Does parental volunteering create a strong school culture?
One writer examines whether American parents should get involved at their kids’ schools or focus their efforts elsewhere.
American parents spend a lot of time volunteering at their kids’ schools.
Nearly nine out of 10 attended at least one PTA or other school meeting in the 2011-12 school year, according to data released last week by the Education Department's National Household Education Surveys Program, reports Slate. Six out of 10 participated in at least one school fundraiser.
Slate writer Amanda Ripley took a look at how parents get involved in their kids’ education in several countries. She concluded that in other countries, parents are indeed involved with their kids’ education but are not caught up in bake sales, joining the PTA or attending after-school sporting events like many American parents. Instead, these international parents focused their time and energy on learning activities at home, such as routinely reading to young children or discussing movies and news with their teenagers.
In a 2009 study of parenting in 13 countries and regions, parents who volunteered at their kids’ schools had children who performed worse at reading than parents who did not volunteer. In only two countries, Denmark and New Zealand, did parental volunteering have a positive effect.
More on MSN Living: How do you help your community?
Still, many American parents believe that whether a parent is involved with their kids' education in the classroom or at home, it helps build a foundation for a better-educated child. It also sends a message to your children that education is important.
“When I was home full time I volunteered a lot – once a week or so in the classroom, either with the kids, working on projects, reading or field trips, or doing work to help the teachers – bulletin board, laminating, photocopying,” says Libby Seiter Nelson of Phoenix. “I was also the room mom every year and worked on PTO as our school's volunteer coordinator.”
Now that Nelson’s kids are older and she’s working outside the home, she’s scaled back to a few times a month, helping with parties, etc. “I love seeing the kids in action and also building a closer relationship with the teachers,” she says. “When I was home full time, I felt like I was making a ‘time deposit’ for the self I am now and for the other working moms who wished they could be there.”
More on MSN Living: 6 ways to teach your kids the thrill of giving back
Gina Cohen of Issaquah, Wash., typically volunteers once a month in her son's classroom and at one school party or event per year. “I like being able to interact with the kids that he talks about every day, to see my son in his learning environment and how he acts at school, and frankly, just to show that I care about him,” she says.
Do you think volunteering at your kids’ school has an effect on how much they learn?
Read the complete story in Slate here.
More from Family Room:
Photo: Image Source/Getty Images
That sure is a loaded question! The answer depends greatly on the parent and the child. I used to volunteer at school when my kids were in elementary school. Most of the time I worked in the library or in a different room than my kids. I would eat lunch with my children and they were happy to see me. I generally think parents should not be in their own child's classroom, with the possible exception of a special needs child.
When my son was in Elementary school I did a lot with him and his classes. I let the teachers know that I was going to be involved in my child's education. I seen 6 little kids graduate from kindergarten, and I seen the same 6 young adults graduate together from high school. Funny thing about this was that all of these fine students were in the top 50 students of their graduating class. By chance my son and one of the young ladies started that high school the same year. (My son was home schooled 5 - 8th grade and this other student came from another school.)
News, stories, tips and laughs for moms & dads
When it comes to traveling with the family, "adventure" can mean a lot of different things. Just packing the suitcases for a 3-hour flight can be an adventure of its own. And surviving a 5-hour flight with a toddler? That's a whole different kind of adventure (tip: pack snacks). But when your family adventure is good, it can be is really, really good. Sometimes swimming with dolphins or ziplining through the rainforest is just the kind of vacation that will make you forget all about airport hassle, and will get your kids (even the teens) smiling. From hiking the Rockies to white-water rafting, we've found 11 family adventure vacations that will get the adrenaline pumping without driving you crazy.
When you're expecting a baby, preparations can be overwhelming. Decorating is stressful as it is, and when it comes to nurseries, there are the added concerns of reducing sharp edges, use of engaging colors and -- if you're a believer in the powers of feng shui—optimal furniture placement. Luckily, your favorite fashionable A-listers are here with tons of dazzling baby room ideas. Click through this slideshow for more nursery ideas from celebrities, stylists and just plain fashionable moms.
Our Research Institute scouted out the New York City Toy Fair and spotted a few standouts we predict will be topping wish lists shortly.
When we scoped out the New York City Toy Fair, we spotted everything from human-like robots to kid-friendly DIY projects.
Stroll down any aisle of a Toys"R"Us these days and you'll be confronted with a billion options that are light-years beyond anything you had to entertain yourself with as a kid. Lego cruise ships (complete with flatscreen TVs in the lounge and sideboard jet-skis), battery-operated Mercedes-Benz sedans, and hi-tech tablets with Android operating systems abound. We wondered, as we let ourselves get nostalgic for a moment, if any of the beloved toys we played with as children were still even on the market. Thanks to a quick hunt on the Internet we were able to find that Fisher Price still makes their classic Two Tune TV, and you can still get your hands on a good ol' Slinky. Here's a roundup of the best old-school toys for kids-- we encourage you to click through the slideshow and consider wrapping up a well-loved classic for your little one this year.
Not great with a budget? Don't sweat it. Try these simple ways to save.
Watch the video of Kristen Bell going head to head with paparazzi - it will make you angry
Every year, toy makers from around the world gather to show their latest creations at the Toy Fair in New York City. The high-tech models, gadgets and trinkets on display put those basic Legos we played with at kids to shame. Here are 10 new toys that we'd happily buy or children. Or, really, ourselves.
Find yourself wandering the aisles, suddenly needing an owl-shaped candle while drinking a $5 latte? You're not alone, moms...
Here's some parenting advice for whatever stage of separation or divorce you're in.
Whether you pop it in the mail or post it on social media, a creative photo is a surefire way to grab everyone’s attention and proudly say, “I’m pregnant!” Prepare for a lot of likes.
Remember the magical children’s rooms in Peter Pan and The Little Prince? These timeless novels described spaces that were enchanting and made us wish that we could inhabit the rooms ourselves. The sumptuous interiors that were filled with never-ending toys and fort-like draping may seem like a fairytale, but thanks to four of our favorite kids' furniture websites, the dream could actually become a reality. Click through the slideshow to check out the best kids furniture websites that have everything necessary to create a fantasy room for your little one. And check out Sophia Demenge's super-fun space in the video below. By Barry Samaha