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Posted: July 21, 2012 5:32 p.m.

Getting involved with your child

Newton County has a parental involvement theme school, where contracts are signed pledging to spend a certain amount of time volunteering, reading and spending quality time with your child.

But just because the school system's other institutions don't have contracts requiring parental involvement, doesn't mean they don't encourage it.

Let's say you work long hours and you don't have a lot of time. Maybe you can't go into your child's school and volunteer to help the teachers. There is still plenty you can do with the time you have that will help your child immensely, no matter what the grade.

According to the National PTA Institute, parental involvement is crucial to a child's well-being. It allows children to perform better in school and navigate some of the challenges of growing up more easily, such as bullying and issues with self-esteem. Children who know they always have someone on their side, navigates the halls of their school with more confidence, speaks up more readily and is more likely to get involved.

If you have the time to spend at your child's school, approach his or her teacher a couple weeks into the school year and ask what they need. You will typically find that teachers can always use an extra hand in class. And even if they don't need your helping hands in your child's class specifically, you could always volunteer your time at your child's school in some other capacity. You are indirectly helping your child, you are showing the school that you are committed and you are showing your child that you care about his or her education. Whether it's cutting out paper shapes for the classroom's board or helping shelve books in the media center, it all goes back to helping your child.

But if work commitments don't allow for you to spend time in your children's school, don't fret. Parental involvement at home is just as important -if not more so. Support your child by showing genuine interest in their work and progress. Take time to look at their kindergarten drawings and make a fuss about their beauty. Sit down and go over their homework with them, or just take time to ask - and really listen - about their school day. Your attention will mean so much to them and it will intensify the fact that education is important to you.

Schedule a time to sit down and read a book. Or sit down and talk about any problems they may have. Even high school students need someone to talk to. If you are involved from the beginning they will know, even as a senior in high school, that you are always there, that an education is both important and supported in the home, and they will thrive.

Lastly, talk to the school. Ask teachers and administrators what they think you can do to really be involved in your child's education. Attend school board meetings and learn about what's going on behind the scenes. Your involvement in their lives will mean so much to your children and it will prepare them for future successes.

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