There has always been a buzz surrounding the beginning of the school year.
As a child I remember getting a list of school supplies, heading to the store and picking out an outfit for the first day of school — an important piece of the back-to-school planning for a little girl.
These are things I still enjoy doing with my own kids.
Supporting education and my love of school spirit started when I was young.
I was always on the student council, president of many clubs and active in organizations, such as the National Honor Society, and the student representative on the school boards in high school.
I continue that work now as I watch my children go through our local school system: recently being asked to join the board one of our local schools, being an active member of the School Improvement Council for the school district and vice president of the PTA.
I truly believe that being involved, as much as you can, helps you get a full understanding of the education that our children receive.
Parental involvement is crucial to a child’s education. Not only will children with engaged parents be more likely to earn higher grades, according to the American Psychology Association, but those children will develop greater self-esteem and be better motivated.
A study by the Journal of Education and Practice found that parental support is “associated with a host of positive child outcomes,” noting a “significant and positive correlation” between parental support and self-esteem among adolescents.
A Southwest Educational Development Laboratory project of 51 studies found students with involved parents are more likely to have better social skills; enroll in higher-level school programs; and graduate and go on to post-secondary education.
I am also a proponent of letting my children try something new. I encourage them to test out a new hobby or join a club that has piqued their interest. Being involved in your child’s education includes taking an interest in their after-school activities and encouraging them to try different things.
One of the most important aspects of selecting after-school activities is to allow your children to have an input in making those decisions. They’ll value the opportunity.
I have found that sharing many different opportunities with the kids, allowing them to pick and choose, has always made for a better outcome.
And having children participate in after-school activities often leads to gains in school.
A recent U.S. Census Bureau report shows that children tend to have higher levels of school engagement (more motivated and attached to their schoolwork) when involved in one or more activities, like sports, lessons or clubs.
The report found that 42 percent of children who took lessons were highly engaged compared to 33 percent of children who did not. Of children who were in a club, 39 percent were highly engaged compared to 34 percent who were not.
High school athletes are more likely to expect to graduate from a four-year college compared to non-athletes, according to the Healthy Sport Index, a product of the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program.
There are so many opportunities across the Lowcountry for our children’s education. Being involved in their schooling and giving them an opportunity to engage in activities gives them the best opportunity to succeed.