A child with an engaged parent has an advantage equivalent to an extra $1000 in educational resources and gets results equivalent to a child whose parents have an extra four to six years of education, research shows.

Parents who create a special homework space, own lots of books and visit museums, galleries and watch films with their children can help push them to the top of the class.

The research into parents’ influence over children’s learning has found parents possibly even more so than teachers are key to success.

Mums and dads don’t need to understand calculus to get the best from their child. Taking an active interest and facilitating a love of learning is what kids need most.

The improved results included higher grades, making advanced classes, lower dropout rates and greater likelihood of tertiary study.

Schools with strong family involvement were four times more likely to improve student reading and 10 times more likely to improve maths results.

Volunteering at school had little impact, and simply demanding high achievement can instead damage a child’s self-esteem and their marks.

The report, by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, will be examined by federal Schools Minister Peter Garrett, who wants every school to draw up a plan of how they will better engage with parents.

Mr Garrett said parents were the “missing link in education”.

“It’s not just about dropping the kid off at the school gates and then picking them up later on,” he said.

“We want this report to kick-start greater involvement by parents into their child’s education.”

The report said research showed parental engagement dropped off from Year 3.

Making learning fun, linking school work with current events, creating a homework area, providing books and newspapers to read, taking children to libraries, galleries, museums, talks and performances and having family nights were all suggested.

Tracey Thomas, of Craigmore, visited the South Australian Museum yesterday with son Tyler, 7 a regular destination for the pair.

“He loves to look at the animals and crystals,” Ms Thomas said.

“The more you introduce children to other parts of the world, rather than their own little bubble, they will soak in and learn a little bit more.”


By Jessica Marszalek, The Advertiser

Source: Courier Mail – http://goo.gl/PN7gD