Parents: Parent Resources

Tips for Success

How can you help your child succeed in school? Research shows that children are more likely to succeed if their parents are involved in their education. Parent involvement gets tougher as your kids get older. Teenagers often resist their parents' efforts to help them do better in school. As your child approaches graduation, it's important for you to stay involved. Here are some ideas for things you can do:

1. Lead the way.
Learning is contagious. When your teenager sees you learning- whether it's on the job, taking classes, or reading a book-it sends a strong message that learning is important. Ask your teens to tell you what they're learning and have them explain it to you.

2. Listen to your teen.
Ask your teenager what happened in school and listen without criticizing, interrupting, or being judgmental. Being listened to makes teens feel good about themselves and encourages them to learn and achieve. Try to ask questions that encourage your teenager to answer more than "yes" or "no."

3. Know where to go.
If you don't know something, or have a problem, let your teenager see you being creative in finding a solution. Encourage your children to use the library or the Internet to find answers to their questions and to learn more about subjects that interest them.

4. Encourage your teenager to get enough sleep.
Many teenagers go to school tired and that affects their ability to concentrate in school. Establish a routine so that your teenager gets at least eight to nine hours of sleep each night.

5. Help teenagers make the connection between their education and their dreams.
Often teenagers don't know what is required to meet a particular life goal. If this is the case, they can talk to a school guidance counselor to find out what courses to take and what other education is necessary to achieve their goal.

6. Know what your teenager is required to learn.
Contact your child's teacher or guidance counselor to get a copy of the curriculum. You can also get a free copy of "A Parent's Guide to the Boston Citywide Learning Standards," which explains what students are required to learn in the Boston public schools. It is available in English and Spanish from the Institute for Responsive Education. Call 617-373-4350 or 617-373-2595.

7. Set the stage for success.
What's your teenager's favorite subject in school? What social or cultural activities does she enjoy? Consider what type of academic environment might be best for your teenager. For example, some schools specialize in technical education, others encourage students to explore possible careers. To find out what BPS offers, pick up a copy of "Introducing the Boston Public Schools 2003-A Guide for Parents and Students" at a Family Resource Center or call 617-635-9010.

8. Connect with your teenager's teachers.
If possible, attend open houses or parent-teacher conferences at your child's school. You can also reach a teacher through the school guidance counselor, or often by voicemail or e-mail.

9. Talk about grades.
Help your teenager understand that paying attention in class, doing all the required reading, and studying hard will help him earn good grades. Many teenagers think that grades show how smart they are, rather than how hard they've worked.

10. Keep tabs on homework.
Help your teenager stay on track by supervising school progress. Use a calendar to develop an assignment timeline. It will help your child meet deadlines and show you what has or has not been completed.