Fathers and Education

When fathers are involved in the lives of their children, especially their education, children learn more, perform better in school, and exhibit healthier behavior. Even when fathers do not share a home with their children, their active involvement can have a lasting and positive impact. There are countless ways to be involved in your child’s education at all ages. This section of the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse website highlights some of them.
According to a 2007 National Center for Education Statistics Report:
  • 92% of students in grades K though 12 had parents who reported receiving any information from the school on the student’s performance.
  • 83% had parents who received any information about how to help with homework.
  • 59% of students in grades K through 12 had parents who were "very satisfied" with their child’s school; 55% had parents who were very satisfied with the school’s parent-staff interactions.

Consider ways that your program can partner with local schools and Head Start programs to better engage dads in their child's education. The Collaboration Strategies page has some resources to help you think about general partnerships. 

For more information on tips and ways to encourage the fathers in your program to get involved, visit the Get Involved with School page.

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NRFC Webinars

Strengthening Literacy and Father-Child Relationships through Reading
Children who read well by third grade are more likely than their peers to experience academic success and economic stability as adults. They are also more likely to have parents who read to them. This July 2015 webinar looks at ways in which fatherhood programs can help fathers improve their own literacy, encourage them to read to their children, and enhance outcomes for two generations (parents and their children).

Watch the recording

How can fathers address bullying issues with their children?
Bullying is a problem faced by many children at school, in the community, and online. Children may bully others, they may be victims of bullying behavior, or they may find themselves in a bystander role. This December 2014 webinar focuses on ways in which fatherhood programs can address these and related issues with fathers and their local communities.

Watch the recording

Working with Dads: Encouraging and Supporting Father Involvement from Birth through Adolescence
This June 2013 webinar focused on the importance of father involvement and strategies that fatherhood programs can use to support father engagement with young infants, school age children, and teenagers.

Listen to the audio recording

Fatherhood Buzz - Back to School Initiative: Effective Strategies for Increasing Father Involvement in Schools
This August 2012 webinar provided ideas and resources to help increase father involvement in schools and their children’s education.  Information was provided on various initiatives that have helped engage fathers and father figures, inspire children, reduce bullying, and generally improve the educational environment in order that men may become more involved in the lives of their children. After this training webinar, participants will improve their knowledge and understanding of: The importance and impact of father involvement in schools; Strategies that fatherhood practitioners can use to engage with local schools and school districts in order to increase father involvement in schools and improve outcomes for children; and, Resources and tips for fathers to help them increase their involvement in schools and their children’s education.

Listen to the audio recording

Quick Tips for Dads

  • Check your child’s homework, make sure to see what was assigned, not just what was finished.
  • Join a parent organization at your child's school, like the PTA, to show your child that you care about how he or she does in school.
  • Be a chaperone at your child’s next school function or field trip.
  • Talk regularly with your child’s coaches, teachers, and club leaders.
  • Volunteer with your child’s sports team. Bring water, or oranges to a game, or help keep score.
  • Get everyone in the family a library card, and start visiting! Not sure where the nearest library is, try searching online, or ask your child’s teachers.

NRFC Tips for Dads: The Benefits of Reading to Your Children
Reading to your children from an early age will help them become interested in reading – and children who enjoy reading tend to do better in school and have more employment opportunities as adults! Children often become interested in reading by watching and mimicking their parents or participating in child-parent reading routines. Reading and telling stories to your children is not just good for them, it’s fun for dads too. It provides a positive way to stay involved in your children’s lives and creates memories to share with them as they get older.

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NRFC Resources

The Benefits of Fathers Reading to Their Children: Tips for Fatherhood Programs and Dads
This brief from the NRFC summarizes what research tells us about how fathers can positively contribute to their children’s language and literacy development, offers tips for how programs can encourage father-child reading, and provides a handout with tips for what dads can do to help their kids develop language and academic skills.

DadTalk Blog: Education

These blog posts from our Dad Talk blog cover all aspects of education including:

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Other Relevant Resources

Department of Education
Find information on education policies that affect your kids, homework help tips (in English and Spanish), tips on monitoring homework, and lots of helpful tools!

National Head Start Association
The National Head Start Association is a private not-for-profit membership organization dedicated exclusively to meeting the needs of Head Start children and their families. The site includes resources, research, and conference information.

National PTA
The national PTA website includes links to PTA programs, conference information and a male involvement section.

Reading is Fundamental
Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. prepares and motivates children to read by delivering free books and literacy resources to those children and families who need them most. Website includes a page for kids, and one for parents, including book suggestions by age group.

Especially for Parents
U.S. Department of Education resources specifically designed to help parents be more involved with their children's education from homework help to understanding special needs to preparing for college.

Key Things Parents Can Do To Make Sure Their Children Are Prepared For The 21st Century
U.S. Department of Education sponsored guide following No Child Left Behind guidelines and tips for parents to help their children in school.

Toolkit for Hispanic Families
Choices for Parents sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education with resources specifically designed to help Hispanic families, including resources in Spanish.

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