The most important thing that parents can do to help children succeed in science is to help them succeed in school. Research shows that children achieve higher grades when family members are involved in their education in positive ways. Children with actively involved families also do better on tests, attend school more regularly, and complete more homework. They have more positive attitudes and behaviors, graduate at higher rates, and have greater enrollment in college. Children's school success is more affected by what their families do to help them learn than by family income. Simply stated, families are the most important influence on children's lives – more so than school or friends.
Every day offers a new opportunity for parents and family members to become involved in their children's education. You don't need to be an education expert to help. Simply showing your children that you care enough to be involved and encouraging them to succeed is a great start. There are many resources that will show you how.
Interested in more? Check out these additional resources!
Easy tips for promoting science exploration
The SEE (Science and Everyday Experiences) program offers easy tips for parents and guardians who want to foster informal science learning.
Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education (ESTEME) focuses on improving mathematics and science education and its website features special sections for students, educators, and families. ESTEME partners include the U.S. Department of Education, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA, and other U.S. government agencies, as well as scientific societies such as AAAS.
- Resources for public outreach and community involvement
This long list of links (with a description of each organization or site) provides parents with information on how they can become involved in their children’s education through community outreach. The list was compiled by the organization Research for Better Schools.
- The Center for Parent Leadership
The mission of the Center for Parent Leadership is to provide parents with the skills they need to become effective leaders and advocates in their local schools to impact student achievement. The Center offers publications, workshops, institutes, and seminars.
Become involved in your local PTA
The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has a special page on parent involvement that will show you how you can help your child succeed.
Tips for parental involvement from the National Education Association
The National Education Association offers a thorough site with information on the great difference that parents can make, along with tips on how to become involved in your child's education, and a resources page with tips on making sense of standardized testing, helping with homework, and more.
Resources on family and community involvement in schools
The National School Boards Association offers a special page for parents and communities full of information on how families can be involved in education, including frequently asked questions and articles on how to get involved sufficiently and well.
Building family-school partnerships that work
The National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education offers extensive information on the difference that parents and caregivers can make in a child's education, and resources on how you can help students.
Doing science with your children
This article provides on doing science with your child provides useful information on when science instruction should begin, how to do science activities around the home and in your community, and more.
Parent involvement reaps big benefits
The "Involved Communities" page of the George Lucas Foundation's Edutopia site features information on how parents' participation in education increases student learning and improves teacher morale.
What parents can do to improve their children's education
The National Science Teachers Association site features a page for parents on what they can do to further their children's education.
Helping your child with homework
This U.S. Department of Education page offers suggestions for parents on everything from how to help with homework to how to talk to teachers to resolve problems.