Setting Your Child Up For Success
A Guest Column by State Senator Jay Hottinger
August 24, 2016
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A new school year has arrived for students all across Ohio. As the weather begins to change and school buses return to the roads, my youngest daughter started her first day of class at high school. This time every year I am reminded of the importance of parental involvement in every child’s education.  

Each new school year brings fresh challenges and responsibilities for both students and their parents alike. 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 been proven to give children the self-esteem and motivation necessary to succeed academically.  

Parents, you may be wondering how you might take a more active role in your child’s education. The steps that you can take are small but important, and if done consistently can have a dramatic effect on your child’s education.  

If you have young children, it is critical that you read to them daily. It has been demonstrated that reading to your children on a daily basis is the best way to build their 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. Don’t forget to set a positive example by keeping books around the house and letting 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. For instance, you can make sure they’ve completed every assignment, check for both neatness and accuracy and spend time working through areas where your child might be struggling. Make a note of the problem areas and discuss them with your child’s teachers so that you can work together to ensure your child can succeed and grow. Teachers are an important and influential figure in your child’s life and a resource for you. It’s important to get to know them so that you are 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 you also give yourself the opportunity to see where they excel. Volunteering just a few times a week allows you to 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 the importance of preparing your children for school in hopes of giving them the tools to succeed in all of their endeavors. By providing a nurturing home environment you can give your child the keys to a successful future. Your consistent involvement in conjunction with Ohio’s dedicated teachers is the formula for a quality education. In the General Assembly we will continue to work on legislation that makes a positive impact on our school’s ability to provide top-notch education. Ultimately, though, a child’s academic success will always be rooted in the family. I know of no law or funding formula that can instill the love of learning in a child like a parent can.

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