It's a wonderful thing when common sense and research agree. That's clearly the case with respect to the positive effect parental involvement has on a child's scholastic success. Research has demonstrated this repeatedly, and we all know it intuitively. The link lists a number of the benefits research has demonstrated: better grades, more homework completion, higher self-esteem, greater achievement. We all want these things for our kids. We want to help them develop an appreciation for reading and the arts, to explore the natural world around them, to learn their times tables.

How parents should get involved is not always so clear. What's a reasonable level of involvement? What's expected of my child? How can I best support those expectations?

Earlier this month, Education Nation (of NBC News) released an excellent resource for parents to help answer just those kinds of questions. The Parent Toolkit is intended to "help you navigate your child’s journey from pre-kindergarten through high school. It is designed to help you track and support progress at each stage."

The Toolkit provides benchmarking and parent tips to help support learning for each grade from K to 12. It's based on curriculum being launched in many states in the US, but is still certainly useful for parents with school age kids no matter where they live.

The tips for parents are both general and specific, easy to understand, and easy to implement. It helps make the responsibility we share in getting involved in our children's education simpler.

It doesn't always mean presiding over homework time, checking school bags for "forgotten' test papers or important correspondence. (Sometimes those things are important too!)

It does mean connecting relevant learning to everyday activity. The Parent Toolkit helps with that. Check it out, and let us know what you think.