The Grandparents Guide for Back To School
Schooling the children is a family affair. The grandparents have a role just as important as the parental role. It takes a village, right!
I once saw a bumper sticker which read “If I had known grandchildren were so great, I would have had them first!”
Why should you be involved in your grandchildren’s education? Children are more successful in school when they are encouraged and surrounded by a strong support system. You are a vital part of that system.
How can you be involved in your grandchildren’s education?
Attend open house and meet the teachers. This makes the student feel very special to be surrounded by those who love them in the place which takes up so much of their life. It also allows the teachers to put a name with a face for those many visits you will inevitable make to the school for special occasions.
Get yourself a copy of the yearly events calendar and academic calendar. Having the calendars in advance will make it much easier for you to schedule attendance for all the special events you are able to attend. Having attended Grandparents Day for many years, I’ve seen firsthand, the students who had no one to show up for their special day. Please plan to be there for your grandchild.
Below is an academic calendar which shares important dates for the entire school district. You can print your district calendar online from your Board of Education website. You will need to request the Events calendar from the school your grandchildren attend. Each school will have different events and event dates.
Get your name on the Volunteer Rooster. You may not have time for volunteering at the school but there may actually be a task you could do for the teacher(s) which doesn’t involve actually being present. There is a plethora of volunteer jobs and tasks which must be completed. Even if you have one week available for the entire school year, go for it! Be sure to let your grandchild know each time you volunteer, so they get the joy of feeling special. A few possible volunteer tasks include:
- Classroom (grading papers, reading stories)
- Media Center (shelving books, reading..)
- Field trips chaperone
- Science lab
- Musical assistance
- Lunchroom supervision
- Booster Club activities
- PTA (fundraising, labels for education..)
Write this down. Keep a record of:
- The teacher’s names for each of your grandchildren.
- What time the school day begins officially
- What time the school day ends
- What time the student is considered tardy in the morning
- Lunch time and duration and lunchroom location in the building
- Which days are PE (sadly, PE does not occur every day) If your grandchild is spending the night with you on a school night and the next day is PE, they may require special clothing or shoes.
- The bus number and driver’s name if your student rides the bus
- Request the windshield number for child pick-up at the beginning of the school year. This is a really big deal and of utmost importance. Thankfully, just anyone cannot get those windshield signs! There will undoubtedly be times when you may need to pick the grandchildren up from school. School officials will not be able to release your grandchildren to you without proper identification and the required documents (those windshield number signs).
Go to lunch with your grandchild. Parents and grandparents are regulars in the lunchroom. The staff has accommodations in place already. Many schools have special seating areas to make the student feel special when they have a guest. Some schools will allow you to bring lunch for yourself and the student, others do not allow outside food. Check with the office for the rules at your school. We have 5 grandchildren (all siblings) in 4 different schools. We take turns having lunch with them throughout the school year. Our district does allow outside food, so we take whatever their special request is for the day. School lunches are usually only 20 minutes so it’s important to be on time.
Share your area of expertise. Have you been blessed with the gift of creativity? Are you good at drawing? Are you a math whiz? Whatever your area of expertise may be, share it with your grandchild. They may have a school project which you can help them on. Utilize the Teach me, Show me, Watch me method when helping with a school project. Help out with math homework. Be sure to ask open ended questions to allow the student to reason their way to the correct answer or the method involved in finding the correct answer. What a fun way to spend quality time with a grandchild!
If you can do any or all of these tips to be involved in your grandchildren’s life at school, you will be making a lasting impression on your grandchild. I remember vividly the one time my grandmother sat down with me and helped me with my penmanship!
- Attend open house and meet the teachers
- Get yourself a copy of the yearly events calendar and academic calendar
- Get your name on the Volunteer Rooster
- Write down and keep a record of all the pertinent information pertaining to people, places, times and things
- Go to lunch with your grandchild
- Share your area of expertise
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I'm in love with God, my husband, my two girls and all of my precious grandchildren.
I was 'raised right' in the south and am a firm believer in the Golden Rule. My favorite verse is Romans 8:28.