By Karen Best Wright, www.RaisingYourGrandchildren.com
I received an email today from a college student who is writing a paper on how grandparents who are raising grandchildren get involved with the children's education. She writes:
I am interested to hear what their obstacles are or have been when getting involved in their grandchildrens education in regards to the law, school staff, teachers,volunteering in the school, the new technology they have to be familiar with, homework, etc.
I can only speak for myself, so I welcome any comments any of you would like to contribute. If a grandparent has legal custody of the children, they will have a much easier time being involved. In some states a grandparent can't even enroll the grandchild in school unless they have actual custody. In other states, all they have to show is that the child lives with them.
As for my own experiences, I volunteer a bit at the school, but haven't had the time nor energy to volunteer on a regular basis. However, I do go to PTA meetings, have good communication with the teachers, and supervise homework. It is important for the grandparent to develop a good relationship with the teachers and school personel. Make sure people know who you are and keep a good attitude about challenges.
I know that some grandparents who are less educated often feel very intimated by the teachers and tend to shy away from much involvement. This is what I have been told in my community. Sometimes schools will put on programs for the parents to let the parents know what is going on and how they can help the children. As much as possible, it is good when grandparents can participate in these programs.
Even though I do not volunteer on a regular basis at the children's school, most everyone knows who I am. (The school is rather small). Outside of the school, I have been very involved in the education process. We read regularly together, work on our grammar, practice our addition while driving in the car (the girls love this), and research interesting topics on the Internet together. I also go to most all parent/teacher conferences. My granddaughters are excellent students with no learning disabilities, so this probably makes it easier for me than others.
When our family is experiencing extra stress, I talk with the teachers and ask them to keep me informed if they notice any changes in the children's behavior or stress level. This lets the teacher know that I care about what is going on, and that I am only a phone call away if I am needed.
I would like to hear from you on ways that have helped you be involved in your grandchildren's education. Feel free to share any challenges or successes that you have had.
A grandmother who loves her grandchildren