose parents take an active role in supporting their education perform better in class, stay more engaged and are more likely to stay in school than those whose parents are not involved. Children whose parents don’t consistently spend time with them have lower self-esteem and lack motivation to succeed in class. Parental involvement has statistically proven to give children the self-esteem and motivation necessary to achieve academically.
Mom or Dad, you may be wondering how you might take a more active role in your child’s education. The tasks you can do are simple but important, and if done consistently can work wonders in getting your student excited about learning.
If you have young children, the first and most important step is to begin reading to them daily. This has been proven to be the best way build oral language skills while laying the groundwork for a lifelong love of reading. As your children grow, encourage them to keep reading on their own. You can do this by setting a positive example: keep books around the house, and let them see you get lost in a book of your own!
Parents of school-aged children can make a habit of checking their child’s homework every night. You can make sure they’ve completed every assignment, check for neatness and accuracy and spend time working though problem areas where your child is struggling. Note these more challenging subjects and discuss them with your child’s teacher so that you can work together to ensure your child can succeed and grow. Teachers are important, influential figures in your child’s life and a resource for you, so it’s important to get to know him or her so you feel comfortable asking questions and talking through strategies.
Finally, parents can show their child they care about what goes on in the classroom by volunteering at their school. By spending time in the classroom or at an extra-curricular activity, you not only support your child, but give yourself the opportunity to see for yourself where they excel. Take advantage of your school’s PTO or PTA programs. By volunteering just a few times a week, you can learn more about your child’s school activities, improve communication between you and the school’s administration, and even help with fundraising efforts.
As a parent, you know just how vital it is to prepare your children not only for school but for the rest of their lives. You can give your child the keys to a successful future by providing a nurturing home environment. Your consistent involvement, together with Ohio’s dedicated teachers, is the formula for a quality education. Here in the General Assembly, we will continue to work on legislation that makes a positive impact on our schools' ability to educate. But a child’s academic success will always be rooted in the family. No law or funding formula can instill the love of learning in a child; that must be taught at home.

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