Volunteering Past Elementary School: How to Stay Involved in Your Child’s Academic Career

By Nicole Irving

Your child enters kindergarten, and your eyes light up the moment you see the parent sign-up sheet. Your dreams have come true. Countless hours of cutting, pasting, reading, cooking, baking and field trips are just a signature away. The angels sing, hymns play and your calendar begins to overflow with dates of lunchroom volunteering and organizing box tops.

Fast-forward eight years.

Your child walks into the first day of high school, alone. You’re pretty sure there are no field trips that you could sign up for, and box top cutting is a thing of the past. Cupcakes for birthdays garner an “Are you kidding me MOM?!” and any attempt to volunteer in the actual classroom is shut down by words like “exam,” “studying” and “thank you, but no thank you.”

As the kiddos get older, their workload gets greater and their social lives at school become more important. Having a parent around isn’t always ideal. So, the question stands, how do you keep a pulse on your children’s academic environment once they start high school? The following are some fun ways keep involved and informed without embarrassing your kid in front of his peers.

PTA/PTO

This is a great way to get involved and support the school. There are so many ways to be a part of it and on so many different levels.

Sporting events

Friday night football is a classic family fun activity. Who doesn’t love supporting the home team? Many team parents have an opportunity to help sell tickets, as well as man concession stand sales and T-shirt sales. Away games might need  chaperones. Always contact the coaches/ schools for the correct protocol.

Dances

Between homecoming and prom, there may be opportunities to chaperone or help plan school dances. Just make sure your kiddo knows you will be there. Surprises aren’t ideal at this age.

College tours

Many high schools venture out on college tours. This might be a great opportunity for you to chaperone and go along for the ride. You can bear witness to the way your own child reacts to different schools in different areas. Plus, it is a great way to collect lots of materials and knowledge that might not make it back home otherwise!

Business partnership

If you work for a business or own a company that could be helpful to the school, look into becoming a partner. This will allow some inner circle time with the school/kids and let you keep a hand in the game.

Host pre-game/post-game pep rallies. If you are able, this is a great way to stay connected to your student athlete, his teammates and their parents. Host a post-game party at your pool or a pre-game carb party for the runners! The kids will surely appreciate it, and this is a great way to talk to other parents/coaches.