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Parent Involvement

A guide to help struggling students'

Manaal Ahmed

Oct 6, 2020

Often times, parents fail to see that their child is struggling in school. This is partly because it is typical of early adolescents to either act out or to completely hide their problems from their parents, who are then perplexed by their low grades or behavioural issues. Understanding the complex character of their child, as well as the school system as a whole, can be a challenge for parents. SOOP has hence created a guide to assist confused parents and help them improve their child’s learning.

Research shows that parents tend to decrease involvement in schools as their child grows but this is the time when it is needed most. As a child progresses, so does the workload. Classwork and homework grow in quantity and intensity, leaving many of them overwhelmed. This, coupled with decreased parent involvement, leads to harmful patterns that severely affect learning. Parent involvement decreases partly due to busy lifestyles that leave little space for regular school visits. On top of that, the school system gets increasingly hard to navigate for parents as grade levels increase. Making appointments or understanding the school curriculum is a task that must not be underestimated. In such situations, it is essential that children must not get neglected by their parents. This guide establishes some basic rules to ensure adequate and meaningful parent involvement in a child’s life.

“First, know what to look for. Research shows that certain patterns are repeated in children that are struggling in schools. Look for either of these in your child.”

Your Child:

  • makes excuses not to go to school or even skips school without your knowledge.

  • doesn’t want to talk about school, or seems critical or uncomfortable when talking about school.

  • doesn’t seem engaged with school — for example, he might not be interested in extracurricular activities or might have very few friends.

  • seems low on confidence or self-esteem — for example, he might say he’s ‘dumb’ or not as smart as his friends.

  • is getting detentions, or teachers are contacting you about attention or behaviour problems

  • refuses to do homework, rarely talks about homework, or seems bored with or unchallenged by schoolwork — he might say he’s not learning anything new

  • is getting lower marks than usual.

  • begins having trouble sleeping or eating.

  • begins misbehaving at school

  • If your child is exhibiting any of these behaviours, there is a high chance he is disturbed at school. This may be because of a multitude of reasons. The most common ones are:

  • he is unable to focus at school

  • He is bored or unchallenged at school

  • He is unable to cope with schoolwork

  • He is being bullied at school

  • He is unable to socialize at school

  • He may have special needs that aren’t being fulfilled

  • To best match the symptoms to the cause, the parent needs to engage with their child. This is a difficult task given that adolescents are very private and may be shy in admitting they are struggling. Effective communication is the key to understanding what problem your child faces. SOOP recommends the following habits. Research shows that implementing these makes it easier for the child to communicate with their parent. Moreover, they create a nourishing atmosphere that aids learning. Most importantly, it bridges the gap between schools and parents that is crucial in parent-child communication.

    This is how to become a more involved parent:

      Provide an environment at home that encourages learning and school activities. This is perhaps the most important step. Make sure that the atmosphere at your home is nurturing and supportive. If the child feels he will be recognized for admitting his mistakes, he is unlikely to speak up. You must be approachable and warm enough for the child to express his concerns.

      Set ground rules for your child at the beginning of the school year. Let them know what you expect from them what time are they supposed to wake up and sleep and how many extracurriculars are expected. Negotiate goals with them that they are happy with and then work together to achieve them.

      Learn about your child’s school. Learn the curriculum, the teachers and administration. What are the subjects being offered? Learn what intensity is required in your child’s grade. Learn about how they measure the progress of their students. SOOP keeps you in contact with the admin and teachers. You can track your child’s progress as well as his assignments.

      Find out about the school’s homework policy. Every school has a separate homework policy. Often different teachers have different homework policies as well. Talk to the teachers and figure out how much homework is expected per week. Figure out how long your child will be spending on homework on average and schedule is activities accordingly. Schedule extracurriculars activities and other recreational activities on a weekly basis depending on his homework schedule. SOOP lets you communicate directly with teachers. There is no need to travel to school now and again. Simply use the app to figure out the homework policy as well be aware of the homework your child is given and when it is due.

      Help your child get organized. Too much homework and activities can overwhelm as a child. It is best if you prioritize and organise them for him. Make a schedule and make sure your child follows it through. SOOP keeps you updated with all the activities happening at school. Our calendar function allows you to make a schedule for your child.

      Attend school events. Being present at school events shows that you care about your child. It boosts their confidence as they feel cared for. It can also strengthen your bond with his teachers and administration. It gives the school an opportunity to discuss any concerns they have regarding your child. SOOP shows all upcoming school events to make sure you don’t miss any.

      Keep in touch with the school and your child’s teachers. Keeps asking teachers about the progress of their child. This is tiresome to do if you have to travel to school every time you want a progress report. SOOP lets you communicate with teachers through our app. You can view your child’s progress and ask questions from the comfort of your home.

      Monitor how well your child is doing in school. Along with asking teachers, you must also ask your child how he likes his school. If he is hesitant or reserved, you can identify a problem quite easily. The first step is to always ask your child. Keep updated with his life. Build a relationship that is supportive, so that whenever your child is feeling overwhelmed, he comes to you rather than hide from you.

    “These simple steps can create an atmosphere where your child feels comfortable enough to confess to you. You are a partner in their learning journey rather than a supervisor, this creates a sense of trust that will make your child more open and expressive with you. Being able to track your child’s progress allows you to view early warning signs even if your child doesn’t tell you. They are warning signs that your child is struggling. The best strategy is to talk to the school and your child and analyze what needs to be altered.”

    “SOOP wants students and parents to become partners in education so that the child is better cared for. This lowers the risk of falling behind or being bullied at school. It is now easier than ever to communicate with the school, so why not utilize this option? We believe in creating accessibility and comfort for the school, the parents, and most importantly, the students. The first step of comfort is connectivity. You must be able to reach out to the school, parent or child at any given time and that is what we deliver. SOOP keeps you connected, always.”

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