As a parent, you are your child’s first and most important teacher. As your child moves through the education continuum from preschool to postsecondary education, you are his most important champion. Your continued involvement and encouragement are critical to your student’s academic success. In fact, research shows that students with more actively engaged parents are more likely to attend school regularly, have better social skills, earn higher grades, graduate from high school and go on to college or other postsecondary program.
Part of being an engaged parent is knowing about key academic milestones and what to do at each stage of your child’s academic development. Click on the continuum below to learn about how to help your child succeed every step of the way.
- Birth – Age 5
- Grades K-3
- Grades 4-6
- Grades 7-9
- Grades 10-12
Birth to Age 5
- Read to your child for at least 15 minutes every day and help her practice holding a book right side up, reading from left to right and turning the pages.
- Make sure your child can count from 1 to 100 by having him count household items such as beans, pasta, pennies, etc.
- Help your child learn shapes, colors and names of objects by pointing to objects and asking her to name and describe them.
- Talk positively to your young child about going to school, including college, and the fun of life-long learning.
- Have your student read for at least 30 minutes every day. Encourage her to choose books that she is interested in and ask her questions about what she is reading.
- Talk to your student’s teacher and ask if he is on track to be reading at or above grade level by 3rd grade. Ask how you can help improve or advance reading proficiency.
- Ask questions about your student’s homework and what happened in school every day. Provide a dedicated place and time for homework.
- Make sure your child can add, subtract, multiply and divide simple numbers and that they have mastered the multiplication tables through 12×12 by the end of 3rd grade.
- Set a “no excuses” high school graduation expectation and start talking to your student about the importance of postsecondary education and different types of careers.
- Make sure your child is reading chapter books and can read aloud and silently as well as understand what she has read.
- Ensure your student understands common units of measurement such as length, capacity and angles.
- Ask your child’s teacher if he is on track to be Algebra ready by the 8th grade.
- Make sure your student has an Education and Career Action Plan (eCAP) by the 9th grade and review it each year to make sure he stays on track.
- Encourage your student to enroll in Algebra I by the 8th grade, or 9th grade at the latest.
- Encourage your child to choose books and articles to read that he can write about and discuss with you. Talk with him about them and help him develop his own ideas and knowledge.
- Ensure your student can solve problems involving percentages such as how much to tip to add in a restaurant or how much an item is marked down on sale.
- Ask your student’s counselor about the multiple pathways to postsecondary education available to your student and the entrance requirements. Many students can now take college-bearing credits or certificate programs in high school.
- Have your student take the ACT/SAT in the 11th grade. It’s a great way to gauge how prepared she is for college and career.
- Encourage your student to take more rigorous math and science courses throughout high school.
- Don’t let your student “coast” through his senior year with only a partial course load. It’s proven that a reduced senior year schedule results in a loss of learning and slide on skills necessary to succeed in postsecondary education.
- Talk to your student about career and life aspirations and help him plan his postsecondary path.
- Encourage structured study routines, consistently good grades, and postsecondary completion.
- Check in regularly to track progress and provide ongoing guidance and encouragement.
- Help identify internship and community involvement opportunities to expand skills and post-graduation marketability.
- Encourage your student to take advantage of campus resources to help with academic success.
Parental involvement in student academic success can literally help open the door to opportunities for students and increase the options available to them in the future. The first step is to create a high expectations culture in your home. Here’s how:
- Make student academic success a family priority. That means school comes before
athletics, entertainment and work.
- Set completing college or other postsecondary program as the ultimate academic goal for your student.
- Commit to be actively engaged in your child’s education at every stage – from birth through postsecondary.