Senate District 31
Jay Hottinger
Education Begins in the Home
A Guest Column by State Senator Jay Hottinger
August 18, 2017

In the Hottinger home, like many Ohio families, the beginning of another school year is marked by a flurry of activity. As my own daughters prepare for their first day of classes at Newark High School and The Ohio State University, I am reminded of the importance of my own role as a parent in helping to ready them for success in their education and in life. 

Each new school year brings fresh challenges and responsibilities not only for students, but also for us as parents. Students whose parents take an active role in supporting their education perform better in class, stay more engaged and are more likely to stay in school than those students whose parents are not involved. Children whose parents consistently spend time with them have a higher self-esteem and stronger motivation to succeed in the classroom. 
Parental involvement is a strong predictor of student success. Like many parents, you may wrestle with striking a balance between disengagement and being the infamous "helicopter parent." The tasks you can do are simple but important and, if done consistently, can help inspire and excite children about their education. 
When my girls were young, my wife and I tried to make a habit of reading with them at night, helping build their vocabulary while laying the groundwork for a lifelong love of reading. A person's success is often indicative of the amount he or she reads, and I personally believe the desire to read begins at a young age.   
I can remember checking agendas and backpacks to see if there was any homework we could work on together, making sure it was completed, accurate, and done neatly. I always loved the conversations that would ensue after completing a tough long-division problem or the laughs we would have over practicing for Friday's spelling test. Now that my children are older, I want to encourage you to not miss these opportunities, the days may seem long but the years go by so quickly and being involved in these times with your school-aged children will not only benefit them greatly but you as well.  

A child's teacher is one of the most influential figures in your child's life, they want to hear from you, know you, and partner with you, to ensure that your child can succeed and grow. Working together with Ohio’s dedicated teachers is the formula for a quality education. Volunteering in the classroom or at an extra-curricular activity will give you the opportunity to support your child and to see for yourself where they excel. Take advantage of your school’s PTO or PTA programs because by volunteering just a few hours, you can learn more about your child’s school activities, improve communication between you and the school’s administration, and even take a leadership role at the school.

As a parent, you know just how vital it is to prepare your children not only for school, but for the rest of their lives. You can give your child the keys to a successful future by providing a nurturing home environment. Here in the General Assembly, we will continue to work on legislation that makes a positive impact on our schools' ability to educate. But a child’s academic success will always be rooted in the family. No law or funding formula can instill the love of learning in a child; that must be taught at home. 

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