You may be thousands of miles from home, but you can still be a dynamic partner in your child's education. With the unstoppable combination of communication technology and parental interest, you can keep up with their grades and stay in touch with their teachers, no matter where you are. Let your children know that school and education are important — whether you are home or deployed. Set the stage for success:
- Meet with your child's teacher. Set up a meeting before you prepare for deployment so you can work out a plan to stay connected.
- Use your school's online resources. Department of Defense schools use GradeSpeed to keep families up to date on grades and attendance. Civilian schools may have other services.
- Ask your partner for help. Your partner can be your "boots on the ground" for all things educational. Reinforce your partner's role to your children — set your partner up for success.
It may not be easy to stay connected while you're deployed, but it's worth it. Kids tend to do better in school when their parents are involved in their education.
It's a good idea to stay involved with your kids' education, whether they're in kindergarten or high school. Here’s how to plan ahead:
- Discover technologies. Find out what communication technologies you can access once you deploy.
- Talk about how to stay in touch. Ask your child's teacher — before you go — about the best way to stay in touch. It might be through email, a school website or some other method.
- Share when you want to be informed. Tell the teacher what issues you want to know about, such as a low grade or an unexcused absence. (It's a good idea to let your child know, too.)
- Find out if you can check grades and attendance online. Department of Defense schools use GradeSpeed for this purpose. Other schools may have a similar set up.
Keep in touch
There are lots of creative ways you can stay in touch with your child and his or her education. Try these ideas:
- Stay in regular contact with your child's teacher. Check in as frequently as your mission allows via email or telephone.
- Send the class a gift. Pick up something special from the area of the world where you're deployed. You'll be the kids' favorite parent. If it relates to what the class is studying, you'll be the teacher's favorite parent, too.
- Ask your spouse or your child's guardian for assistance. Your child’s designated guardian can oversee homework, talk with teachers and help your child get to school on time. Discuss successes and challenges with your care partner regularly. If your spouse or child's guardian has difficulty speaking English, ask the school to provide a translator.
Find time during your deployment to work on strengthening your connection with your child's school. "How to Build a Relationship With Your Child's School When You're in the Military" will show you how.