How can I...

Help Your Children Achieve

"In the end, there is no program or policy that can substitute for a parent, for a mother or father who will attend those parent-teacher conferences, or help with homework, or turn off the TV, put away the video games, read to their child. I speak to you not just as a president, but as a father, when I say that responsibility for our children's education must begin at home." - President Obama

Suggestions for Parents and Guardians

Parents and guardians play a very important part in their children's education. Encouraging children to do their best in school and to complete school assignments well and on time can have a positive impact on children's learning. Research about how children learn shows that a great deal can be done at home to increase their academic performance.

Let your children know how important their work at school is and how interested you are in what they are doing. Talk with them every day about:

What they did at school

What homework must be finished for the next day

What needs to be done on a future project

Here are some suggestions for helping your children in reading, writing, mathematics, and other academic areas.

For Reading and Writing

  • Listen to your children read. Read stories aloud to and with them.
  • Talk about what you and your children are reading. Ask questions and discuss words that are new or difficult.
  • Spend time together, as a family, reading newspapers, magazines, and books.
  • Encourage your children to write lists, notes, thank-you notes, requests, journals, recipes, short stories, and other types of writing used in everyday life.
  • For writing assignments, talk with your children about what the assignment requires; help them list the points to cover. Take your children to the library or help them use the Internet if more information is needed.
  • Set a limit on the amount of time your children watch television or use the computer. Watch and discuss television programs with them whenever possible.

For Mathematics
  • Review homework every day with your children to make sure assignments are completed. Ask your children to explain some of their math problems and how they solved them.
  • Attend classes about mathematics for parents and guardians to prepare for questions that your children might ask at home.
  • Have your children help solve "real" mathematical problems as you play games, cook a meal, or prepare to do a home project.
  • Show your children how mathematics is used in everyday life, including cooking, shopping, making crafts, sewing, and doing home repairs.
  • Help your children read charts or graphs in newspapers and magazines. Read maps when going on a family trip. It is important to help your children apply what they are learning.

For Other Academic Areas

For other academic areas, such as science and history-social science, challenge children to use reading, writing, and mathematics skills along with their knowledge about the subject. As your children read about a subject, ask them to tell you about it. This reinforces what they have learned and promotes the use of their new vocabulary.

Share your interest in any academic area because children become interested in what is discussed at home. Family trips to museums, special television programs, news about a recent scientific discovery, and important world and local events should be shared and discussed. At times, let your children take the lead in talking about topics of interest to them.

Get Involved

Children do better in school when parents and guardians get involved. You can become involved by attending school events, joining parent/guardian groups, and visiting our school's Web site.

Additional information is available on the California Department of Education Program Resources Web page at