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Annual Reports and Information Staff (Annual Reports)
Family Characteristics

Family Involvement in Education-Related Activities Outside of School

Last Updated: May 2021
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Higher percentages of elementary school students in 2019 than in 2012 participated in the following activities with their parents in the week before the survey: did arts and crafts (75 vs. 67 percent), played board games or did puzzles (74 vs. 64 percent), and were told a story (74 vs. 69 percent).

Many parents promote their children’s learning outside of school by doing various educational activities with them. Examples of these activities include visiting a library; going to a play, concert, or other live show; visiting an art gallery, museum, or historical site; visiting a zoo or aquarium; attending an event sponsored by a community, religious, or ethnic group; telling their child a story; doing arts and crafts; discussing family history/ethnic heritage; and playing board games or doing puzzles. This indicator presents parent-reported information on the extent to which students in kindergarten through grade 5 (i.e., elementary school students)1 participated in these educational activities with their parents or other family members.2

Select a subgroup characteristic from drop-down menu below to view relevant text and figures.

Figure 1. Percentage of kindergartners through fifth-graders whose parents reported doing education-related activities with their children, by time period and type of activity: 2012 and 2019
Figure 1. Percentage of kindergartners through fifth-graders whose parents reported doing education-related activities with their children, by time period and type of activity: 2012 and 2019

NOTE: All information is based on parent reports. Responding parents reported on their own activities and the activities of other family members. Excludes children whose parents reported any homeschooling. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey (NHES-PFI:2012 and NHES-PFI:2019) of the National Household Education Surveys Program. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, tables 207.20 and 207.30.

According to 2019 parent reports about their children’s educational activities in the past month, 53 percent of elementary school students attended an event sponsored by a community, religious, or ethnic group with their parents; 43 percent visited a library; 33 percent went to a play, concert, or other live show; 28 percent visited an art gallery, museum, or historical site; and 27 percent visited a zoo or aquarium. In the past week, 75 percent of students did arts and crafts with their parents, 74 percent played board games or did puzzles, 74 percent were told a story, and 52 percent discussed family history/ethnic heritage. [Other]
The percentages of elementary school students whose parents provided educational activities outside of school during the past month were lower in 2019 than in 2012 for two types of activities: attending an event sponsored by a community, religious, or ethnic group (53 vs. 57 percent) and visiting a library (43 vs. 46 percent). Among educational activities reported over the past week, higher percentages of students in 2019 than in 2012 did arts and crafts with their parents (75 vs. 67 percent), played board games or did puzzles (74 vs. 64 percent), and were told a story (74 vs. 69 percent). [Time series ]
In 2019, higher percentages of female students than of male students did arts and crafts with their parents in the past week (83 vs. 68 percent) and went to a play, concert, or other live show with their parents in the past month (37 vs. 30 percent). There were no measurable differences between male and female elementary school students in the percentages whose parents reported other educational activities outside of school. [Sex]
Figure 2. Percentage of kindergartners through fifth-graders whose parents reported doing education-related activities with their children, by time period, type of activity, and child’s race/ethnicity: 2019
Figure 2. Percentage of kindergartners through fifth-graders whose parents reported doing education-related activities with their children, by time period, type of activity, and child’s race/ethnicity: 2019

! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.

NOTE: All information is based on parent reports. Responding parents reported on their own activities and the activities of other family members. Excludes children whose parents reported any homeschooling. Excludes a small number of non-Hispanic children whose parents did not choose any race from the categories provided on the race item in the questionnaire. Pacific Islander children are not presented because their data did not meet reporting standards. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey (NHES-PFI:2019) of the National Household Education Surveys Program. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, tables 207.20 and 207.30.

In 2019, for most educational activities outside of school, participation within individual racial/ethnic groups did not differ measurably from the total percentage of elementary school students who participated in these activities in the United States (referred to as the national average in this indicator). However, there were some exceptions. Higher percentages of Asian students visited a library (63 vs. 43 percent); an art gallery, museum, or historical site (38 vs. 28 percent); or a zoo or aquarium (37 vs. 27 percent) relative to the national average. In contrast, the percentage of White students who visited a zoo or aquarium with their parents in the past month was lower than the national average (23 vs. 27 percent). The percentage of Black (63 percent) and Hispanic (66 percent) students who discussed family history/ethnic heritage with their parents in the past week was higher than the national average (52 percent), but the percentage of White students (39 percent) who did so was lower than the national average. [Race/ethnicity ]
Figure 3. Percentage of kindergartners through fifth-graders whose parents reported doing education-related activities with their children, by time period, type of activity, and parents’ highest level of education: 2019
Figure 3. Percentage of kindergartners through fifth-graders whose parents reported doing education-related activities with their children, by time period, type of activity, and parents’ highest level of education: 2019

1 Includes parents who completed high school through equivalency programs, such as a GED program.

2 Includes parents with some graduate school but no graduate/professional degree.

NOTE: All information is based on parent reports. Responding parents reported on their own activities and the activities of other family members. Excludes children whose parents reported any homeschooling. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey (NHES-PFI:2019) of the National Household Education Surveys Program. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, tables 207.20 and 207.30.

The percentages of elementary school students whose parents provided educational activities outside of school during the past month were generally higher in 2019 for those whose parents’ highest level of education was a graduate/professional degree or a bachelor’s degree than for students whose parents’ highest level of education was high school completion3 or students whose parents had completed less than high school, with the exception of visiting a zoo or aquarium. For instance, the percentages of students who attended an event sponsored by a community, religious, or ethnic group with their parents in the past month were higher for those whose parents had a graduate/professional degree (62 percent) or a bachelor’s degree4 (56 percent) than for those whose parents completed high school (47 percent) or did not complete high school (46 percent). However, there was no measurable difference in the percentage of students who visited a zoo or aquarium with their parents in the past month between those whose parents had a graduate/professional degree or a bachelor’s degree and those whose parents had completed high school or who had completed less than high school. [Parental education]
In 2019, the percentages of elementary school students who were told a story by their parents in the past week were higher for those whose parents had a graduate/professional degree (78 percent) or a bachelor’s degree (75 percent) than for those whose parents did not complete high school (61 percent). In contrast, the percentages of students who discussed family history/ethnic heritage with their parents in the past week were lower for those whose parents had a bachelor’s degree (44 percent) or a graduate/professional degree (50 percent) than for those whose parents completed high school as their highest degree (60 percent) or did not complete high school (67 percent). Additionally, the percentages of students who did arts and crafts in the past week with their parents were lower for those whose parents had a graduate/professional degree or bachelor’s degree (75 percent each) than for those whose parents had completed high school (80 percent). In general, the percentages of students who played board games or did puzzles with their parents were not measurably different by parents’ level of education. [Parental education]
Figure 4. Percentage of kindergartners through fifth-graders whose parents reported doing education-related activities with their children, by time period, type of activity, and family income: 2019
Figure 4. Percentage of kindergartners through fifth-graders whose parents reported doing education-related activities with their children, by time period, type of activity, and family income: 2019

NOTE: All information is based on parent reports. Responding parents reported on their own activities and the activities of other family members. Family’s income is reported in current dollars. Excludes children whose parents reported any homeschooling. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey (NHES-PFI:2019) of the National Household Education Surveys Program. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, tables 207.20 and 207.30.

Considering participation in educational activities over the past month by family income, the percentage of elementary school students who went to a play, concert, or other live show with their parents in 2019 was higher for those whose family income was over $100,000 (41 percent) than for those in families with lower incomes. The percentage was also higher for students whose family income was $75,001 to $100,000 (32 percent) than for those whose family income was $20,000 or less (25 percent). A similar pattern was observed for the percentage of students who visited an art gallery, museum, or historical site with their parents in the past month: the percentage was higher for those whose family income was over $100,000 (34 percent) than for those in families with lower incomes. However, the percentages of students who, in the past month, visited a zoo or aquarium with their parents and visited a library with their parents were not measurably different by family income level. [Socioeconomic status (SES) ]
Considering participation in educational activities over the past week by family income, the percentages of elementary school students who discussed family history/ethnic heritage with their parents in 2019 were lower for those whose family income was over $75,000 than for those in families with lower incomes. The rate was 46 percent for those whose parents earned over $100,000 and 49 percent for those whose parents earned $75,001 to $100,000. Additionally, the percentage was lower for students whose family income was $50,001 to $75,000 (55 percent) than for those whose family income was $20,000 or less (63 percent). The percentage of elementary school students who did arts and crafts with their parents in the past week was lowest for those whose family income was $75,001 to $100,000 (68 percent) compared to those in all other family income brackets. The percentages of students who played board games or did puzzles with their parents in the past week were not measurably different by family income level. [Socioeconomic status (SES) ]

1 Excludes students whose parents reported any homeschooling.

2 Throughout the rest of this indicator, “with their parents or other family members” is referred to as “with their parents.” “Parents” can refer to one or multiple parents.

3 Refers to students with parents whose highest educational attainment level was high school. Includes parents who completed high school through equivalency programs, such as a GED program.

4 Includes parents with some graduate school but no graduate/professional degree.

Supplemental Information

Table 207.20 (Digest 2020): Percentage of kindergartners through fifth-graders whose parents reported doing education-related activities with their children in the past month, by selected child, parent, and school characteristics: 2012, 2016, and 2019;
Table 207.30 (Digest 2020): Number of kindergartners through fifth-graders and percentage whose parents reported doing education-related activities with their children in the past week, by selected child, parent, and school characteristics: 2012, 2016, and 2019
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Suggested Citation

National Center for Education Statistics. (2022). Family Involvement in Education-Related Activities Outside of School. Condition of Education. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved [date], from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/sga.