Bright Ideas for Divorced Parents
When we asked our readers how divorced parents can help their kids succeed in school, they responded with many thoughtful comments.
By GreatSchools Staff
Divorced parents support their children's education by communicating effectively with the school and the other parent, and by coordinating both households to run smoothly for homework, field trips, school involvement and parent/teacher conferences.
Build a Strong Relationship With the School
Make sure that the teacher is aware of the custody arrangement.
A Texas stepmother of a high school freshman writes: "The parents cannot assume a teacher knows or has read the application/registration form. Alternatively, teachers must communicate with both parents. The educator must be knowledgeable about the custody arrangements especially since so many are 50/50 now versus the "old-fashioned" every other weekend visit.
"The teacher should encourage both parents to attend open houses/parent-teacher conferences/special events, etc. All of this is to make things easier for the child and not expect the child to communicate between educator and parents or between two parents!
"Teachers should also make an effort to make two copies of all important documents, announcements, classroom directories, etc., to ensure that both parents receive a copy. The educator cannot assume that one parent is sharing that information with the other. Again, this ensures that both parents are involved and keeps the child out of the middle.
"Above all, educators, teachers and parents must be sensitive to the child and how they might feel 'different' from the other children from 'intact' families. This team must work closely to ensure a positive academic experience and a smooth transition from grade to grade."
A Louisiana mother of two girls, ages 5 and 6, writes: "Teachers cannot be expected to keep up with our visitation schedule, but they should be advised at the beginning of school. There is always the form you complete that asks you to tell the teacher something about your child. This is where I mention that she is from a divorced family, and I leave my name, email and all of my phone numbers for the teacher and ask that she advise me via phone or email of anything important that both parents should know about. This way she doesn't just send a note home that may only be read by one parent or may get lost on the way. When I get the call or email, I immediately call their father to advise him before I forget."
Make time to be involved at school.
A divorced parent of two writes: "Set aside some time for school activities. That could mean attending PTA meetings or scheduling a visit to the classroom to observe your child's participation and progress. Both parents need to attend parent/teacher conferences, even if on different days. It's easy to lose focus when feeling pain, but the children should be the focus. Although difficult, it can be done. Both of my children, now grown, attend University of California, Irvine. My daughter is completing her third year and my son his first year! With a 3.0 and above GPA. It worked for me, and it will work for anyone who is dedicated to doing the best for their children."