Whether parents were married or just dating, after a break up or divorce, both can -- and should -- continue to play a role in their child's education. For both parents, this means finding a way to successfully communicate with each other and with a child's teacher.
Recently, an article posted on The Huffington Post shared information on co-parenting during the school year. The take home message was that parents need to find ways to effectively share information between mom's house and dad's house and the child's teacher.
The first step at the start of the year is to get the teacher up to speed on what the family dynamics are. This is where expectations on communication throughout the school year can be set.
However, before meeting with a teacher, both parents should realize that teachers have many children in their classrooms and may not be able to remember what the family situations are for each child. This is why, as a parent, one can offer to bring in things like self addressed envelopes for the teachers in order to make communication easier. Basically, offer suggestions that may make communication easier for everyone.
Additionally, keep in mind that many schools now provide information related to attendance, homework logs, test results, progress reports and report cards online. Both parents should have access to this information, which takes a lot of the responsibility off of the teachers.
Lastly, when it comes to effective communication for parents, technology can be everyone's best friend. This means to keep up-to-date on everything that is going on, like school basketball games, recitals and parent-teacher conferences, an online shared calendar can be used. This gives both parents a way to sign on and update any necessary information.
Of course though, when thinking about how to plan for the school year, parents need to make sure everything falls within the realm of any court ordered agreements. If there are concerns, or one parent is trying to restrict access, talk with an attorney who has experience handling child custody issues for divorced and non-married parents.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Back to School: Learning to Share Is Not Just for Kids," Nicole H. Sodoma and Penelope Hefner, Aug. 1, 2013