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Do You Volunteer in Your Child's Class? Debate with My Friend. Weigh in Please

My friend and I are having a small debate. It is in my opinion that volunteering at your child’s school is essential. She believes a parent’s presence at school or in the classroom would hinder the child’s learning. Basically, be a distraction. By the way, my friend does not work and her son is her only child.

I’ve always volunteer in my daughter’s classroom/school and will plan on doing so in my son’s as well once he starts Kindergarten this Fall. I’m a member of the PTA, I get involved in a lot of activities and events and communicate with the teachers all the time.

My daughter is in the school’s GATE program for gifted children and I truly believe part of her success has been because of my involvement with her education. Not only that but she takes part in all the events.

My friend’s opinion is that my daughter is “an exception”. Her son has always struggled in school so how her presence in his classroom hinders him even further is something I am having a hard time understanding. She did volunteer once when her son was in Kindergarten and when she got home she said it was the last time! Apparently there was just too much going on, kids everywhere, and the kids kept asking her one question after another. O.K. sure that is not for everyone but I can’t help but wonder if she has this opinion or just trying to make an excuse because her one and only experience left her frazzled.

I do notice that not a lot of Mom’s volunteer so is there some truth to her opinion? Is my daughter the exception?

Anyway I told her I was going to ask all you Ladies what you think? Do you volunteer in your child’s classroom? Why or why not? That is if you are ABLE to (have baby at home, work, etc.) There is no right or wrong answer = just opinions.

I’m planning on volunteering in my son’s class regardless just because I enjoy it so I’m really just seeking opinions =-)

Thanks!

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

we're having a debate because SHE is actually the one to give me grief about volunteering. I never bring it up. However, please don't take this too seriously.

Molly = My friend and I actually love debating. It's not always a bad thing and definitely not about one upping =-) Doubt she would ever let it go though! She is one that feels it's her way or no way LOL!

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I don't volunteer at my kid's school because I would have to take vacation from work to do it. I would rather use my limited vacation from work to actually spend the day w/ my child, not in school.

But, I do attend the school's after school functions w/ her.

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I don't volunteer, I don't plan on it. My daughter's time at school is readying her for independency and she doesn't need me hovering over her every second. She doesn't get any benefit from me being there and I feel like the mob of parents around actually makes the teacher's job harder sometimes!

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There hasn't been an opportunity to volunteer in the classroom this year (although in years past, I have volunteered a LOT in their classrooms!), so I volunteer in the library instead. My girls LOVE it when they see me there, other kids come up and ask "are you Kate's mom? are you Anna's mom?" and I get to know their friends that way. I get to see my girls do their thing as if I was a fly on the wall.

Last year when my middle girl was in 3rd grade, I volunteered in her classroom a lot. Besides the fact that the teacher *genuinely* appreciated the help (sorting papers, putting together laminated cards, busywork), it let her know that I was a parent that was available, accessible and approachable. I think it really benefits both my girls to see that I sometimes spend part of my busy day in their school. And I also think it helps the parent/teacher/school relationship if they get used to seeing you around the school. I'm able to keep communication between the school and myself open, I can approach them with any concerns I might have more easily.

I really only see benefits to volunteering in their classroom or school. As a SAHM, I consider it part of my job: being involved in my kids' school life, and I consider myself very lucky to be able to do this while I have the chance.

But ask me again in a few years when my girls are in middle school. They'll probably pretend they don't know who I am when they see me around school!

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I am realizing you all think we volunteered in the classrooms all of the time.. I never actually helped in the classroom. Some parents did, but I was mainly working behind the scenes. We had a teacher workroom, that teachers could leave projects, they asked for help making copies, Cutting out shapes or lamination.. organizing homework packets, we volunteered in the office, Library, lunchroom. So most of the time, my child did not even know I was in the building.

We helped the Principal, the asst Principal, the Nurse, the Counselor, the special area teachers (they do not have homeroom parents).. with lots of their projects. We took New parents on tours of the school. We took care of the school information sign..

I did tutor, but for children not in my own child's grade. I was asked to go on field trips many times, because I knew so many of the children and other parents.

So please understand, there are 100's of ways to help in your child's school and it is not always actually in the classroom or even for their grade level.. We are not hovering around our or your children children at all. That is how I can tell some of the responses are not from parents that have actually volunteered in their children's schools yet. You are assuming, but it is not like that in most schools. Teachers need to be able to teach, If they need a parent in the classroom, that is completely different from just volunteering for the great of the good for the entire campus..
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Here is what I have observed. Yes, the students that have parents, moms or dads, step parents, even grandparents that help up at school and in the classroom, really do better. It shows the child that their education is important.

There are exceptions I am sure, but I cannot think of one parent, that I recall volunteering that their child did not end up graduating and doing really well in school. Maybe your friend should volunteer to help at school, but not in her sons actual classroom?

Now when you get to middle school, your children are going to tell you they do not want you there. I used to remind parents to tell their children,
"I am not there to visit you, I am there to help in the office, Library.. whatever... here for a meeting.". I made a deal with our daughter, unless she said something to me first, I would not say anything to her in the middle school halls.. Of course her friends would call out to me or run up and give me a big hug.. Then she was more comfortable with me there.

In High school there were tons of parent volunteers again.. It goes so fast and there is so much help needed on all school campus's.. They cannot get everything done with out our help.

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Well, I dont know if your daughter is gifted b/c you volunteer in her class, I'm sure your investment in her education started way before she started K, so I'd actually give yourself a bit more credit for that in the early years. That being said, I do think that volunteering in the classroom is almost always a positive thing for both parent and child. When I taught school (3rd grade) the kids loved to have their parents there helping out. It made them feel cool and special, even if they tried to pretend it didn't. Sometimes if a parent was "volunteering" b/c their child had behavior issues, the kid wasn't too thrilled but it did send a strong message to that child that their parent and teacher were on the same page and that mom and/or dad were invested in them and their learning. The only time I would say it would be "bad" to have a parent volunteer is if they are inapporpriate in any way during the day...ie: bad language, putting their kid or other kids down, that kind of thing. I would imagine that is pretty rare, but it happens. If your friend isn't a person who interacts well with kids, maybe they could give in other ways that would benefit the class but not be so much "in the class". Good for you for volunteering and keep encouraging others!! :)

Oh and this isn't really your question, but I wanted to add that in my experience, parents who do volunteer their time and interact with the teachers even if they aren't always present at school, have better behaved and "smarter" kids. They aren't always in the gifted programs and certainly aren't always "angels" but they, both the kids and families, value education and the process and it shows.

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I think it depends on the kid and the school. I volunteer at my son's school whenever I can -but not in his class during class time! It IS a huge distraction for him, and he always misbehaves if I'm there. It's the same at church. I volunteer to teach any RE class they have -but not my son's! Some kids are just wired that way. It's fine if I go on a field trip or help out at some after-school event. Since I'm usually working full-time, I don't have time during the school day anyway, but I offer to pick up extra supplies for the teacher if I'm going by a Michael's or something. There are lots of ways to help out, so I think it really depends on the situation.

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Yes, I am able to volunteer. So, yes I do. I enjoy it & my son likes seeing me at school. My son's class has 3 "parties" per year and I go in for that. I also get involved in lunchtime once per month.

That said, I think there is an entire class of moms who are über-involved because they just can't stay away! I think kids learn an important lesson when school becomes "their" world during the hours they are there.

It's the moms that go in twice, three times per week to help do bulletin boards, make copies, ever-hovering, etc, etc, etc that I think is unhealthy. It's like they can't bear to take that leap of letting the kids be independent or something.

I also think it depends a lot on the kid him/herself. Some children probably do find it distracting. Sounds like your doesn't.

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I agree with your friend. Other than the rogue field trip or sending in refreshments for an event, I do not volunteer *in the classroom* per se (work FT) and none of my children has suffered for it. I don't think there is any correlation at all between a child's academic success and having mom there reading to a group or drilling flash cards. And I absolutely see her point about how for some children, it would be way too distracting and would hinder the learning process. For example, I teach my 1st grader's Sunday school class and he is a total nightmare for me - pushing limits, talking non-stop, etc. He's far and away the worst kid in my class, but in "real" school, he's great. Unless I'm there (they have "writers' breakfasts" before school several times a year) and then he acts up. So don't invalidate her experience.

I am very involved in my children's schools outside of the classroom, mostly through PTO events. I go to meetings, head up committees, and am on the board at one school. I like to feel connected and it gives me a good way to find out who is who so I stay in the loop and find out if my kids - especially the middle schoolers - are hanging out with delinquents, etc. I can also easily use my corporate skills for the benefit of the schools. This is important to me, but it doesn't make a lick of difference for the kids (other than people telling them "I know who your mother is and if she finds out what you just did you'll be in big trouble" ;-) ).

While volunteering in some way is important and beneficial to me, I have plenty of friends who don't help out with anything (unless I drag them to an event and promise them wine afterward) and their children are excellent students who thrive academically, socially, and in extra-curriculars. So the bottom line is continue doing what you're doing because you enjoy it and it's important to you, but don't take credit for your daughter's success over it or attribute someone else's child's struggles to lack of literal involvement in school. When they talk about the importance of parent involvement in school success, that means helping out at home, being aware of what's going on in school and taking action as appropriate to ensure that the child is able to perform to the best of his or her abilities.

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I did volunteer when my kids were in pre-k and kindergarten. I did not work at the time. It can be difficult to get involved with school though I do think that being involved with your child's education is very important. If you cannot volunteer, then helping your child outside the classroom also helps. My kids are in one or other higher learning classes. They get excellent grades as well. Do I think it has something to do with the way I handle their education? You better believe it. I do not tell my kids, do your homework and you can go outside or whatever it is they ask to do. I make sure homework is done, preferrably neatly (though I am sometimes just glad to have legible), make sure reading is done--by my terms not the school's. 20 minutes is not much for 6th grade so I say at least 40 minutes unless it is the first or a rare nice day out. I also make sure the teachers know from the first days of school that I will send notes or emails or whatever if I see anything that concerns me, if I think someone might be slacking off, or if I just want to know how they are doing. I do not wait for report cards or status reports mid term. Although I expect my kids to be responsible at thier age for their homework and school work etc, I know it is easy to slip up and then not know how to catch up. In my house, I have a rule. There are NO EXCUSES. There are reasons, but no excuses. Forgetting homework is an excuse. Sorry, no. Forgetting a book, excuse. Nope. But getting sick at school and sitting in the nurse's office or having to come home early so you end up not knowing what to bring home, reason. But I do want things made up. It all depends on how you are involved, not necessarily where. If you accept your child to fall behind, they will not bother to catch up or excel.

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You are 100% correct and there have been studies to prove it. Kids do much better when their parents are active participants in there education and that means being present at the school from time to time. I will never for the LIFE of me understand how some parents don't feel this way.

And you know what....you can absolutely tell the kids of the parents who care enough to be involved. It is not by accident that they are excelling academically, socially and have more overall self-confidence.

Lastly- I LOVE being in my kid's school. I get such a kick out of the kids-to me that is far more rewarding than anything that I have done in my life to make money. you get one turn on the swing of life and it will go by quickly.

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I definitely volunteer as much as possible! My oldest is in first grade and she absolutely loves me coming. At the same time, she almost ignores me once I'm there and goes about her business. I don't think I hinder her at all and honestly probably give her a bit more help than other kids if she needs it. Or I at least check in how she's doing more than once. I've never heard of it hindering a child - maybe once they were in junior high or something and embarrassed. Our public school really needs parent volunteers. When I'm there I see how hard it is for the teacher to answer each individual question, give guidance etc.

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I do not think your child is an exception. I have been volunteering in my daughter's class since she started school and she pretty advanced for her age also. I do think your friend is just trying to make excuses. Granted not everyone who volunteers have kids that end up being very smart but I think it gives parents an idea of the class dynamic and brings to light what areas your child might be struggling at in other to help her before it's too late. Keep it up mama.

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I don't volunteer at my kid's school because I would have to take vacation from work to do it. I would rather use my limited vacation from work to actually spend the day w/ my child, not in school.

But, I do attend the school's after school functions w/ her.

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My perspective:

Last year, I had my son in my preschool group for a six month session. It was probably the most conflicted 6 months in our relationship. Many children don't know how to "be a student" when mom's around, and want to engage with her as her child, which includes the home dynamic. For these children, the parental presence *is* a hindrance, and no one is necessarily to blame. I was elated the day I sent him off to his own preschool, because there were no mixed messages for him, and he could do 'class' on his own, with teachers I trusted. We are by far the better for it. On days he does have to stay with me for my preschool group, frankly, sometimes, I'd rather eat thumbtacks.

And of course, there are those children who roll with it and are fine with it. I personally was always comfortable when my mom was in my class group as youngster. But not all children share those feelings. I don't think your daughter is 'the one exception', she just is more comfortable with it, and there are some children like her too.

From what your friend described, she may not be temperamentally suited to doing in-class work with children. Not everyone is comfortable with this. Some parents would rather do other types of support work. Me? I teach preschool, but when it comes to the time when my son is going to school, I will be volunteering for less in-class type work, and more support (stuffing envelopes, admin) type jobs. I might help do reading tutoring with children of another classroom, but I certainly don't think I want to be in my son's class unless our dynamic radically changes.

It sounds like you are very driven to be as involved as you can in your daughter's education, and that's great. Just remember, everyone has their own comfort levels. There's a great book called "The Wall Between Women", which focuses primarily on the stay-at-home/working mom dichotomy and parent volunteering is one subject which is continually a touchpoint/hot topic between parents. Some people have very strong opinions about this issue, and this book provides insight into both 'sides' without taking sides.

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When my oldest dtr was young (preschool and K), my presence did hinder her socially. At one party, I was in charge of a game/activity and was having the kids take turns. She wanted me to treat her special (go first, first pick at the prize etc). When I enforced "fair" rules, she had a meltdown and would not engage in the remainder of the party. After that incident, I made sure my involvement was outside of classtime such as helping the teacher with photocopying etc.

Now that she is older, it is not a problem and she enjoys my involvement.

I see both sides. I guess it depends on your child.

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I don't volunteer, I don't plan on it. My daughter's time at school is readying her for independency and she doesn't need me hovering over her every second. She doesn't get any benefit from me being there and I feel like the mob of parents around actually makes the teacher's job harder sometimes!

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I feel that volunteering for my childrens school is essential. Here is why: most classes these days have a very large ratio of children to teacher. If the teacher is very very lucky, she might have a teacher's aide who comes and helps for a few hours a day. Even with that help, there are just too many kids to give as much 1 on 1 attention as is needed to give. If parents do not volunteer and come in and help, then field trips and art projects are pretty much out of the question. In addition, parent volunteers also can bring a different point of view. For example, I go in once a month to help the kindergarten class with "rotations" which is where they have 4 groups of 6 children going to different learning stations for 15 minutes. Last month, my job was to help them make Model Magic figures of themselves. To me, it seemed very basic to teach and it went really well. The teacher was amazed because the figures turned out better than they ever had (she has been teaching a long time). I explained the directions I gave to the children and it was very helpful to her. I have a background in art, so teaching the kids how to do an art project was no sweat for me, where it was a big stressful deal to her.
I also bring my 3 year old when I volunteer. She is very well behaved when we go out. While there is a small distraction when my Kindergartner sees us come in, and of course a small distraction when the other children see a 3 year old, I think the distraction is far outweighed by the benefits of the kids being able to spend some time in smaller groups and to learn from someone different from their teacher.

Also, Moms, talk to your kids' teachers; it is really sad with the budget cuts how they can barely afford teaching materials. The teachers really have to stretch every dime. If you are not able to actually go in and volunteer in the classroom, which is understandable, please consider donating supplies to your teachers. Ask them what they are low on, or if you see a sale on craft supplies, by all means buy and donate them! Not only will you be helping YOUR child by helping to enrich his/her classroom experience but you are also helping dozens of other children.

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I volunteered in my daughter's preschool class during a period when I was laid off. I enjoyed it. I don't think it mattered to my child, but I could easily see how it would effect some children in a positive way and other children in a negative way. It really depends on the relationships and dynamics of parent/child/teacher and other classmates.

So as far as the debate, your opinion is right for your child, and your friend's opinion is right for her child.

As far as being involved in your child's eduction (PTA, chaperoning field trips, helping out in the office, attending school events, etc) has a huge impact on the child's education. Thoughout elemtary and middle school, I noticed that the 15 or so parents that were regularly involved, 10 of those students were at the top of the class.

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I think that it is important to be active with your children. Whether that is volunteering at school, boy/girl scouts, coaching, music, dance whatever. I am a coach and GS Leader. I cannot volunteer at school as I work outside the home, so I do the other to ensure my daughter knows that I want to be involved with her. When my son is old enough I will do volunteer for those activities equal to his sisters.

I do think it hinders them when parents are not involved in some sort of volunteer role with them. But I don't think it has to be limited to school.

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The bottom line here is this, if the teacher wants and needs volunteers, they'll ask. In addition, not all parents should volunteer. Some adults just don't enjoy being around children (other than their own maybe) and should find another way to help the school if they choose to. I volunteer in my daughters kinder classroom every Tuesday for 2 hours. I'm one of about 10 parents who volunteer in the classroom and are essential in helping the teacher. We work with the kids individually, help cut up projects etc. My daughter loves having me there and is never distracted because I've made it clear to her why I'm there. In addition, I also work as a playground monitor during lunch recess everyday. My son (6th grade) and his friends absolutely love having me there. But of course I'm slightly different than some of the other monitors they have because I actually interact and play with the kids. So this goes back to what I was originally saying, only those who truly enjoy being around 'all' children should volunteer their time to be there. Otherwise, you really are just a distraction, in my opinion :)

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I taught in public elementary schools for 5 years before becoming a SAHM (2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades). I never once had a parent come to my classroom to help me do anything. I actually felt a little weird whenever an adult was watching me teach. I felt like I was being critiqued and judged. I would personally prefer a parent NOT be in my classroom, but rather help me make photocopies, punch out die-cuts, decorate bulletin boards, etc. That being said, perhaps Kinder I would want an extra helper. Who knows. If you friend wants to volunteer or has time to do so, I suggest she ask what ELSE the teacher needs help with - coming in for storytime to read for 20 minutes, arriving every day to help watch the kids during their playground time, alphabetizing papers, etc.

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I was a school teacher so I always encouraged a lot of parent participation, especially field trips. Teachers are so short-handed for help due to budget cuts and so forth that we would always feel blessed as a grade level when there were great parents committed to helping us out on a consistent basis-reading with kids, helping prepare project materials, extra practice on other key skills with kids, etc. Some teachers would tell me they didn't prefer parents to come along on field trips because their children's behavior often changed and not for the better. I didn't always agree with this perspective. I feel the more parents, teachers and students work together to create a cohesive relationship in the child's educational career-regardless if the student was gifted, average or had special needs- it was vital to their success!
I agree with you 100% but understand that many parents are unable to volunteer due to work schedules and other responsibilities. If a parent was a distraction to their child, then we simply had them work some place else that wasn't a distraction. Easy fix! Kindergarten CAN be overwhelming, so I could see that probably did happen! Maybe she could try again in an older grade where the kids have longer attention spans and aren't buzzing around the room quite as much. It isn't for everyone that is for sure, but helping out just by cutting out project materials or putting up bulletin boards is a huge help as well! :-)
A.

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I have one child who liked it more when I was there than the other one did. Nevertheless, I did it for both.

I do think when you volunteer at school you are a bit more "plugged in" to what's going on.

We homeschool now so it's a moot point for us. :P

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You do not need to be IN the classroom to help. I think it is the best thing for your child's education. Right now there is no $ at school, so for one of the teachers I can in and prepped stuff, xeroxed, bound, hole punched, laminated etc....I wasn't IN the classroom. I also like to know what is going on. If the school isn't clean enough, disorganized, who my kids are hanging w/. Right now I do HW for 1 class, and the library for another. Plus PTA. neither are all that involved. but, I am on campus.

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I think it is such a wonderful thing to volunteer. I give 4 hours a week to my child's kindergarten class. He was shy in 4K and hated school with a passion. Me being there with him this year has made enormous progress. I don't even have to walk up to the play ground with him in the mornings anymore. His teacher this year followed through with letting the parents come in to the room and help. His teacher last year threatened him that I couldn't come in if he didn't do things for her. I think that put a damper on things. He comes to me and discusses things that go on when I am not there more than my hubby because we have that connection (meaning I am involved in their daily activities). His behavior is the same as the other kids. They all act up they just have their days. They do things in the class room I would never know about if I didn't see it myself. He has an amazing teacher who lets me help with everything they do. I always wanted to be a teacher so I really enjoy it. As far as his behavior, he became the first one done with all of the projects my group does since I've been going in there. It's important to show your children that you care about their school, that you are interested in what they do there, and to volunteer. If you volunteer, you're child will most likely follow in your footsteps some day. Their friends get to know you and you get to know them. The hugs are so worth it and their stories!! Don't get me started. If you work and can't help out much, try to go in for lunch sometime or make a special day to go in and help once in awhile. Kids love when the parents come in. I support you 100%! I was going to go back to work this year until I found out that I was picked to be the classroom helper. This is way better than any other job to me!

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There hasn't been an opportunity to volunteer in the classroom this year (although in years past, I have volunteered a LOT in their classrooms!), so I volunteer in the library instead. My girls LOVE it when they see me there, other kids come up and ask "are you Kate's mom? are you Anna's mom?" and I get to know their friends that way. I get to see my girls do their thing as if I was a fly on the wall.

Last year when my middle girl was in 3rd grade, I volunteered in her classroom a lot. Besides the fact that the teacher *genuinely* appreciated the help (sorting papers, putting together laminated cards, busywork), it let her know that I was a parent that was available, accessible and approachable. I think it really benefits both my girls to see that I sometimes spend part of my busy day in their school. And I also think it helps the parent/teacher/school relationship if they get used to seeing you around the school. I'm able to keep communication between the school and myself open, I can approach them with any concerns I might have more easily.

I really only see benefits to volunteering in their classroom or school. As a SAHM, I consider it part of my job: being involved in my kids' school life, and I consider myself very lucky to be able to do this while I have the chance.

But ask me again in a few years when my girls are in middle school. They'll probably pretend they don't know who I am when they see me around school!

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I think it is essential to be involved in your child's education and school activities. For some that is volunteering in the classroom, helping out with fundraisers, or participating in the PTA. For others, it is all of the above. Sadly for others it is none. I want to do ALL but due to working full time I typically can't volunteer in the classroom but do try to get there for special events. If I can manage it, when my daughter starts school, I would love to be able to volunteer too.

I think the kids actually like their parents to volunteer (at least when they are still in elementary school) but I can see where some kids may find it distracting but that is probably the exception. Also, some parents are not cut out to be in the classroom around a bunch of kids (but they could volunteer in the school doing things like copying etc).

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I have 3 kids--my oldest is in kindergarten. I volunteer every chance I get. I do a craft once a month, go on every field trip, eat lunch with him 1-2x a month, etc. I also donate things to the class when there is a need. The teacher mentioned that they needed a new cd/tape player and I bought it that night! I am a SAHM and have to find someone to watch my younger two, but I love to do it. I was also an elementary school teacher before becoming a SAHM, so part of me misses being in the classroom. If you enjoy it, do it!!

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I think it's good to be involved in whatever capacity you can muster, but what is going to be best probably depends on the child as well as the parent. Some kids might get too distracted with Mom or Dad there, or expect special treatment, or hog their attention away from the other kids, so maybe the parent is better off helping out "behind the scenes". Some parents work full-time and having the time to be in the classroom is difficult. Some parents would have to pick and choose between their kids and whichever kid didn't get Mom volunteering in the classroom would have their feelings hurt (this is what happened with my cousin and her 2 kids). Some parents are fine with their own kids, but other peoples kids drive them nuts (like my mom!).

To each their own...if the parent is already involved in the sense that they care about their child's education and show up for parent-teacher conferences and make sure their kids are getting homework done and doing what is expected of them in school, those kids will probably do better academically than parents who can't be bothered to pay attention. That might play more of a role in their success than whether or not the parent actually volunteers.

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Well she has her own opinions on it.
to each her own.

I volunteer. My daughter loves it.
It is NOT a distraction.
I don't make myself a distraction.
Her Teachers love the extra help.
Its fine.

And I get to know the other kids in the classroom too.
Which is good, for a parent to know.
The other kids, KNOW me so well. And they wish their Moms could help too. Some even told me that.
But not all parents can help.
Its fine.
No judgment. So the other kids don't feel awkward.

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Your are absolutely correct in thinking that parents make a HUGE difference in their child's academic performance! I have always volunteered in my kids' classrooms (that is up until the time parent's are welcomed in the classrooms - it changes in middle school - my kids are 13, 10, & 7). My boys are both GATE students (my daughter is still too young for GATE), as are most of my friends' kids who are closely tied to the school. Coincidence? I think not! Though it doesn't work for everyone, in general the rule stands that kids' who's parents are involved in the school do much better than those who do not.

With the shortage of funds these days, the teachers really need the extra help, and you being there shows your daughter how seriously and how important her education is to you. Congrats to you!

I say, if you can do it - do it! If you can't due to work, etc., then that's ok too. There are other ways to stay involved. (I also do PTA) I don't judge others but I know that in my case, it's made a HUGE difference!

God bless :)

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I think it is great to volunteer if you are able. I work and can't volunteer as much as I would like by try to make an occassional class party or field trip. I would do more if I could and my son loves it when I can. I guess every kid is different so maybe some kids would get too upset when the parent went to leave or whatnot. Sounds like she is just not a kid person. Some people just don't do well with other peoples kids and if it is too overwhelming for her then I guess volunteering isn't right for her. If you enjoy it, get along with well with children and can I think it's great. If not, then best to help in other ways. Great topic to think about thought, and great that you and your friend have such a good relationship that you can openly debate without hurt feelings!

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I volunteer once a month because I think it's important to show my child I am invested in his education and willing to take time away from my job to support him. Is he distracted? Sometimes. But there is nothing to say he wouldn't be distracted if I WASN'T there.

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I always did it, until they were too old. The boys, especially, liked it. They were not distracted in class because of it.

At my kids' school, parent participation was mandatory, and I never noticed it affecting any of the kids negatively when their parents were there. Your friend's son is the exception, not your child.

Enjoy volunteering.

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School for me is my children's chance to be independent, and learn to deal with things without me around. I cannot be at everything, so, this helps them learn that. I always tell the teachers that I can help with anything, and they have asked a few times. My children are involved in everything they can be involved in. My oldest daughter has only received 2 B's, the rest all A's, and she is in 5th grade. She has won numerous academic achievement awards, and participated in UIL for several years. All of this with only my 'moral support' and me not being there.
My second daughter is in 1st grade. She would do horrible if I was there. I know just because of the field trips I've been on. She's way too clingy, and cannot stand for anyone to get my attention besides her. Even me saying hello to another of her friends sets her off.
For me- I want my children to learn to be individuals. I think they act and develop their own personalities more without me being around. So, I feel it better that I send them and pick them up. My mom wasn't around when I want to school, and personally, I would have hated if she was. I loved having my 'own' time without feeling like she was watching my every move!
At the same time- I talk to their teachers all of the time, and I am very hands on with their schooling. I don't have to be there every day, or every week to know what is happening with their schooling! Email and phone calls work just fine for keeping up with any issues that may come up. I even have a few teachers on facebook. Small town also. :)

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There are so many benefits to volunteering for yourself, child, teacher, school, etc. But, it is not for everyone...I'm borderline, but I do it because my son had to start a new school mid-year and he's a little shy and not transitioning as well as we hoped. It's great that you volunteer and attribute your daughters success to that, but "she" is gifted and would thrive regardless.
Be careful not to make your friend feel like:
volunteer=successful child
non-volunteer=struggling child
She could be feeling a little of this and may not be telling you. You think she would take the opportunity to volunteer more under the circumstances (only child, struggling, stayhome mom, etc), but maybe its hard for her to see her son struggling in class and she might be more comfortable with her blinders on. You never know, just another perspective. Good luck!

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I have always volunteered in school, starting in pre-school, and my kid's are in HS and MS now. I chose a Charter school for Elementary and MS, that in order for my kid's to go there I had to sign a contract that I will volunteer a minimum of 54 hours a school year. My daughter was always fine with me in the class, and she struggles in school. Now she's in HS and really doesn't want me there though, so I volunteer ifor the school's gala and such. My son does well in school but he shows off when I'm in the classroom so I don't volunteer as much in there, but will plan all the field trips. I think your friend doesn't like volunteering in the classroom, and it's really not for everyone, so she justifies her not doing it by saying it's wrong and arguing w/ you.

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Hello, I have four grown kids, ages 33 to 43. I volunteered in their classes, worked at the two youngest kids' school and now I volunteer at my grandsons' elementary school. I volunteer in the youngest grandson's class with computers, in a kindergarten class where I have no grandkids, and in a reading program. The kids all know me as "Grandma K.". My older two grandkids had me volunteering in their classes when they were in elementary school and when my granddaughter gets there, I will be there with her. Right now I also take my granddaughter to a "Buddy" class at her Special Ed school. I get so much more than I give out of this. Your child is proud to have you there. I see it in my grandkids and the other children whose parents volunteer. My grandsons are all gifted and the oldest is in High School taking all excelled classes making mostly A's. They are all confident and well adjusted. Your friend is missing out on an important part of her son's life, but that is her loss (and his). However, volunteering is not for everyone, so just enjoy what you do and know that your children will always remember that you were there.
Good luck with your precious family.
K. K.

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My opinion is that your child DOES feel "special" (especially in the early years) if a parent is involved with school activities. I wasn't always available because I had to work full-time, but both my husband and I were as involved as possible with the PTA and volunteering. Last year I was voted Chairperson of the High School PTA (I think you guys call it Senior Secondary School) and my husband was Treasurer. My son is now 18 and my daughter is 15yrs old, and both of them told me that they really liked it that we were involved (especially when I worked in Tuck shop)! Now they asked us to "back off" - so we only attend the Parent - Teacher meetings but no longer do volunteer work. Like you so rightly said, there's no "right" and "wrong" regarding this topic. It boils down to you and your child - whatever makes you both happy. Enjoy this special time with your kids!

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i would say that it totally depends on the kid. sounds like you're both doing what is best for your kids (and for yourselves!).

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My first day volunteering in kindergarten was much the same as hers, very overwhelming! LOL But I stuck with it b/c I appreciate knowing what my child's day is like in class, how the teacher explains things, her 'verbiage', etc. After a few weeks, things settled down and from then on, it was very enjoyable and I LOVED having the kids wave 'hi' to me before and after school, and getting to know all of them during class was wonderful too.
My parents and inlaws were all teachers, as were several grandparents. It's in our blood ;-) They all say the same thing - parent involvement is ALWAYS better than not. 100% of cases, 100% of kids.
Enjoy this time with your little one(s) as it goes by fast... :-)

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I don't get a chance to volunteer in class often because of work issues but I am on the PTA and help out at anything out of work hours. I agree with you, I definitely think its a good thing for your child. For her - she loves seeing me with her teachers and other staff, makes her feel special and encourages her to work hard (she loves when the teachers are praising her to me. lol) For me - because I work, I feel i still have my finger on the pulse of whats going on at school, I get to know staff, other parents and there kids. Volunteering is not for everyone but your friend shouldn't criticize. It sounds like it was a bit too much for her!! :-)

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Volunteering is not everyone's cup of tea. She does only have one child, there might be a reason for that also. One is enough, more children just plain make her crazy. Life is about choices and she has made hers.

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IMO being involved in some capacity with your kids' school is important, whether it's in the classroom or 'behind the scenes' (our school has plenty of opportunities to help out that don't involve being *in* the classroom, like planning meetings, parents club, administering/coordinating afterschool classes, etc.). Some kids do fine with their parents helping in their classroom, some don't. Some parents enjoy working with kids, some feel they're better suited for handling accounting for parent's club - it takes all kinds :-).

I personally enjoy volunteering in my kids' classrooms (I have twin 3rd graders) - I enjoy interacting with the kids and feel I've learned a lot from observing how their teachers interact with the students. Besides, I figure I've got to enjoy this time now when 1. They're learning stuff i still remember how to do; 2. They aren't embarrassed about being seen with a parent and actually seem to enjoy my being around. :-)

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yes i volunteer, but my presence has nothing to do with my kids' excelling in school. there are other kids whose parents do not volunteer and they do just as well. i think too much volunteering can also be a negative. Constant presence with teachers and administration can lead to unnecessary aggrevation. I volunteer during recess and snack time. My kids are in first grade. They do extremely well in school. I plan on not volunteering in the future. Kids' success is guaranteed when you spend your time at home with them going through schoolwork and homework, and any extras you may find they need to work on. So, in this situation, I think your friend is right.

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Keep up the good work, Mom! I volunteered in my only child's (son) classes every year from K-5th. After that, it wasn't "cool" for me to be at school, but I let the teachers know that I would help if they needed it.
Please don't let your "friend" discourage you. She is mistaken. You can never relive those early years.

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=( I think I am missing something, do youmean volunter in like dances or after school activities? If so I do volunteer some times now but I use to be there more when she was younger. I would be there in almost all extra activities.
But I have the feeling you are talking about volunteer at class time.
Honestly I didn't even knew you could do that, I don't even understand what is your roll if you do. Like, do you actually help the teacher to teach, or just hang papers to the kids, observe or what?
I have never being part of the PTA, but me and my husband have being there more than other parents that are in the PTA.
Like in trips, I normally will go even if I am not in the PTA, or offer to stay at the dances, go to all science fairs and try to help, etc.
If I could went to the class I would had went every once in a while but not always, and at this point (my daughter is 13) I wouldn't stay in her class looking at her, I think she would feel pressured.
I think you can be part of your kids education on many ways, when she was little I was working and I couldn't go anyway, but she is a great student and she is like that most of it because she is smart and because we talk a lot about how important it is.

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I think volunteering in the class while your children are young is wonderful. It's good for them to see you involved and interested in what they're doing. It's good for the teacher to get some help, so therefore, good for all the students as it gives the teachers more time to focus on the important stuff.

I intentionally chose a co-op preschool for my son because I really wanted to be involved. Many other schools I looked at said that no parents volunteered and I didn't like that. I wanted a community, wanted to see my son in action and observe how he interacted with other kids and teachers. In preschool, I am there approx two times every six weeks. When he's in elementary school, I would like to be in the class once every week or two.

K.
http://oc.citymommy.com - where OC moms connect. Join free today!

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By volunteering in the classroom you are saying to your child that school is important and that they are important. You might be a distraction when you first volunteer - but children adapt quickly. It's great to get to see the teacher's teaching style and learn about the other kids in the classroom. AND you can truly be a help to the teacher and make a difference in the lives of children. What can be better. So, yes I volunteered and my children did just fine with it,
and I loved it! But it might not be everyone's thing, and I can accept that too.

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I agree with you. Your friend sounds to me like she doesnt have good common sense. We have three kids and I have always volunteered in all of their classrooms.
Its a shame her son would definetly benefit from her being in his classroom.

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I think that it depends. It depends upon you, the teacher, and your child. I volunteered a lot when my son was younger. I didn't ask him if he wanted me to, and he didn't invite me, it was more that I met the teacher and offered my time because I was available to help. In Kindergarten and 1st grade I was the room mom. I was there for all the "fun" events and parties and field trips and everything. I interacted with the teacher and did what she wanted...not focused directly on the children necessarily. I was her "support" person in the background preparing things she would use, or planning the party, or bringing in supplies. My son never voiced any opinion one way or the other, until one day I was walking through a school hall way (I was also the 'Boxtops lady' at his school for several years also), and his class was passing on their way back from the cafeteria. Several children waved and smiled and "Hi Mrs. W" at me. My son seemed to be ignoring me. (This was in 2nd grade). I asked him about it later, and he said that it was embarrassing for HIM, when all the other kids were paying attention to me. (I didn't do ANYTHING to attract unwarranted attention. I don't like it myself). So, I scaled back volunteering in his class after that. He has always been a pretty independent child, and now as an almost teen (this summer! eek!) he really is in that "embarrassed by the parent" mode.

My daughter, has ALWAYS asked me to volunteer for things at school, to chaperone or just COME ALONG on field trips, etc. She is a more shy reserved person than my son. I always came to or volunteered at any and everything I could or that she asked me to. But I noticed with her, that when I WAS present, she tended to focus all her attention on me, and did not interact with her peers. I asked her teachers if she was friends with the other kids or had any problems relating with them (she too is a "TAG" kid and was reading in K4, so I was very watchful of how she related to her peers). Her teachers always said everything was fine. But when I was present, I noticed that she ignored her classmates. These days, she is in 4th grade, and she is very emotionally advanced (in addition to intellectual advancement) and sometimes gives off a sort of snotty attitude. She isn't snotty, at all. And it isn't all the time that she exudes this attitude. But I am aware (maybe b/c I'm her mom?) of when SHE is aware that she is 'beyond' whomever she is talking to. And having gone on field trips with her TAG class, I notice that when I am there, she doesn't interact much with her peers. But the more I intentionally stand back, the more she involves herself with her peers.

So, I think, as I said at the beginning, that it isn't a one size fits all answer. You will get answers all over the board on this question. My son had no obvious issues when he was in PreK... but as he got older, he didn't like it. And certainly at his age now, 7th grade (and even when he was in 4th grade) he would be very self-conscious and distracted by just my presence in his classroom. My daughter, while she DOES like it, also alters her behavior due to my presence, and not in a positive way in my opinion.
I encourage them at home and supplement their intellectual challenges and help them with their assignments as the situation warrants at home.

I agree with your friend, that her presence may be hindering his work in the classroom. If he is struggling, perhaps having her present also adds pressure to perform, which is a distraction from the work at hand.
It is great that what you do for your daughter's class is a plus for you and her. But be open to the possibility, that it may not turn out as ideally for your son. He is a different person than your daughter. He may (or may not) benefit in the same ways she has.
-Cheers

ETA:
It seems a lot of posts seem to agree that parent volunteering in their child's classroom directly improves their child's academic performance. I just wanted to voice my disagreement with that opinion. Show me evidence that it is causative. Perhaps the child's academic performance is enhanced by having a parent involved in their learning PRIOR to being in school, or that a child who's parent is a volunteer also spends extra time outside of the classroom encouraging academic growth, and puts more weight on the value of learning and a good education, or did well in school themselves and passed down those traits by genetics... those are all factors in a child's efforts at school, regardless of whether the parent is a volunteer in their classroom. I think you'd be hard pressed to separate out the ONE ASPECT (volunteering in class) from all the others that tend to go hand in hand. And I don't think volunteering in the classroom has ANYTHING to do with GATE programs. You can't separate the other aspects of that parent's effect on their child from volunteering. Do I think volunteering is BAD? NO. Of course not, but neither do I think it is a direct cause of a child to perform better in class. Better than what? How do you know what their performance would have been without the volunteering? You can't really measure that, because it isn't a constant... it is constantly changing. Or maybe the parents wouldn't be spending as much time volunteering in the class if their child WASN'T doing well in class, like a reverse association ? Just something else to consider...

My daughter likes me to volunteer in her class (during class time), but I no longer do (for the past 3 years) because it negatively affects her behavior while I am in the classroom. Her grades (4th grade) are 98, 99, 99,100, 99 for the YEAR (as in the average for each of the three 9 week grading periods we've had so far). If I suddenly started volunteering in her classroom, should I expect her grades to go up??

I just think it is amazing that so many moms who responded seem to think that their opinion is the only "right" one, on this issue, but on so many others, we can mostly agree that what works for one family/child/mom may not work for another....

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At the beginning of the year having me present in the classroom just hindered my son. He has always had a hard time seperating from me, and if I am in his classroom he clams up and clings to my side and WILL NOT participate. Now that we are further into the year and he has settled in, he LOVES when I come to eat lunch in his class, or when we do evening activities at his school - unfortunately I have two little ones at home which prevents me from volunteering during classtime. But when my daughter is in school I will plan on being there as often as I can!

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L.:

I volunteer at my children's school. I have since my daughter was in school.

I feel it's IMPERATIVE to be involved in your childs education and seeing what they experience in school.

I volunteer at the clubs the kids have too - it's doesn't hamper or impeded them - they get caught up in what they are doing and forget that I'm there - it gives me a great chance to see how my children interact socially with their peers.

When I volunteer in the classroom - I do NOT sit next to my child. I help all the kids. My youngest wants to hug me and kiss me - he's allowed to when I come and when I go - other than that? I'm there to HELP not be his teacher.

Other parents don't volunteer because they don't want to get involved. It's easier to be able to point the finger at someone else should things go wrong or not work out right. They make excuses. And that's just what they are EXCUSES. A SAHM should be involved in her childs school - PERIOD.

yes, expect the kids to be excited when they see a parent in the room. EXPECT questions - but after the second time? They are used to you and it's business as usual.

If you have a "baby" - infant - no, I don't expect you to volunteer. But I expect you to participate in things!!!

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I havent read all the responses so I apologize if my opinion has already been said.

I volunteer in my sons kindergarten classroom every Thursday and wouldnt have it any other way. Yes it is hectic at times but the value my son gets from me being there is worth it. My son is an only child and is very shy so me being there is comforting for him. I actually spend very little time helping him. Its the other, more challenging kids that I help out.

Helping in the classroom gives me an opportunity to see with my own eyes what my son does and more importantly what he does not do. This gives us a chance to work on those items before they become an issue. It also makes speaking to the teacher easier (and she to me). No need for me to make extra appointments with her.

Another benefit is that I get to see which kids are the "good" ones and the not so good ones. This isnt very important in Kinder but it will be as he goes into the other grades. I will be able to encourage friendships with the kids I SEE are better influences for my son. Which will be priceless when he gets into Jr. High.

Kinder may not be for your friend but it really would benefit her and her son if she volunteered in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. Those grades shouldnt he as hectic and who knows, she might actually enjoy it. She shouldnt let a bunch of 5 year olds scare her! :)

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I kind of understand what she's saying. My mom used to come to my school and I just wanted to be with her so badly that I couldn't focus. I wanted to sit on her lap and was really sad when I wasn't in her group. I think it was a big distraction for me when my mom worked at my school...but I had a lot of separation anxiety. I will have to see if it is right for me when my son is in school, I'd love to but not if it creates problems for him. I'll volunteer in other ways if it does. I think it is a case by case basis.

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I think volunteering in the classroom is great if you can do it. But it's not for everyone. I've never done it (due to my work schedule) but I think I would hate it. My husband loves it and he has done it quite a lot over the years since he has a more flexible work schedule and he loves playing with the kids. Our son is in the GATE program too but he would have been in that program regardless of our volunteering. However I always make sure we participate in all school events and fund raisers and we place a huge emphasis on doing well in school. So, your friend should just leave you alone if you like to volunteer. It's probably not her thing.

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Hi, I think that it is great that volunteering has worked for you. With that said it doesn't mean that what works for you will work for every one and vise versa. Growing up my parents never went to anything that had to do with school although I was student of the month very often. But just think that what might work for you might not work for someone else. Everyone has different needs.

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I'm with you. Show your child that YOU care about their education and that will make THEM care about their education. They see that mom & teacher are working together and it makes the kids feel like they matter. Btw, my daughter is also in GATE. Because I volunteer? Don't know, but I'm sure it hasn't hurt!

Maybe your friend's son is the exception? Every child is different.

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i think its a good thing. my daughter is only 4 and will be starting preschool in the next school year. i would like my husband or myself volunteer in her class at least once a week. i work during her school hours and my husband works graves. i think maybe she feels guilty that she isnt as active in her kids life as you are

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Yes, I volunteer, when I can, which isn't as often as I would like... A lot of the volunteering doesn't happen in the classroom. I'm usually in the teacher's lounge cutting up stuff or printing hundreds of papers, stapling, etc...

BUT there is a infrequent occasion where i volunteer as a reader, and read to the kids. My second oldest is in kindergarten. I'm not in the way at all. She gets a hug from mom, and that's the individual attention she gets. It isn't a distraction.

My oldest is in second grade, once the computer teacher was absent w/o a sub, so the homeroom teachers where there to fend on their own. I was so glad I was there that day so I could help assist the student AND teacher.

btw, the teachers couldn't be MORE thankful every time a parent volunteers. That should say something. They are professionals at educating children, so they should have a say in whether it helps or hinders... Also, to answer your question as to why you don't see a lot of parents volunteering: I think they are working. SO many families have two parents that work.

I have two younger ones that stay at home with me (hence the not being able to volunteer as much as I'd like to).

My "good" advice: I think your friend should try it out once and see if it is what she thinks it is:) THAT way her side of her argument would be more justified because it was based on fact and experience rather than opinion;)

I LOVE debating, too!

My grandmother volunteered through middle school (while my mom worked), in high school she'd come down after school to pick me up and walk home with me about once a month. I actually liked it when she did this.

I have always volunteered in each of my daughters' classes, I currently have a senior in high school, a 1st grader and a preschooler. Even when I was working full time, I volunteered in the PTA. I always attend as many field trips as possible too. I have experienced that when the teachers and staff know you are involved and active, there is a better level of communication and regard that comes along with it. You get to know more parents too, as my older daughter has grown I have gotten so many phone calls from other parents to tell me "I saw your daughter at ________ " and I felt in the loop even when I was working I knew I'd get the "scoop." Volunteering at their schools has helped build community, forge friendships and as someone else posted, I got to see their strengths and weaknesses first hand.

Recently I went to volunteer at my older daughter's high school, I was worried she wouldn't like it so I made sure to volunteer away from her classes in the their community clinic and didn't tell her I was coming. She spotted me from down the hall and her face light up, she started shouting "look it's my mommy" and made sure to point me out to her friends that I knew so they could say hello. I was so happy that she was so excited to see me, and more importantly realized they are never too old to have us be present and show our support by volunteering at school.

Been there, from preschool to high school and will continue as long as I am able!

K class

. I though i

I actually have been wondering about this topic too... My son is in Pre-K and I've volunteered in his classroom twice, plus my mother did it once and my Father-in-law has done it twice and my husband went on a field trip and has ended up staying in the classroom twice (with our younger daughter- the teacher encouraged them to stay those days). I know I was very appreciated the one time I volunteered because both of the classroom assistants called in sick and the teacher would have been alone with 20 kids! She is always thrilled to have us there and always encourages us to "come back." She does seem surprised with how involved we are, but not in a bad way. Our son is doing reading and math at least 2 grade levels above his peers - but I don't attibute that to our time in the classroom - I think goes more to our time OUT of the classroom with him. We volunteer because we want to stay involved in his life, know his classmates and teachers, see how he behaves there and find out the "real" story behind some of the things he tells us, that might be slightly exagerated.

BUT - if the teacher didn't encourage it, we probably wouldn't do it as often. We honestly don't EVER see (or hear of) any of the other parents spending time in the classroom. We'll continue to do it until they quit encouraging it or our children ask us to stop - then we'll find other ways to stay involved. And, to each their own. Doesn't sound like your friend really enjoys being around groups of children, whereas my husband and I do.

Well I'm a SAHM and have spent many, many hours volunteering and two of my three kids have learning disabilities so no, I don't think volunteering necessarily contributes to success in school. I DO think it's important though, not just to show your own kids you care, but to support the teachers and school in general.
I also worked part time at the school and I can say that working in the classroom is not for everyone. Some kids are really distracted by their parent being there, and honestly not all parents enjoy it. There are many ways to contribute to the school that don't involve working in the classroom (fundraising, managing book orders, organizing volunteers, etc.) Sadly, after twelve years of having kids in public schools I can say that about 10% of the parents do all of the work (and that's both SAH & working moms.)

I volunteer in my kids classrooms/school. I have done so since my oldest started kinder and she is now in 7th grade. I feel like you do that my showing my kids how important school is and being there has helped them since both are in the GATE program. Whenever there is an awards ceremony held my kids get the academic awards and they score very high on the state tests when given. Volunteering is important and it shows that you care. I not only volunteer at the schools but I also volunteer in other areas of the community like church, feeding the homeless, and Girl Scouts.

Yes I volunteer in my son's K class once a week. It's not a distraction nor does it make him perform better in school. What it does do is make him happy to see me and helps the teachers a lot. With all the budget cuts, they really could use a hand in the classroom. Now, I understand your friend, too. Not all kids are able to focus when mom is in the classroom. It's probably better for her child that she isn't there in front of him. He probably disrupts the flow of the class by approaching her or talking to her a lot. Also, it's not for every mom to volunteer, either. Try to understand that although we all love our kids we have different parenting styles. I barely volunteered for my eldest and he is in GATE 7th grade.

You should just agree to disagree just to keep the friendship as good as you two seem to have it. I have always been very involved in my children's school. I am what was called here as a V.I.P.S. (volunteer's in public schools). I am a room parent, I have been a substitute aide and I am now currently a substitute teacher, and yes, I sub in my children's classroom. I have a first, third and sixth grader. And I finally got a teacher to pay attention to my third graders struggles in reading and spelling and they tested him for Dyslexia and guess what he was Dyslexic....now my first grader is having the same problems and she is going to be tested soon. I strongly feel that if I had not been involved the school would have kept pushing him a long like they have been so far from pre-k until the end of Third grade, and I WAS INVOLVED. So your child benefits more with a parent involved. You could ask any teacher and they would tell you a close parent/teacher relationships gives your child the confidence, the reassurance he/she needs to be successful. I have my sister for example that never goes to the school and her child struggles tremendously and she has no clue.

On the other hand....I have also experience too much involvement, you could have your child depending on you to much. They may want you to be there with them everyday....also teachers have said; there's that parent again...so they sometimes can get annoyed by seeing you too much. Also, my biggest issue was standing back and letting my child get into trouble for something they failed to do, like homework, turning in books, being on time....things I want to "fix" for them, but thats when you need to step back and let them reap the consequences.

So there is good and there is bad. If you can balance the two, like I had to learn to do you can be a very great parent by being involved just enough! So you are both right!!! I have seen both. I have been involved in my children's school since my sixth grader was 31/2 years old and she is now 12, and I wouldn't have changed it for anything in the world....good luck to both of you.

I love to volunteer in my son's kindergarten class...I know that I only have a small window of opportunity to do this, before he doesn't want his mom hanging around....I work full time and yes take vacation days to do it..Usually I go to school for the first half of the day and then take him out for a long fun lunch, drop him off back at school and go on with the rest of my day.

I think it is good for several reasons 1) To see my son's face light up when the teacher introduces me is really the main reason 2) build a rapport/relationship with the teacher so that she feels comfortable calling me up if there is ever a problem/issue and so that she knows that I take my child's education seriously 3) Get to see how he interacts with his class mates/teacher 4) Get to meet his school friends 5) Get to be more involved in his life and this gives me info so that we have more to talk about over dinner. 6) Teachers really appreciate the help.

So - I highly recommend volunteering at your childs school it is fun...maybe if you are stretched thin on time and energy...just do it a few times a year.

S.

I volunteer A LOT! But rarely in my child's class. With my daughter (now 14), she was fine with me there. But with my son (now almost 12) , he would attach himself to me when I was there. So I would do speciifc projects once in a while in the classroom. I would tutor children in reading (we would go somewhere else to focus), or bring things home to prep. I also volunteer for fundraising events/programs frequently. The kids knew I was there. I tried volunteering in my daughter's middle school science class once, and I don't plan on doing THAT again. ;)

Everything I've ever read has said that it is essential and beneficial to a child's learning and development for parents (and even grandparents) to be as involved as possible and volunteer at the school whenever possible. I know of private and charter schools where it is a requirement for the parent's to sign something stating they will volunteer a certain amount of hours per school year in order for the child to continue at the school - that is how strongly the school believes in parent volunteerism. Just google this phrase, "benefits of volunteering at child's school" and you get a massive amount of back-up written not just as opinion pieces but studies as well.

Honestly, from your description, it kinda sounds like your friend couldn't handle the stress of the classroom and is coming up with an excuse as to why she won't do it again - she needs for it to be about her belief that her son will do worse because otherwise, she sees it as a selfish act on her part. If after reading every study to the contrary (of her opinion), she still doesn't want to volunteer, she needs to just admit that it's not something that is for her, forgive herself and move on. Perhaps the child's father or grandparent could volunteer instead.

My kids are now in 1st and 3rd grade and yes we have volunteered every year. Usually it is helping the teacher with something, so not necessarily interacting with the children. Once her son is adjusted to school, it should not be an issue. They say that children with parents who get involved in their school, do better in school; usually because the parent then knows the teacher better, the kids in the classroom and what they are doing in the classroom. It makes a BIG difference with older children if their parents are involved (like in sports and things) since then all the kids really know the parent and that is another eye on all of them.

You are totally right.

I don't actually volunteer yet, because I have always had one or even 2 babies at home. But I do attend every class party and I always end up "helping" while I am there. Next year my youngest will be 3 1/2 and I feel like he will be able to conduct himself in a manner in which I can go into a class and be of assisstance. I plan on taking a more active role as I am able. My oldest is also in the GATES program and I think that my involvement and simply knowing what is going on is the reason. So for the record your right in my opinion anyway :)

Yes, I volunteered in the classroom, was the PTA President, and ran many many events at my girls' school. I believe it was the most important thing I could do for my girls' education. Both of my girls are very smart and I believe that came from their own brains and what I did with them for the first 5 years of their lives. My strong connection to their school showed them how important school was for them, because they saw how important it was to me. Also, my involvement allowed me to meet EVERYONE (employees and parents) at the school which also proved invaluable for lots of reasons. To me, your friend just sounds insecure and this is something that makes her too uncomfortable. If this is the case, she will probably not end up being helpful to her son or anyone else. Volunteering in the classroom is not for everyone. And no, I did not find that it was distracting to my girls. In fact, it was all of the other students that liked to come over and visit with me.

I volunteered in both my kid's classrooms and so did most of the moms I knew who were able to (as, they didn't work, etc.). Personal opinion is that it is helpful for most kids. That said, if mom being in the classroom is truly a distraction for the child then she shouldn't volunteer in the classroom. There are other volunteer opportunities to be in the school, but not in the classroom, such as the Library. And obviously, there are tons of ways to volunteer in the PTA. I was active in the PTA for 18 years -- I think I went into withdrawal when my 'baby' graduated :)

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